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Whoever sows wind harvests a storm

Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

ONCE again, we turn to His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah – as he is the top executive officer in the country – to tell him, or rather convey to him, what most of the Kuwaitis are saying.

Your Highness, the disarray and media reviews do not address a crisis but they instead exacerbate it and complicate issues. A government that is subject to one or two MPs is not eligible to run a country.

I have been following local politics since independence – I mean since the United Nations and the Arab League recognized Kuwait as an independent state – and the departments became ministries, and members of the National Assembly were elected.

It is unfortunate that things in this country are let to play out on their own, and the government’s resolve appears only after a disaster strikes.

This was what transpired after the 1967 elections, as well as during the Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash in the early 1980s.

However, the most significant and painful disaster to have struck Kuwait until date is the fateful Iraqi invasion. We currently recall the dark painful days of this month three decades ago. At that time, the government neither preempted the disaster in order to fortify the country nor did it heed to the warnings issued in this regard by more than one Arab and international parties.

Particularly in this matter, Kuwait did not learn a lesson until after the ruin of Basra, as it was argued that this country is an independent one that did not hold alliances with major international powers, and the fact that it is a small country that had eluded successive governments.

Considering that even the largest and most powerful countries have alliances, if Kuwait had signed military cooperation agreements with the five permanent members of the Security Council, it would have saved itself from the miseries of the invasion.

Things continued in the same manner after the liberation. Explosive files were left without any solutions until corruption reached the bone of this country and began devouring most of the state institutions.

Corruption spread to such an extent that the ministries became a hotbed of parliamentary interests to the point that an MP now sees himself as the kingpin in a particular ministry or sector. In fact, opportunistic hands have reached the most important facility in the country – the oil, which is the only source of income for Kuwait.

As for the forbidden trade that has reached every home – I mean visa trading (human trafficking) – it has managed to tarnish the reputation of Kuwaitis worldwide. Instead of dealing with the matter from its roots, some officials are seen defending the criminals responsible for this humanitarian crime, even though various international institutions continue to issue warnings regarding this matter.

However, when the time bomb of visa trading exploded, the search for scapegoats was initiated, while the kingpins who consider themselves to be above the law in this regard were left out.

Your Highness, whichever side you turn, you will see corruption and reckless decisions. It is as if the government is the playground for ignorance and not a place to run the country.

A good example is the COVID-19 crisis, which dictates to us not to fall for what some people advocate as correct measures. We should instead look at it from an angle of unfortunate reality, such as the suspicions of corruption being raised almost daily by various media platforms in terms of the deals concerning import of medicines and tampering with the allocated funds to combat this pandemic.

In addition to that, the corridors of the judiciary are awash with cases, while on the ground, the situation remains the same as if we are running in an empty circle.

Your Highness, is it conceivable that two MPs are the ones dictating the foreign policy of the state and its relations with the rest of the countries?

Given that this is a strategic matter that is not supposed to be subjected to any electoral accounts or even shortsightedness, why was the decision to prevent citizens of 31 countries from entering Kuwait suddenly taken and immediately enforced?

Why was this decision enforced when there were planes in the Kuwaiti airspace or on the airport grounds, and people were prevented from entering the country? How does this decision differ from the previous decisions whose ink is yet to dry?

It is true that protecting the lives of people is a national requirement, but there are ways to take this type of decision. It should start with the Directorate General for Civil Aviation addressing the concerned countries, instead of working based on the principle of “taking it as it is”, as if Kuwait is a martian island and does not have international relations.

To make matters worse, when the concerned authorities are asked about this confusion, the one asking would either be referred to the Ministry of Health, or told that such measures are based on instructions of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Does anyone in this world believe that this international organization would concern Kuwait with specific instructions when it does not oblige, for example, Japan, the European Union, China, Malaysia, and India with instructions of similar nature? Your Highness, does the Cabinet believe this?

There are many countries that have taken dozens of better procedures than Kuwait such as Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and others … So why not learn from them?

In this crisis, we failed to benefit from the many economic and financial opportunities that were presented to us. We even missed very precious opportunities that would have improved our credit rating and increased our investment portfolios.

The reason for missing such opportunities is always justified with flimsy arguments. For instance, someone told us that this matter is left to the National Assembly. However, the Cabinet has several rights and authorities, the most important of which is the decree of necessity.

Your Highness, you know undoubtedly that the head of the state is the father of the constitution. He has many powers that he can enforce through his Cabinet, including temporarily suspending the Parliament like what many democratic countries do in times of crises.

Unfortunately, the government has left matters to play out by themselves on the path paved with speculation and fear. It is as if the government is preparing to run in the elections, and is afraid of losing its parliamentary seat. The real reason behind its existence is to bear full responsibility as the executive authority and not the National Assembly or the MPs, who benefit from it. As soon as things go south, the Cabinet is thrown under the bus mercilessly.

It has become clear to all Kuwaitis that the government, which has no decision and applies expired fat-free procedures, is sowing the seeds of its failure with its own hands. It is crushing the hopes that the people have in it, which is in confirmation of the common adage, “Whoever sows wind reaps storm”.

Your Highness, you are all sowing wind.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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