By Kevin Stoda
On a day when the local papers were all carrying headlines, such as a “Third Kuwaiti Carries out Suicide Attack in Iraq”, another much smaller headline on the front page of the ARAB TIMES stated, “Kuwaitis, US Troops in Road Rage”.
Such was the news of the day Wednesday May 7, 2008 in Kuwait, five years after George W. Bush had told Americans that the mission in the Gulf was accomplished.
From an editorial perspective, one has to asked why these two articles are lumped together under the same banner?
The major story failed to indicate that there are problems of alienation in Kuwait society which are making it ripe for the pickings of Al-Qaeda and other supposedly religious war-makers.
The second story was about belligerent and arrogant US soldiers driving on the streets of Kuwait, claiming they were above the law.
THIRD KUWAITI SUICIDE BOMBER IN A MONTH=ALIENATION
The announcement this week that once again a male Kuwaiti in his 30s had left his family to commit suicide in an attack in Iraq followed last week's reports of two other Kuwaitis having done the same thing.
The suicide killer who came to the fore in the May 7 newspapers of Kuwait was Bader Al-Harbi. Unlike the other two Kuwaiti suicide bombers in April, Al-Harbi had never been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.
However, Al-Harbi had been in Afghanistan recently, but upon his return to Kuwait, authorities had arrested him. Then, a short time later, police decided to release him.
Al-Harbi then quickly escaped Kuwait and made his way to Syria with the help of others—ostensibly with some other Kuwaitis’ help.
Al-Harbi’s family claimed that he had told them that he was on a visit to Mecca in Saudi Arabia when news of his death arrived via a call from Iraq a few days ago. The caller had announced that Al-Harbi was a martyr.
The idea of taking part in a suicide bombing in Iraq is generally so far from the daily or public experience of life in Kuwait—where mall shopping and fast cars dominate the day—that every single one of the 3 million people living in this Gulf country needs to pause and reflect on the whys and hows of the recent spate of suicide bombings carried out in Iraq.
This is because, unlike more radicalized regions of the Gulf, Asia, and Africa moderate Islam still dominates in Kuwait. That is, no imams are found shouting out for volunteers to commit suicide. Moreover, as is often stated here: suicide is not permitted in Islam.
Investigations and arrests have begun in Kuwait on what sort of recruiting ring has been active here, but Kuwaiti politicians and the public must do some soul searching as to why these men (with wives and children) would do such a thing.
Are the social, economic, and political options for individuals in Kuwait society so small that many young men are so extremely alienated and adrift that they become prey to recruiters promising them release from their worldly misery through hope in some act of terror?