Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation
imageThe aftermath.EPA/Raed Qutena

June 26 2015 saw three violent terrorist attacks across three continents. In Tunisia, gunmen opened fire on tourists on a beach in Sousse; in France, a man beheaded his employer and attempted to blow up a gas plant; and in Kuwait, a suicide bomber attacked a mosque during the holy month of Ramadan. This is the latest in a series of attacks across Gulf states that are attempting to further schisms between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Abu Suleiman al-Muwahhid, named by Islamic State sources as the suicide bomber who targeted the Imam Sadiq mosque, apparently opposed its promotion of Shia Islam; IS referred to the mosque on Twitter as a “temple of the apostates”. The attack took place just after the midday Friday prayers, when the mosque was at its busiest.

The bombing left 27 dead and more than 200 injured, making it the worst attack to hit Kuwait in many years. It was also the first time a mosque had been targeted in the country’s history.

Saudi-based Wilayat Najd, the latest in a line of groups to to declare affiliation to IS, has taken credit for the attack. The group had previously claimed responsibility for attacks on two Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia in Dammam and Qatif.

A widening chasm

Like other Gulf states, Kuwait has a large Shia population. The group accounts for as many as a third of the country’s 1.3m citizens. This attack is seemingly an effort to challenge national unity in a state in which Sunni and Shia often live side by side. But it also highlights the sectarian schism widening across the Gulf region in general.

Regional competition between Gulf states has taken on an increasingly sectarian element since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The rivalry between Saudi Arabia (ruled by Sunnis) and Iran (ruled by Shia) has, in particular, shaped the geopolitics of the region.

Their competition generally plays out through certain proxy countries – such as Iraq and Syria – but has of late spilled over into other states, as we’ve seen in this attack in Kuwait.

The tensions have aggravated the divisions between societies that began to emerge after the Arab uprisings – divisions IS and its affiliates seem intent on accelerating.

IS is seeking to delegitimise political rulers across the region. This in part includes identifying hypocrisy from those in charge, particularly in Saudi Arabia, where the ruling family must choose between defending the Shia in the name of national stability or adhering to the vehemently anti-Shia Wahhabist doctrine taught in schools across the state.

In Kuwait, religious difference does not manifest in political or security issues but the ruling al-Sabah family also needs to acknowledge tensions and stress national unity, even if it is itself Sunni.

IS hopes that by pointing out this apparent hypocrisy, it can build support from Sunni people in the Gulf who might be angered by their leaders' tolerance for the Shia and wary of open the door to increased Iranian influence in region.

imageSheik Sabah Al-Sabah visits the mosque after the suicide attack.EPA/Raed Qutena

Perhaps one of the other aims, though, is to draw Iran further into the mix. By demonstrating the state’s inability to offer protection for its minorities, it’s possible that IS is seeking to push Shia groups further towards Iran, which is committed to protecting its co-religious kin. This can already be seen in Iraq, where members of the elite Quds Force, are operating to protect Bagdhad and the important Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf.

The Kuwait attack is, then, the latest move in a game of regional chess. Relations between rulers and ruled are increasingly frayed and the ramifications are region wide.

Caught in the middle of this are the Muslims across the region who are participating in Ramadan, who are the victims of an increasingly existential struggle.

Simon Mabon does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/why-islamic-state-attacked-a-kuwait-mosque-during-ramadan-43973

Rising coronavirus cases among Victorian health workers could threaten our pandemic response

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Scott Morrison Covid 19 update

PRIME MINISTER: Good afternoon, everyone. Today I’m joined by Professor Paul Murphy - sorry, Professor Paul Kelly. I’ve got Brendan Murphy still on the brain. You are not far from us, Brendan. B...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

FORDHAM: Thank you very much for talking to us. I know it's a difficult day for all of those Qantas workers. Look, they want to know in the short term, are you going to extend JobKeeper?   PRI...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison interview with Neil Mitchell

NEIL MITCHELL: Prime minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, how are you?   MICHELL: I’m okay, a bit to get to I apologise, we haven't spoken for a while and I want to get t...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Fifth Dimension: Identified as one of the world’s leading strategic consultancies

Sydney based consulting company, Fifth Dimension, has been recognised for its ground breaking work, receiving a place in the GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Top 25 Strategic Consultancie...

Tess Sanders Lazarus - avatar Tess Sanders Lazarus

Understanding Your NextGen EHR System and Features

NextGen EHR (Electronic Health Records) systems can be rather confusing. However, they can offer the most powerful features and provide some of the most powerful solutions for your business’s EHR ne...

Rebecca Stuart - avatar Rebecca Stuart

SEO In A Time of COVID-19: A Life-Saver

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about a lot of uncertainty for everyone across the world. It has had one of the most devastating impacts on the day-to-day lives of many including business o...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion