Kuwaitis storm parliament calling for removal of the Prime Minister

Kuwaitis storm parliament calling for removal of the Prime Minister Kuwaiti demonstrators and some opposition members of parliament broke into the parliament building yesterday demanding that Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah step down over allegations of corruption after efforts to march to his house were blocked. Activists have been holding protests for months, but ...

546986_111117_1330549612.jpg
546986_111117_1330549612.jpg

Kuwaitis storm parliament calling for removal of the Prime Minister

Kuwaiti demonstrators and some opposition members of parliament broke into the parliament building yesterday demanding that Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah step down over allegations of corruption after efforts to march to his house were blocked. Activists have been holding protests for months, but this is the first instance of political violence since December. At least five demonstrators and six security officials were reported injured in the encounter. Kuwait has avoided the mass demonstrations of much of the rest of the region due in part to its active and elected parliament and strong social welfare system. However, tensions have been increasing with claims that about 16 Members of Parliament have received over $350 million in bribes and the failure of the Prime Minister to address questions by the opposition over corruption. Frequent challenges by the opposition have forced al Sabah to resign six times since he was appointed in 2006. In a public announcement, the emir of Kuwait "stressed respect for the law, and urged no leniency with any infringement on national institutions."

Headlines  

Kuwaitis storm parliament calling for removal of the Prime Minister

Kuwaiti demonstrators and some opposition members of parliament broke into the parliament building yesterday demanding that Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah step down over allegations of corruption after efforts to march to his house were blocked. Activists have been holding protests for months, but this is the first instance of political violence since December. At least five demonstrators and six security officials were reported injured in the encounter. Kuwait has avoided the mass demonstrations of much of the rest of the region due in part to its active and elected parliament and strong social welfare system. However, tensions have been increasing with claims that about 16 Members of Parliament have received over $350 million in bribes and the failure of the Prime Minister to address questions by the opposition over corruption. Frequent challenges by the opposition have forced al Sabah to resign six times since he was appointed in 2006. In a public announcement, the emir of Kuwait “stressed respect for the law, and urged no leniency with any infringement on national institutions.”

Headlines  

  • After confirming Syria’s suspension, the Arab League offered Syria a three-day extension to end violence before imposing economic sanctions.
  • France summoned the Israeli ambassador after France’s consul in Gaza and family were injured in an Israeli airstrike
  • The United States warned Egypt of potential unrest if the military council doesn’t move more quickly in a transition to civilian control.
  • Iraq executed a Tunisian man for bombing a revered Shiite shrine in 2006 sparking sectarian violence that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
  • In a two-day meeting of the IAEA after the release of its report on Iran, the group’s head, Yukiya Amano, suggested a mission to Iran to address issues in the report.

Daily Snapshot

Kuwaitis demonstrators storm the Kuwaiti National Assembly in Kuwait City on November 16, 2011, after police and elite forces beat up protesters marching on the prime minister’s home to demand he resign, an opposition MP said. Tension has been building in Kuwait over the past three months after it was alleged that about 16 MPs in the 50-member parliament received about $350 million (259 million euros) in bribes (YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images). 

Arguments & Analysis

‘The Syria Game of Thrones’ (Tony Karon, Time)

“Despite their common interest in tackling Assad, many of those Arab regimes don’t much like the idea of Turkish influence spreading much more than they like the idea of Iranian influence spreading — except that in this instance, Iran concurs! Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu this week rejected domestic criticism that Turkey’s pressure on Assad was “subcontracting” for the U.S. Turkey’s foreign policy was based on principle, he said. Sometimes “it might be in harmony with the United States; sometimes with Iran, sometimes with Russia, sometimes with the EU.” Turkey would not be deterred from a position simply because it was in accord with Washington’s — but as it has demonstrated over the past three years, nor will it abide by U.S. positions with which it differs.” 

‘Beyond the Palestinian setback at the UN’ (Daniel Levy, Council on Foreign Relations)

“The tactics that the Palestinians are employing probably create more discomfort for the United States than they do for Israel. You have an Israeli-Palestinian reality, which is looking increasingly irresolvable and increasingly questioning the very possibility of a two-state solution. There’s a whole new set of other problems for the United States as it manages its relationship with Egypt and other Middle East states. I think the challenge for the United States is, given all the limitations of American policy, whether it can prevent further deterioration and further problems in 2012.” 

‘Assad will only go if his own tanks turn against him’ (Robert Fisk, The Independent)

“Does the Arab League’s threat of suspension really matter? I suspect not – but clearly the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem thinks very differently. He said that the league had taken “an extremely dangerous step” in threatening Syria and that US support for the league’s decision was “incitement”. Armour had already left Syrian cities, prisoners were being released, armed insurgents were being offered an amnesty. YouTube bounced back with video of a Russian-made armoured vehicle firing thousands of rounds down a Homs street and a photograph of a half-naked murdered Syrian, hands tied behind his back, lying in a Homs street. But murdered by whom? One thing is now clear. Quite apart from the massive civilian casualties, even opponents of the regime now admit that Assad faces an armed insurgency. This may originally have been a myth promoted by the regime, but the monster has now been born.”

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    <p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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