KUWAIT CITY – The government of Kuwait tendered its resignation on Monday to the country’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, a day after approving a controversial amnesty bill, which includes the easing of sentences for members of an armed group affiliated with the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah Movement, known as the Abdali Cell.
The move, experts told The Arab Weekly, sent two bogus messages to Saudi Arabia and Hezbollah. Kuwait, experts said, has broken the Gulf consensus on designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, moving away from the current Gulf position that has prompted a boycott of Lebanon.
Kuwait has also abandoned its strict security approach to counter the threat posed by the pro-Iranian Lebanese group, especially since the recent move coincided with the dismantling of another Hezbollah-affiliated cell that is recruiting young Kuwaitis in the purpose of using them in homes. of tensions.
Critics of the recent Kuwaiti decision claim that, in the amnesty bill, the government equated members of a terrorist organization with political dissidents who only engaged in peaceful protests.
Critics also noted that the dismantling of another terrorist cell means that Hezbollah in Lebanon and its operatives in Kuwait continue to pose a serious security threat.
Among those who will benefit from the amnesty, according to the bill that has been presented to the Emir, are people currently living in Turkey who have been convicted of having concealed the Abdali cell.
On August 13, 2015, Kuwaiti security authorities arrested a terrorist cell affiliated with “Kuwait Hezbollah”, supported by Lebanese Hezbollah, which was storing and possessing weapons at a farm in the Abdali area.
The items seized included 19,000 kilograms of ammunition, 144 kilograms of explosives, 68 assorted weapons, 204 hand grenades, electric detonators and 56 RPG cartridges. As for the defendants, they were 25 Kuwaitis and one Iranian.
On September 15, 2015, the Kuwaiti public prosecutor charged them with communicating with Iran and Hezbollah, with the intention of committing acts of hostility against the State of Kuwait.
On January 12, 2016, the Kuwait Criminal Court sentenced an Iranian and a Kuwaiti on the run to death for spying for Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah and possession of explosives. The court also sentenced one defendant to life imprisonment and others to various terms ranging from 5 to 15 years in prison.
Last Thursday, three days before the presentation of the amnesty bill, state security services arrested another cell collaborating with Hezbollah, accused of recruiting young people to serve the Lebanese group in Syria and Yemen.
Security sources said the Home Office received a security report from a sister country indicating that the group consisted of four people, one of whom is the son of a former MP and the other is the brother of a former deputy. A third had his name mentioned in previous cases related to the hijacking of the Jabriya plane in the 1980s and a fourth is said to be an executive of a charity.
The sources said that âthe state security service is investigating the four, which are ‘HG, JS, JJ and JD’ on a number of other charges, including money laundering for Hezbollah in Kuwait; and funding Kuwaiti youth to encourage them to join the ranks of Hezbollah, participate in terrorist acts and drug trafficking operations in Syria and Yemen.
Kuwaiti critics said the government, which managed to avoid parliamentary questioning, preferred to submit its resignation immediately after the amnesty bill was tabled, in order to avoid further questions on why it closed. those affiliated with a terrorist organization alongside political dissidents and if the timing was right, especially now that other Gulf states are boycotting Lebanon because of Hezbollah’s hostile actions.
While the Kuwaitis hope for the eradication of terrorist groups that threaten national security, the amnesty for members of the Abdali cell seems to go against the expectations of the population.
Kuwaiti lawyer Fahd al-Dosari called on citizens to support the Interior Ministry in its efforts to “strike with an iron fist anyone who may be involved in supporting and funding terrorist groups, training their agents, defend their program and threaten Kuwait’s national security. and other Gulf States.
Writer Youssef al-Hajji said: âThe government must be fully aware that Iran is an enemy state and that the execution of every terrorist is a popular demand.
Hezbollah’s crimes in Kuwait date back to the early 1980s and include several terrorist operations against public, industrial and oil facilities, the country’s main airport, and diplomatic missions. The group was also involved in an assassination attempt against Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in 1985.