Kuwait’s parliament divided over Gulf confederation call

April 26, 2011

Kuwait’s parliament appeared divided over calls to turn the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) into a confederation.

MP Waleed Al Tabtabai said that he fully supported a Gulf confederation and that he would coordinate with Islamist and independent lawmakers to issue an urgent recommendation to the government to join it, Kuwaiti daily Al Jareeda reported.

“We can issue the recommendation after we hold a special parliamentary session dedicated to the role of Iran in the region and the Iranian spy ring in Kuwait,” the conservative MP said.

However, MP Salwa Al Jassar said that critical decisions on a Gulf confederation should be left to the GCC leaders.

“We should not debate such a sensitive issue at this time,” she said. “I wonder why this idea was floated now. Don’t they have a realistic and correct reading of the regional circumstances and conditions? The concept of a Gulf confederation should be deferred,” Salwa, one of the four women in the parliament, said, quoted by the daily.

For lawmaker Saleh Al Mulla, the timing of the call for a Gulf confederation is “inappropriate”.

“I am not against any form of unity between the GCC states, but I am against calls that are not well studied,” he said. “The Gulf region is going through highly delicate times because of what is happening in Bahrain and its effects on the GCC, the spy ring, the Iranian statements and other issues,” he said.

The Kuwaiti lawmaker said that the particular features of each of the six countries of the GCC should not be overlooked.

“We have a common religion, language, traditions and mores, but what makes a multi-state alliance is political integration between them. When we look at the European Union, we see that it has refused membership to several European countries because of their inability to meet specific political and full democracy criteria,” he said.

Kuwait’s political and constitutional systems have made it an outstanding country, he said.

“As a Kuwaiti, I will not, for the sake of achieving the dream of some people to have a confederation, accept to give up such achievements that have made Kuwait a stable country in a troubled sea of catastrophic events affecting the Arab world. There are some countries in the Gulf that do not want to implement the Kuwaiti system,” he said.

Last week, Bahrain’s lower chamber called for adopting the Gulf confederation to boost unity and thwart external threats.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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