RECOMMENDED READING: A New Prime Minister In Kuwait…And Credit Goes To The Brotherhood?”


The Carnegie Endowment has published a report detailing what appears to be the resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait following a major defeat in 2009 elections. The report begins:

DECEMBER 15, 2011 Prior to 2009, Islamists in Kuwait generally were not regarded as an opposition force to the government. In fact, many Kuwaitis believed that former Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah sided with the Islamists in the eighties and the nineties against leftists and liberals. But in the past two years, the Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait has changed significantly. Its political organization, the Islamic Constitutional Movement (or Hadas, its Arabic acronym) has played a prominent role in rallying against Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed Al Sabah—a liberal-leaning member of the ruling family with extensive diplomatic experience but accused of corruption since his first appointment in February 2006. Nasser al-Mohammed finally resigned from office on November 29 and has since been replaced by Jaber al-Mubarak al-Hamad Al Sabah, his former defense minister. The ousting of al-Mohammed is a rare event in Kuwaiti history. He has resigned previously seven times and only now, after his eighth resignation, has he been replaced by al-Mubarak. Prior to 2006, MPs refrained from confrontation with the prime minister, as he was also crown prince (and thus, the future emir). When the office of prime minister was separated from the title of crown prince, the prime minister lost the emir’s prerogative of immunity and became subject to parliamentary inquiry. The resulting stalemate has left Kuwait’s cabinet of ministers in a deadlock: as parliament submitted requests to question the cabinet, the emir reactively dissolved parliament, resulting in three separate dissolutions between 2006 and 2009. The cabinet also resigned seven times in efforts to escape parliamentary inquiry.  In the midst of large parliamentary opposition to Nasser al-Mohammed, Hadas was initially not very vocal. The critical turning point came in 2009 during development of “the fourth oil refinery project”—a contract worth $15 billion that would eventually replace the aging Shuaiba plant and expand national oil production. MPs cited illegal procedural mistakes in its approval and threatened to grill the oil minister, Mohammed al-Olaim—a Hadas party member—for lack of transparency. After receiving the Audit Bureau report which stated that the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) did not adhere to the committee regulations, Prime Minister al-Mohammed postponed the project indefinitely. Hadas felt betrayed (having backed al-Olaim) and in reaction, placed a request to grill the prime minister himself—accusing him of squandering public funds in personal expenses and stalling development plans for the project. The arguments they presented were poorly sustained and damaged their own credibility. Their countermove was generally perceived as an unprincipled reaction against the prime minister’s withdrawal of support for a Hadas member. This contributed to Hadas’s defeat in the following May 2009 elections. Only two members of Hadas won seats—and mainly due to tribal connections: Jimaan al-Hirbish (who belongs to the Eniza tribe) and Falah al-Sawagh (of the Awazm). In 2006, the party had 6 seats in total.

Read the rest here.

A previous post reported on the losses suffered by the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood in the May 2009 elections.

Numerous prior posts have detailed the important role played by the Kuwait in supporting the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

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