Kuwaiti media is reporting on the results of its parliamentary elections described as an “resounding electoral victory” for the opposition including the Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood factions. According to a Kuwait Times report:
The Kuwaiti opposition scored a resounding election victory unparalleled since 1992 by securing 34 of the 50-member National Assembly, one more than the required absolute majority to dictate terms. Sunni Islamists and the nationalist Popular Action Bloc emerged the main winners, with Salaf and the Islamic Constitutional Movement, or Muslim Brotherhood, each winning all the four seats they contested. The government and its supporters were hammered with Shiites winning seven seats down from nine, liberals reduced to just two from at least five in the previous National Assembly and pro-government around five MPs from as many as 15. No women were elected to the new house compared to four in the previous assembly when women made history by winning seats in the assembly. Analysts have attributed the women debacle to the female lawmakers’ blind support of the government. With the opposition impressive win, veteran lawmaker and former three-time National Assembly speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun is tipped to become the next speaker even if the government decides to support other candidates. The win of the opposition was so impressive that leading opposition figures Jamaan Al-Harbash, Faisal Al-Muslem, Mussallam Al-Barrak and Falah Al-Sawwagh came in first position in the second, third, fourth and fifth constituencies. The opposition also bagged 18 of the 20 seats available in the fourth and fifth tribal constituencies, in addition to seven seats in the third, at least five in the second and four in the first. Prominent winners include Saadoun, a member of parliament since 1975, Mussallam Al-Barrak, who secured over 30,000 votes, a record high in Kuwait’s history. The new house includes 26 new MPs with 19 fresh members, with the third constituency producing the maximum number of new faces with six. Only two of the 13 former MPs who were questioned on charges of corruption managed to get re-elected. They are Saad Al-Khanfour and Saleh Ashour. The rest either did not contest, lost in tribal primaries or defeated in the National Assembly election. Kuwaiti tribes, though emerged the main platform for the opposition, secured only 23 seats, down from 25 in the previous assembly with the loss coming from the first and second electoral districts with one each. Awazem, Mutairi and Ajmans maintained their strength with six, five and four MPs, respectively, while Rasheedi got one more on the four it had. Enezi tribe had only one seat compared to three in the previous assembly, Hawajer lost its solitary seat while Oteibi got one compared to two. Shimmari however secured one seat while it had nothing in the previous house. The Salafists and their supporters improved from just three in the previous assembly to as many as 12 and the Islamic Constitutional Movement and its supporters also improved from just to two to as many as eight. There are several independent Islamists.”
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A post from 2010 report on plans by the Kuwaiti Brotherhood to “refocus on Islamist issues” in order to deal with its heavy 2009 electoral losses in which it was almost eliminated from the parliament.
A Carnegie Foundation report identifies the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) as the “political arm of the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood” and the Social Reform Society as “the formal organization associated with the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood.” One of the most important leaders of the Kuwait Brotherhood is Tariq Al-Suwaidan, the General Manager of Al-Resalah Satellite TV, the brainchild of Saudi businessman Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. In May 2007, Al-Suwaidan was listed by federal prosecutors in a group of U.S Muslim Brotherhood members named as part of a large group of Unindicted Co-Conspirators in the terrorism financing case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, convicted of providing funds for Hamas. Al-Suwaidan is also the author of the anti-Semitic “Encyclopedia of Jews.” A previous post discussed both his background and the struggle to control his Wikipedia page.
A Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) report describes the role of Kuwait in the 2010 Gaza flotilla involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces:
Kuwait and its government, charities, and parliamentarians appear to have played a significant role in the flotilla. Kuwait had its own cargo ship, and eighteen Kuwaiti nationals from the flotilla were detained by the Israelis, including two of particular importance, discussed below. Kuwaiti media described the country as “a main donor for Palestine” that had participated in the flotilla through contributions by several unidentified charities, but there is evidence that National Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi played a role in the funding. The most important Kuwaiti flotilla participant was UNIW Deputy Secretary-General Mubarak Al-Mutawa, an attorney known in Kuwait as a prominent Islamist and supporter of conservative Islamic causes. Al- Mutawa has a long history of ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and has both defended terrorist suspects and requested asylum in Pakistan for Arab and foreign fighters currently in Afghanistan. He was the UNIW official who announced that UNIW would be seeking legal action against Israel leaders over Gaza and was in attendance and/or helped organize at least two of the conferences discussed above. Al-Mutawa was the UNIW representative aboard the Marmara and before departure had expressed his desire to become a martyr, stating that he himself had purchased a one-way ticket and written a will. Upon his return to Kuwait, Al-Mutawa was widely quoted in the press as claiming that it was the Israelis who had started shooting at the flotilla without warning. Sometime later, Al-Mutawa filed a criminal complaint with the International Criminal Court and the European Court for Human Rights against various Israeli leaders.The second important Kuwait flotilla participant was Walid al-Tabtabai, a Kuwaiti MP and a former professor of Islamic law at Kuwait University. Al-Tabtabai has been head of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee since 1992 and is described in media reports as a leading Salafist who has taken very conservative positions on social issues. Al-Tabtabai also has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in the Netherlands and to a Dutch mosque that is also related to the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Tabtabai was also aboard the flotilla and like Al-Mutawa, Al-Tabtabai reportedly said he had written a will prior to departure and was widely quoted as saying that the Israelis had fired first.
The JCPA report also discussed the role of leading Salafist Walid al-Tabtabai described as a Kuwaiti MP and head of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee since 1992
The Kuwaiti Ministry of Awqaf is known to be a supporter of the Global Muslim Brotherhood all over the world.