Assem­bly de­bates Aleppo, forms new pan­els

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE - By B Iz­zak

A de­bate called by the Na­tional Assem­bly over the mas­sacres in the Syr­ian city of Aleppo passed peace­fully, with a ma­jor­ity of MPs strongly con­demn­ing the in­dis­crim­i­nate killings of civil­ians in the city. MPs then passed a num­ber of non-bind­ing rec­om­men­da­tions call­ing on the for­eign min­istry to raise the is­sue of war crimes in Syria in­ter­na­tion­ally. They also called on the gov­ern­ment to re­solve res­i­dency prob­lems for Syr­ian na­tion­als in Kuwait and to al­low them to bring their fam­i­lies to live with them. They also called for in­creas­ing health aid to the Syr­ian peo­ple.

Be­fore the start of the de­bate, 10 MPs de­manded that the dis­cus­sion be held be­hind closed doors, but af­ter a se­cret de­bate, the pro­posal failed to get the re­quired sup­port and the de­bate was held in pub­lic. De­spite the in­tense crit­i­cism of the regimes of Syria, Iran and Rus­sia, the de­bate was al­most free of sec­tar­ian ar­gu­ments be­tween hard­line Sunni and Shi­ite law­mak­ers. There were how­ever some mi­nor ar­gu­ments that quickly ended. Assem­bly Speaker Mar­zouq Al-Ghanem thanked the law­mak­ers at the end of the spe­cial de­bate for not let­ting the dis­cus­sion de­vi­ate into sec­tar­ian rifts.

Dur­ing the de­bate, Is­lamist op­po­si­tion MP Adel AlDamkhi con­demned the Rus­sian-Ira­nian-Baathist crimes in Aleppo, adding that the even­tual win­ners in such con­fronta­tions are al­ways the peo­ple. Is­lamist MP Mo­ham­mad Hayef said the Syr­ian peo­ple are able to re­sist a huge at­tack against them by many coun­tries and ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions. He called for as­sist­ing Syr­i­ans liv­ing in Kuwait.

Is­lamist MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said that he­roes in Aleppo have been fac­ing Rus­sia and Iran, adding that the city has not failed, but masks have dropped from the faces of many groups like Hezbol­lah and Is­lamic State. Op­po­si­tion MP Al-Hu­maidi Al-Subaei crit­i­cized the si­lence of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity over the crimes in Aleppo and the whole of Syria. Shi­ite MP Khaled Al-Shatti how­ever said that many of the videos com­ing out of Aleppo are fake and fab­ri­cated, adding that Aleppo has been lib­er­ated from ter­ror­ist groups.

Sev­eral MPs praised the hu­man­i­tar­ian stance of the Kuwaiti gov­ern­ment, which has al­ready con­trib­uted around $1.6 bil­lion in aid to the Syr­ian peo­ple and for host­ing three Syria donors’ con­fer­ences to raise funds for Syria.

Be­fore the de­bate on Aleppo, MPs elected mem­bers for six tem­po­rary com­mit­tees in­clud­ing one for sports and youth, which is ex­pected to play an im­por­tant role in lift­ing the sus­pen­sion on Kuwaiti sports. The Assem­bly also elected a com­mit­tee for state­less peo­ple, lo­cally known as bedoons. It also elected a com­mit­tee for hu­man rights and one for pro­mot­ing busi­ness in Kuwait.

But a con­tro­versy erupted over a de­mand to form a com­mit­tee to com­bat neg­a­tive prac­tices in the so­ci­ety, as a num­ber of lib­eral law­mak­ers feared it could be used to sup­press pub­lic free­doms in Kuwait. But the gov­ern­ment wel­comed its for­ma­tion, with the in­te­rior min­istry ex­pect­ing it to help in con­fronting bad phe­nom­ena like drug addiction. The panel was fi­nally formed with Is­lamist MPs tak­ing the ma­jor­ity of its five seats. MPs also passed a rec­om­men­da­tion ask­ing the con­cerned com­mit­tees to com­plete their re­ports on pro­posed amend­ments to na­tion­al­ity laws within two months.

— Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: MPs Shuaib Al-Muwaizri (cen­ter) and Saadoun Al-Otaibi (front) are seen dur­ing an emer­gency ses­sion at the Na­tional Assem­bly yesterday to con­demn crimes against hu­man­ity and mass mur­der com­mit­ted against civil­ians in Aleppo.

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