Kuwait’s Terror Front

Kuwait is in the spotlight of terror. The tiny oil-rich sheikhdom had a close brush with Al Qaeda on Tuesday. News that an attack by suspected terrorists on a sensitive spot had been thwarted is most reassuring. Yet, the very fact that the outfit managed to sneak in close to a United States military base in the Gulf emirate is disturbing.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Thu 13 Aug 2009, 8:42 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 12:28 AM

This serves as a reminder that the war against terrorism is far from over and, despite claims to the contrary, a lot more needs to be done to fight an enemy that remains largely faceless.

The attempt at Camp Arifjan will compel security analysts and policy-makers to reorder their methods in fighting a war that will stay for some time. It requires a lot of homework on the part of Kuwait and neighbouring countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The borders of these countries are porous and greater vigilance is required.

The plot also indicates that Kuwait is becoming the new hub for Al Qaeda after being battered out of Iraq. Similarly, the simmering unrest in parts of Yemen, owing to Al Qaeda’s reported relocation, and a couple of terrorist incidents in the recent past in Saudi Arabia are new realities that need to be addressed.

Washington, which maintains around 15,000 troops in Kuwait, has to tackle the challenge by upgrading its intelligence network. It is an important transit point for reinforcement. Al Qaeda and the like are active in the region, not only on the militancy front, but also in money laundering and smuggling.

The issue needs to be looked at totality. The lone premise of terrorism is beating about the bush. There are big and ambitious minds involved. They tend to thrive on uncertainty and lawlessness; of course, they nurse political ambitions too.

A coordinated security doctrine alone will make the region a safe place to live in. The enemy, which has been in a state of flux since 9/11, needs to be followed and nailed down. To do that the US needs to re-evaluate its strategy in Afghanistan, and, as it prepares for a long-drawn battle, leave behind a foolproof security umbrella in Iraq. Similarly, it is high time concentration is devoted to Yemen, which has become the new theatre of Al Qaeda’s activities and reportedly its operational base.

Eradicating poverty and erecting a progressive socio-economic base in the lesser-developed areas of the region can go a long way in discouraging militancy trends. The region must not be allowed to become either a sanctuary or a breeding ground for terrorists. The synchronised policy should have political, economic and security answers to the new challenge.

More news from