THE relationship of Kuwait with its surroundings is based on a fixed vision which stands on creating a future through development that cannot be achieved without rebuilding areas destroyed by wars or other crises.
Given that stability of the closest neighbor has major positive returns on its neighbor, the wisdom of HH the Amir dictates dealing with Iraq in a manner that achieves social security to enable it to regain its proper place in the region and among Arab nations.
However, this cannot be achieved without development and reconstruction of this country, especially in the southern region bordering Kuwait that has a population of 12 million people. This forms a strategic population weight in any future equation.
Based on these facts, the visit of HH the Amir to Baghdad came to crown the long course of enhancing relations between the two neighboring countries. It puts everyone in front of their national responsibilities.
The timing of this visit also came amid major regional tensions that have significant implications which are based on the fact that work towards peace can be achieved only by reducing the burden of the one enduring the crises which have been continuing for more than two decades.
These ongoing crises have intensified economic challenges and crippled development, leading to the spread of extremism and acute social divisions which have never been witnessed in Iraq, even during the peak of the blockade on Iraqis by Saddam Hussein’s regime.
This visit has proven that Kuwait is a country which seeks real peace, wisely works toward a more stable region, and looks past the wound caused by wrong exercises and positions taken by some.
It is not possible for a wound to heal while it is still full of pus; hence, it is imperative to clear the wound. Also, cleaning is not possible without demonstrating good will and trust towards the neighbor, while setting aside elements of difference and strengthening commonalities.
In addition, there will be no stability in the region without a stable Iraq where peace and security prevail.
If Saudi Arabia is the engine of the economy in the region, then Iraq is its widest market. This equation cannot succeed if Kuwait is not effective and strong, especially since it is the main path toward the rest of the region.
For Kuwait to become Iraq’s window to the world through its southern region, and its commercial and economic vein, it means reducing by half the distance to its objective – to boost the economy and trade movement in the entire region.
Iraq represents a huge market. At the same, with short distance between its neighbors, the cost of transporting goods is reduced. Instead of transporting goods from North Iraq or countries bordering it in the South, the nearby Kuwaiti ports and expressways will augment the trade exchange movement, as well as facilitate movement of people between the two countries and eventually improve their income which comes from services.
This also entails creation of more job opportunities for the Iraqis in the South, and subsequently reducing the rate of unemployment which is the main hub for propagating extremism.
Today, when we read the outcome of that visit, even at its early stages, we are attracting the attention of Kuwaiti businesspersons and investors towards that market which is closer to them than other countries where they invest.
They now have a major investment opportunity in their nearest neighbor which can achieve success that cannot be achieved in other countries, especially since there is a major project in progress in the northern part of Kuwait. This project is vital for the future of Kuwait; hence, it is very important for us to look at our close neighbor before we go to a friend who is far away.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times