KUWAIT CITY, Nov 3: The US State Department has released its annual report on terrorism which deals with Kuwait’s handling of the issue, reports Al-Anba daily.
The report said Kuwait has focused on improving its ability to implement counter-terrorism arrangements concluded with the US in previous years, pointing out that it joined with the United States and other members of the Center for Targeting the Financing of Terrorism (TFTC) in coordinating the local trends of individuals and entities associated with Hezbollah and the Taleban.
The report pointed out that Kuwait is a leading country in the international coalition to defeat ISIS and shares leadership with Turkey and The Netherlands.
The report also pointed out that Kuwait hosted a full ministerial coalition meeting in which the guidelines of the coalition were confirmed. On the terrorist incidents, the report stated that no terrorist incidents were reported in Kuwait during 2018.
Turning to legislation, law enforcement and border security, the report noted that Kuwait did not make significant changes in its legal framework to combat terrorism or add any border security measures in 2018. The report said, last January, the Kuwaiti Court of Appeal upheld seven verdicts against defendants, who were convicted of financing ISIS and training ISIS members in the use of weapons.
The first convict, a Lebanese national, was also convicted of fighting for ISIS and sentenced him to 15 years in prison, while the other six defendants (two Kuwaitis, two Saudis, a Syrian and an Egyptian) were sentenced to 10 years each.
The report also noted that in January, the criminal court, after the evidence proved insufficient, acquitted five Syrians and one Iraqi of the charge of transferring money to Syria through an exchange office to finance and support ISIS.
In March, the Court of Appeals upheld the 2017 sentence of a Filipina woman sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by deportation, because of her affiliation with ISIS, pointing out that the Filipino was in contact with the terrorist group in Libya, where her husband was a fighter in ISIS, and had admitted that she is a ISIS member and was planning terrorist attacks in Kuwait. In July, the Court of Cassation upheld the five-year prison sentence imposed by the Court of Appeals on a Kuwaiti citizen for joining ISIS on charges of fighting for the terrorist group in Syria.
The charges also included exporting and selling Syrian oil to the terrorist group. During 2018, the Kuwaiti government participated in several State Department-supported capacity- building workshops focused on counterterrorism and counterterrorism financing.
The report pointed out that Kuwait focused on law enforcement and judicial capacity development across a wide range of government agencies. The Ministry of Justice’s Office of Foreign Prosecution Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) organized in December a three-day anti-money laundering and terrorist financing training for practitioners from across the anti-terrorism system.
Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in Kuwait, extending to the Kuwaiti Financial Intelligence and Intelligence Unit, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and others, are widely used to develop investigative techniques that are often used in terrorist investigations. The report addressed part of Kuwait’s efforts in combating the financing of terrorism, noting that it is a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), ISIS Financing Group and TFTC. The report pointed out that the Kuwaiti Financial Intelligence and Information Unit is a member of the Egmont Group.
Kuwait hosted two meetings of the Executive Committee of the Center for Targeting the Financing of Terrorism (TFTC). TFTC member countries identified individuals and entities associated with Hezbollah, and Kuwait chose not to identify Hezbollah Secretary- General Hassan Nasrallah as such individuals.
In October, Kuwait joined TFTC partners in identifying nine individuals associated with the Taleban, including those facilitating Iranian support to support the terrorist group. The report did not overlook the fact that the Kuwait National Committee for Combating the Financing of Terrorism identified its national risk assessment, which contains plans and recommendations to be submitted to the Kuwaiti Cabinet.
In October, five Kuwaitis working in the fight against terrorism and financial industry participated in the US State Department’s International Leadership Program, where they met with counterparts from US public and private sector institutions specializing in counterterrorism financing and terrorist financing targeting.
The Ministry of Education has implemented a program to combat what it considers extremist ideologies in public schools through training programs targeting teachers and aimed at developing programs to guide students. As part of the government’s national plan to promote moderation, the Ministry of Information runs a television channel broadcasting program targeting audiences believed to be at greater risk of violent extremism.
The Ministry of Awqaf has maintained a training program for imams and a separate program to enable diwaniyas to invite clerics to engage attendees and counter the potential presence of “extremist influences”. In August, the ministry announced a new annual prize for the imam, who offers an innovative initiative in the field of “countering extremism.” Kuwait continues to play a leading role in mediating the fratricidal conflict in the GCC countries and continuously cooperates in preventing the financing of terrorism