On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kuwait, but absent from his agenda—at least according to official press releases—was any effort to normalize relations with the Jewish state. Hussain Abdul-Hussain argues that encouraging the Gulf emirate to join the Abraham Accords should be higher on the list of American priorities:
[I]n the 1960s, Kuwait played an instrumental role in the rise of Palestinian nationalism. The late chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Yasir Arafat, and his closest lieutenants were residents of Kuwait when they formed their Fatah militia. However, Arafat benefited from Kuwaiti diplomatic support and generosity only until 1990, when he backed the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s occupation and decimation of Kuwait. The alliance between the United States and Kuwait became unbreakable as a result of the Gulf War, when Washington liberated Kuwait from the invading Iraqis, an event that reoriented the country away from Arab nationalism and removed a key obstacle to peace with Israel.
Since then, Kuwaiti zeal for Arab nationalism has receded, while Kuwaiti voices calling for peace with Israel became louder. Legislators, columnists, pundits, politicians, and TV anchors have all called for unconditional peace with Israel over the past few years. If the Biden administration is serious about expanding the Abraham Accords, it has to show countries like Kuwait that peace is still one of Washington’s top priorities.
It is very likely that the Kuwaiti government and its loyalists, most of whom are top regional merchants, will jump on the opportunity to sideline Islamists and endorse peace that benefits their businesses. What is still missing is for America to show these Kuwaitis that it is seriously pursuing such a plan.