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Kuwait: putting the toothpaste back in the tube 30, October 2012

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Kuwait.
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m fairly sure that getting arrested was next on the ‘to do’ list of Musallam Al Barrack. He was already the most prominent opposition figure who received the most votes of any candidate ever and he was instrumental in breaking the taboo of overtly criticizing the Emir. Clearly what would augment his image further would be arrest and some time behind bars to really give him that oppressed, little guy against the system edge. And how sporting of Kuwait’s secret service to oblige and arrest him on 29th October.

He was arrested for openly criticizing the Emir with offensive remarks: as my Kuwaiti kids in class used to say:

“Mr David…he say bad word for meeee!”

Barrack is not the first to have been arrested on such charges, nor will he be the last; but he’s certainly the most popular.

Needless to say, this will galvanize and energize his support even more. This, though, is not the problem. There are, I suspect, many Kuwaitis who are not natural followers of Barrack who may feel increasingly uneasy with the Emir’s tactics of arresting opponents for mild criticism. It is these middle-ground voters who are the key.

While I’m sure the Emir would love to turn the clock back to more peaceful days when he sauntered above the fray untrammeled and unsullied by the dirty game of Kuwaiti politics [I exaggerate, of course], it is highly questionable as to whether he can fix the taboo that disallowed criticism of him by brute force.




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