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The controversy surrounding the visit of the Iranian cleric Mohamed Baqer al-Fali, to Kuwait has escalated into a political crisis, albeit a postponed one, that is threatening the Kuwait Prime Minister with a grilling from three Sunni Muslim Salafist MP’s.

This crisis surrounding al-Fali’s visit is problematic for a number of reasons.

There are deliberate attempts to find any excuse to question the Prime Minister of Kuwait, Sheik Nasser Mohamed Al Ahmed Al Sabbah, and the Kuwaiti Parliament has been dissolved previously due to this reason. Not to mention that the visit of Shiite Cleric Al Fali is indicative of a looming sectarianism that will prove dangerous for the Kuwait. Therefore, there is confusion with regards to taking a neutral stance concerning the Iranian cleric’s visit, especially considering that there are motives and intentions running contrary to appearance, and that the Salafist MP’s are pushing a right which is baseless, namely the right to cross-examine the Prime Minister.

From here we must concentrate on two important issues; firstly it must be stressed that what has be achieved in Kuwait, especially with regards to politics, is something worth preserving. This requires political awareness, and not the trawling through troubled waters, and the scoring of political points.

The right to question the Prime Minister is something guaranteed by the constitution and the democratic process, yet it is a double-edged sword that requires comprehensive political wisdom, or else it will results in politics shifting away from the interest of the nation and its citizens.

The second issue is regarding the Iranian attempt to gain influence in our region, which is a reality that poses a threat to both our countries and our security. The Iranians threaten to drag us into a sectarian catastrophe that we want no part of, which is the reason why even the wise amongst us are confused with regards to what stance to take on issues like the Al Fali visit.

The danger which threatens our nations is not from the Shiite, for people’s beliefs do not conflict with their nationality or rights, and this is a view proven by the Gulf States. Rather the real danger is the perpetual Iranian attempt to infiltrate our region, and it is this threat that must be addressed.

Therefore we are in dire need of political rationality in our dealings, to ensure that we do not fall into the sectarianism trap, and remain alert to the threat of Iranian funding within some of our countries, especially in our region where there is openness to this. Thanks to this funding, Iran is able to gain a stronghold of influence in issues, politically, socially, even educationally and within the media. And by doing so it has create a new reality of Iranian influence that will prove difficult to remove in the future.

And to those who doubt the danger of Iranian financial influence, they should look to what this same influence has done in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and within some Arab Gulf States, and some North African countries. Iranian funding is not being used for investment and stabilization; rather it is being used for exploitation and sectarian influence.

Because not everything that is known can be revealed, it is up to those responsible to monitor certain companies in the Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, specifically with regards to investments in Najaf and some Gulf states, and even Egypt, to see the size and type of companies which represent a front for Iranian financial influence.

And so the crisis surrounding the entry of the Iranian cleric into the Kuwait cannot be simplified, because the issues are all intertwined, from the political misuse of the cross-examination process, to the importance of not falling into the trap of sectarianism.

So it is most important that political squabbling doesn’t distract us from the serious danger of Iranian interference in our affairs, particularly with regards to the poisonous Iranian funding which has come to be known by various names, charitable and otherwise.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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