Because Kuwait is one of the region’s most reliable security partners when it comes to countering terrorism and violent extremism, it’s my pleasure to introduce this issue of Unipath dealing with that very topic.
Whether it’s joining the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, hosting multinational military exercises such as Eagle Resolve or cracking down on terrorist financing as part of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force, Kuwait makes an over-sized contribution to regional stability.
This state of affairs is a tribute to the leadership and diplomatic skill of His Highness the Emir of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah.
The Kuwait Armed Forces realizes that terrorism remains the country’s top threat. To counter that scourge, our military forces focus on maintaining a high state of readiness in coordination with the Gulf Cooperation Council states and our multinational partners.
Investing in some of the world’s best weaponry is only one part of the equation. Equally important are honing the skills and building the capabilities of our land, air and maritime forces. That’s why military training and exercises are so crucial.
Every two years Kuwait invites thousands of troops to participate in Eagle Resolve, but my country also joins with partners in conducting exercises such as Desert Shield, the International Maritime Exercise and Pearl of the West.
Recent threats in the Arabian Gulf have only reaffirmed our belief that our forces must be alert and agile in defending our nation’s dynamic location.
Counterterrorism, however, is a concern for the whole country, not just the military.
The country’s police and National Guard units work efficiently with the military to maintain Kuwait’s security. Also, the State of Kuwait harnessed its capabilities and technology to deprive terrorists of the money they need to commit their crimes. Furthermore, Kuwait forbids online fundraising and propaganda that fuel terrorist organizations in accordance with the rules and regulations applicable in the State of Kuwait.
The country’s Ministry of Education sponsors a program in the public schools to counter extremist ideologies and show the true meaning of Islam, and the Ministry of Awqaf plays a similar role in helping train religious leaders.
When it came to rebuilding Iraq after the depredations of ISIS, my country hosted the Kuwait Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq and was among the top donors promising aid. Kuwaiti charitable donations have housed and fed refugees in northern Iraq and Syria and helped rebuild schools and medical clinics. My country realizes that defeating terrorists is a cooperative endeavor in which no country can emerge victorious by itself.
I’m confident that such a multinational approach — tactical, operational and strategic — is the key to eradicating the terrorism and violent extremism that threatens not just our region but the entire world.
Gen. (Ret.) Mohammed Khaled Al Khadher
former Chief of General Staff of the Kuwait Armed Forces