March 27, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 7967

Reformist Kuwaiti Journalist 'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq, Who is Critical Of Iran and Hamas And Has Expressed Positive Views Of Israel, Is Sentenced To Three Years In Prison – For Two 2018 Tweets That, According To Kuwaiti Officials, Offended Shi'ites

March 27, 2019
Kuwait, The Gulf | Special Dispatch No. 7967

On March 19, 2019, a Kuwaiti court sentenced reformist journalist 'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq to three years in prison for offending the Shi'ites and "fanning controversies among the sectors of society," i.e., between Sunnis and Shi'ites in Kuwait. Al-Hadlaq was prosecuted for two tweets he posted in August 2018, in which he wrote that Imam 'Ali bin Abi Talib – considered by Shi'ites to be the rightful heir of the Prophet Muhammad – and his sons had caused the Sunni-Shi'ite divide in Islam and that 'Ali bin Abi Talib had deliberately delayed swearing loyalty to the first caliph, Abu Bakr.[1]

'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq is known for his harsh criticism of the Palestinians, especially Hamas, and of Iran, and for his positive opinions on Israel. Many of his articles have appeared in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan, which has occasionally removed them from its website after they sparked outrage. Due to his positions, he was included in a list of Arab writers who were called "traitors" and "Israel's ambassadors in the Arab world," which was published in 2009 on Arab websites that support the resistance axis. The list was published after, during the Israel-Gaza war in December 2008-January 2009, the Israeli Foreign Ministry published articles by these writers criticizing Hamas and the resistance axis, without the writers' knowledge or consent.[2]

This report presents excerpts from articles and statements by 'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq that were published by MEMRI over the years.

'Abdallah Al-Hadlaq (image: Al-Watan, Kuwait)

Against Iran

Lifting The Sanctions Will Strengthen The IRGC, Increase Terror Worldwide

In January 2016, in response to the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran following the publication of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report verifying that Iran had met its commitments under the nuclear deal, Al-Hadlaq wrote that the lifting of the sanctions would not help the Iranian people, because the regime would continue plundering and appropriating the country's resources. He wrote: "The fascist Persian Iranian turbaned regime that rules Tehran... interferes in every single matter, and deposits the country's resources in the hands of those with whom it is pleased, or those who guarantee its continued existence, primarily the Persian [Islamic] Revolutionary Guards [Corps] [IRGC]. When the sanctions on Iran are lifted, and the billions return to it, the people, who is bowed under the yoke of oppression and poverty, knows that it will receive a mere pittance from it, and that the situation will remain the same or even grow worse.

"In terms of economic resources, Iran is considered wealthy, even very wealthy... But this wealth is not reflected in the lives of its residents; only the tiniest fraction of it reaches their pockets... The men of the Persian regime and the IRGC are the unrivalled leaders of the [economic] battle - while the sanctions have hurt all Iranians, they have greatly benefited the IRGC, because after foreign firms left Iran, much of what they had been doing was taken over by the Persian IRGC, allowing it to increase its influence in the country and to take over the billions belonging to the Iranian people...

"The issue of lifting economic sanctions on Iran once again brings up the main question: Will things change? The answer of all those who follow [this issue] indicates that things will indeed change - in greater profit for these same [already wealthy] elements and for the Persian IRGC, which hold the [most important] economic junctions, and will partner the foreign investors on most new projects. The profits of those who already stand to gain will increase, and as for the poor - they will become even more impoverished and miserable in the face of an accursed revolution that consumed its own sons, and then their resources. The unfrozen billions will help strengthen the fascist Iranian Persian regime's ability to support, fund, and sponsor global terrorism and the satanic and evil plans of the land of the Persians - Iran."[3]

The Real Enemy Of The Gulf States Is Not Israel But Iran

In an August 1, 2015 article in Kuwait's Al-Watan daily, Al-Hadlaq wrote that the real enemy of the Gulf states is not Israel, whom he called "a friendly country," but rather Iran. He argued that Iran's Rule of the Jurisprudent regime is fascist, and that if it attains nuclear weapons it will not hesitate to use it against the Gulf states – whereas Israel, which has possessed such weapons for years, has never used them in its wars against the Arabs. Al-Hadlaq even called upon the Gulf states to sever their ties with Iran and form an alliance with Israel by strengthening their ties with it on the political, commercial and even military levels. He wrote: "To all those who think the Persian state (Iran), and the regime of the Rule of the Imprudent,[4] [namely] the dictatorial fascist Persian regime which controls it, is a friendly country, whereas Israel is an enemy country, I say that a prudent enemy is better than an imprudent one. The state of Israel and its various governments have waged more than five wars with the Arabs, yet never in the course of these wars did Israel think to use its nuclear weapons against its Arab enemies. Conversely, if the Persian state, with its stupid, rash and fascist regime that hides behind a religious guise, ever develops nuclear weapons, it will not hesitate to use nuclear bombs against the Arab Gulf states in the first conflict that arises.

"Israel is a friendly state that does not endanger us in the Arab Gulf region and we have nothing to fear from it. The one who threatens us, carries out acts of terror and destruction against us, and aspires to occupy us is the arrogant Persian enemy, represented by the regime of the Persian state (Iran), which is the incubator and supportive environment for global terror.

"Hence, I repeat my call to form an Israel-Gulf friendship society, as a first step towards developing and strengthening [our] ties with the friendly state of Israel in the domains of politics, diplomacy, trade, education and military and civilian cooperation. The rapprochement between Israel and the Gulf should be accompanied by a gradual distancing and severance of all ties with the Persian state (Iran) and its fascist Persian regime, now that it has been proven beyond all doubt that the Persian Iranians are involved in acts of terror, destruction and bombing in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait and the UAE, and after it has been proven that they incite and support the Shi'ite Houthi rebels in Yemen, and that the Shi'ite Persian Iranian militias are involved in all the hotspots of terror and conflict in the Arab Gulf and the Middle East, such as in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and throughout the world.

"I do not rule out - in fact I anticipate - that the servants and agents of Iran in the region, who have Persian blood running in their veins,... will accuse me of 'Zionism, collaborating with Israel, harboring hatred for Islam and Arabism, betraying the Palestinian cause and being hostile towards the Arab ummah.' [But now that] the world has become a village thanks to communications [technology], the scales have dropped from the eyes of the Arab and Muslims peoples, and they have realized... that their only bitter enemies are the Persian Iranians, not the friendly state of Israel..."[5]

The International Community Must Keep Iran From Attaining Nuclear Weapons

In an August 16, 2010 article, Al-Hadlaq voiced concern over Iran's nuclear capabilities and called on the international community to keep it from attaining nuclear weapons, while expressing doubt that this could be achieved by means of negotiations: "The terrorist Persian regime is striving to manufacture an atomic bomb... The international community has placed considerable faith in negotiations with [this regime]... Is the international community still unaware [of the fact] that Tehran's fascist Persian regime excels at dragging its feet and at deceiving the world and leading it astray with futile illusions and false hopes, while at the same time proceeding with its illegitimate nuclear activities? How long can [the international community] rely solely on negotiations with the Persian side, especially after the Persian regime in Tehran has ordered the Revolutionary Guards to make preparations for an all-out war in the Middle East?... Hasn't the time come for the international community to take action in order to prevent Iran from [becoming] nuclear?"[6]

Against Hamas

The 'Great Return March' Organized By 'Terroristic' Hamas Is Provocative And Violates The Islamic Shari'a

Al-Hadlaq is also known for his criticism of Hamas. In a March 31, 2018 article in Al-Watan – which was later removed from the daily's website – he condemned the Hamas-led "Great Return March" initiative, calling it "provocative" and warning that the protests are likely to get out of hand and lead to escalating violence. He added that the "terrorist" Hamas, an "ally of Iran," was using women and children as human shields. Al-Hadlaq wrote: "Demonstrations and sit-ins are un-Islamic and are unknown in Muslim history. These are non-Muslim methods that Islam does not accept. Violent demonstrations and sit-ins are negative phenomena that lead to chaos. All this [is based on] religious rulings by qualified fatwa-issuing bodies, and they apply to the calls issued by the terrorist Hamas movement, Iran's ally, to participate in a violent demonstration titled 'the Great Return March' and its call for women and children to lead the terrorists and inciters in breaching the Israeli border fence...

"Despite the organizers' promise to control the marches and demonstrations and keep them non-violent so as not to give the IDF an excuse to use force, [we can assume,] given the violent and aggressive character of the terrorist, pro-Iranian Hamas movement, and its habit of using civilians, [including] women and children, as human shields, [that] these demonstrations and marches will surely turn into violence, destruction and chaos, and will not manage to generate international sympathy for the 'Palestinians'[3] or any support for what they call their rights, especially the 'right of return.'

"The terrorist Palestinian factions decided to organize marches and demonstrations they call 'The Great Return March' near the Gaza-Israel border on the 42nd anniversary of the so-called Land Day. The organizers of these provocative marches and demonstrations began to level [the ground] along the border in order to set up a permanent protest-camp for the demonstrators. The IDF will surely not allow the rabble to cross the security fence [between Israel and] the Gaza Strip, and will handle the events from the perspective of Israel's might and national security. Accordingly, the IDF is making the necessary preparations and bringing in the reinforcements necessary to handle any possible development.

The Palestinians' previous thuggish and violent marches and protests did not succeed, did not yield international solidarity with the Palestinians, and did not help [improve] the internal [Palestinian] situation by directing the Palestinian anger towards Israel... Israel's concern is that these marches may target [its territory], leading to escalation [of the violence] and to the launching of a larger and more violent operation on May 15, when America's 'Deal of the Century' [is to be revealed] and its decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem [is to be implemented].

"The IDF may use protest-dispersal means, such as airdropping flyers, shooting in the air and shooting tear-gas canisters in order to keep the marchers from reaching the border zone. The use of force by the IDF cannot be ruled out if [the protesters] try to closely approach the Israel-Gaza border, and then every kind of response may ensue.

"Any Palestinian proposal is doomed to fail, after President Trump took the courageous and correct decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and to transfer of the U.S. embassy there, and announced the Deal of the Century, to end the eternal conflict between the state of Israel and the unceasing Palestinian stubbornness... [He did this] because Israel-U.S. relations are strategic and have cultural depth, so the U.S. will never conceivably give up [its support for] Israel, which is its foremost ally. The occasional disagreements between them are short-lived and confined to specific opinions and views. Israel serves the broad American plan, and the disagreements between them are negligible.

"Since December 6, 2017, when President Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and launched [the process of] moving the U.S. Embassy there, the Palestinian protests have remained very minor, and, according to current assessments, are dwindling to nothing. The Palestinian Authority6 called for protests, but it does not want violent protests. Hamas, on the other hand, tried to exploit this call [for protests] to spark a third intifada, but its efforts were in vain."[7]

Hamas Is A Terror Organization

In November 2011 Al-Hadlaq defended Israel's attacks in Gaza in response to the firing of rockets into its territory. He wrote that the "terrorist" Hamas was firing rockets on innocent Israelis and had started a conflict with Israel that it could finish, and that Israel had a right to defend itself: " "When terrorist organizations, including Hamas, fire mortars and rockets from the Gaza strip on cities in the Israeli south and kill innocent women and children, the misleading media call it 'resistance' or 'refusal' or 'jihad operations,' but when Israel attacks these organizations' military and security installations inside the Gaza Strip in order to stop this terroristic firing of mortars and rockets, the media call Israel's self-defense 'aggression.' These media outlets continue to discriminate and to call things by false names. They call the Israeli victims 'casualties' while Palestinian victims in the Gaza Strip are called 'martyrs.' These media outlets do not hesitate to deceive when they call Hamas's attacks on innocent civilians in Israel's southern cities 'a right of the Palestinian resistance and jihad movements,' while calling Israel's defense of its people 'the Israeli occupation army's aggression towards Gaza.'

"The terrorist group Hamas has started a confrontation with the Israeli army that it cannot end. After they process the horror of the Israeli response, the Hamas leaders will say what the Persian terrorist, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, said: If I knew the Israeli response would be this severe, I would not have provoked it."[8]

Stop Funding For Racist UNRWA Until It Dwindles And Dies

In a January 10, 2018 article Al-Hadlaq slammed the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), calling it a "biased and racist organization" that "perpetuates the problem of the 'Palestinian' refugees," that succumbs to Hamas's dictates. He supported the criticism voiced by U.S. President Donald Trump about UNRWA, and called to stop all funding and aid to this organization until it crumbled and disappeared. He wrote: "Everybody agrees with the harsh [but] reasonable criticism leveled by U.S. President Donald Trump at UNRWA, for it is a biased and racist organization that perpetuates the problem of the 'Palestinian'[9] refugees and the narrative of the so-called right of return, an organization whose role is apparently to work towards the destruction of the state of Israel. Hence, the U.N. should stop funding this organization until it crumbles and disappears.

"On January 5, 2018, a few days after President Trump threatened to stop future aid to the 'Palestinians', the U.S. froze $125 million in funding for UNRWA... and announced that the funding would not be renewed until the Palestinians stopped being stubborn and resumed negotiations with Israel... [It should be noted that] the U.S. grants $300 million annually to the U.N. Refugee Agency.

"The terrorist Hamas movement, which supports the Persian Iranian regime, rejected [UNRWA's] curricula on human rights.[10] This caused a grave crisis between the Hamas government and UNRWA, following which the latter suspended these curricula in its Gaza schools... Hamas's complaint was that these curricula address everyone's human rights, including those of the Jewish and Israeli people, and contravene the culture and rights of the 'Palestinian' people. There are no signs on the horizon of any solution for this broad crisis that developed between the terrorist Hamas government... and UNRWA...

"Therefore, all forms of financial aid and international funding for UNRWA must stop, as long as it [continues] subjecting its decisions to the methodology of terror, exclusion, racism and lack of consideration for the rights of other peoples, namely to the methodology of the Persian Hamas movement that controls Gaza, which [Hamas] imposes upon the UNRWA curricula and schools."[11]

Against The Palestinian Authority

Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas Must Stop The Incitement To Hatred And Condemn The Attacks On Israelis.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has also been a target of Al-Hadlaq's criticism. On October 18, 2019 he harshly condemned the "Palestinian knife terrorism" and the "incitement" by Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas. Israel, he stated, has the right to defend itself and also to kill the Palestinian assailants, even if they are women and children. He wrote: "Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas must stop the incitement to hatred and condemn the attacks targeting Israelis. [He must do] this given the upsurge in stabbing incidents against Israelis in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities.

"As Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said, the Palestinian knife terrorism will not vanquish Israel.

"In view of the intensification of the crimes carried out by the Palestinians - their knife terrorism against Israeli soldiers and attempts to seize their weapons, as well as crimes against innocent civilians - Israel has a right to defend itself and kill the Palestinian terrorists, whatever their age, whether they are children, adolescents, men, or women.

"It is embarrassing that the international community remains silent, like the dead, in confronting Palestinian crimes against Israelis, the continued series of stabbings against them, and the escalation of Palestinian knife terrorism. This same international community denies Israel's legitimate right to defend itself, its people, and its citizens.

"The State of Israel will continue to exist, and the Palestinian knife terrorism will not frighten it; the scattered Palestinian refugee camps are temporary. [This is because] despite the international community's negligence [in that it does not] support Israel's [right] to defend itself, its people, and its army, we are talking about the Palestinian lie versus the clear, open, Israeli truth.

"Thus, the Israeli truth will win, although only a few support it, and the Palestinian lie will be defeated, even though many applaud it."[12]

In Support Of Israel And Of An Arab Alliance With It

In Favor Of Moving The U.S. Embassy To Jerusalem

Al-Hadlaq has expressed support for Israel and for the Trump administration's Middle East policy. In a January 28, 2017 article, he called on Trump to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem since this would have many advantages. He summed up his position by saying: "Wise and intelligent diplomats, politicians and pundits are telling Trump, who is reluctant to move the embassy to Jerusalem: 'Be brave, move it to Jerusalem and trust in God."[13]

Israel Is Not an Occupier But a Legitimate State Of A People That Has Come Back To Its Historic Homeland

In a November 19, 2017 interview on the Kuwaiti Al-Rai TV channel, Al-Hadlaq said that Israel is not an occupier but an independent state of "a people returning to its promised land," noting that in 1948, when Israel was founded, there had been no state of Palestine. He called for "the establishment of a three-way alliance, consisting of Israel, the Arab Gulf states and America, in order to annihilate Hizbullah."

To view a MEMRI TV clip of his statements, click below:

The 2010 Gaza Flotilla Had Terroristic Intentions; Israel Had The Right To Defend Itself

In a June 3, 2010 article, Al-Hadlaq defended Israel's decision to stop the flotilla headed for Gaza, noting that the organizers of the flotilla were known to have ties with regional and global terrorist organizations and that its participants had planned from the outset to clash with the Israeli soldiers. He wrote: "The Israeli navy gave repeated warnings to the ships [of the flotilla], which tried to break the blockade on the terroristic Hamas movement in Gaza, and also invited them to enter the Ashdod port and unload their cargo of 'aid' supplies, so it could be thoroughly examined by the security [forces] before being delivered by land to the Gaza Strip. When the flotilla failed to heed these warnings and requests, the Israeli navy had no choice but to take over the ships. [In doing so], the IDF troops encountered violent [opposition] that had been planned in advance: the flotilla participants assaulted them with firearms, metal pipes, knives and clubs, and grabbed the rifle of one of the soldiers. The weapons had clearly been prepared in advance... and the soldiers had no choice but to respond, including with live fire.

"The Israeli navy operation was conducted according to orders and instructions of the highest political echelons, [and aimed at] stopping the ships and keeping them from breaching the naval blockade and reaching Gaza. The warning message sent by the Israeli navy [to the Mavi Marmara] was as follows: 'To the captain of the [Mavi] Marmara: You are approaching an area of hostilities, which is under a naval blockade. The Gaza coastal area and Gaza Harbor are closed to maritime traffic. We invite you to enter the Ashdod port, from whence the aid supplies will be delivered through the formal land crossing [to Gaza], after which you can return to your home ports."[14] It should be noted that, according to the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel retains control of a 40-kilometer strip of water off the Gaza coast.

"The flotilla, which was supported by the terroristic Hamas movement and tried to breach the blockade on this movement in Gaza, was a preplanned provocation against Israel. The grave outcome [of the takeover] was in direct proportion to the violence [employed by the flotilla activists] as they tried [to breach the blockade]. The [flotilla] organizers are supporters of movements and organizations such as [global] Jihad, Hamas, Hizbullah and Al-Qaeda, and have a black record in terms of smuggling arms and [perpetrating] terror operations. And indeed, the Israeli forces discovered on the ships weapons and ammunition that had been prepared in advance.

"The naval blockade on the Hamas movement in Gaza is legal in light of this movement's actions in the Strip. Had Israel allowed the flotilla – which was not legal – to reach the Hamas movement, it would have opened a route for smuggling weapons and terrorists into the Gaza Strip. No sovereign country would allow its citizens or its sovereignty to be harmed. Moreover, the attempt to force a path to Gaza by sea does not [really] benefit the people of Gaza, since the land crossings are sufficient for [the purpose of] supplying their needs. International aid organizations provide Gaza with all the necessary food, clothing and medical [supplies]. Over 15,000 tons of basic aid supplies enter the Strip every week. Construction materials enter it under the supervision of international organizations, in order to prevent the terroristic Hamas movement from commandeering them and using them for building military fortifications. The land crossings are the most efficient way to deliver supplies to Gaza, and the flotilla organizers know this perfectly well. They also know that since December 2008, their ships are not allowed to approach [the Gaza coast].

"The protests and demonstrations that broke out in various capitals are without meaning or value, as are the emergency summits [convened by] the Arab League, the E.U. and the U.N. The wave of protests will not change a thing, but a full and immediate investigation of the events will reveal all the details of what really happened... and [then] everyone will know the truth about the Hamas movement..."[15]


[1] Al-Nahar (Kuwait), March 20, 2019.

[2] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2319, Arab Media Publishes Blacklist of Writers, April 27, 2009.

[3] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No.6292, Writers In Gulf Press: Removal Of Sanctions Will Make It Easier For Iran To Keep Funding Terror, And Will Facilitate Its Plans To Harm Other Countries, February 5, 2016.

Writers In Gulf Press: Removal Of Sanctions Will Make It Easier For Iran To Keep Funding Terror, And Will Facilitate Its Plans To Harm Other Countries

[4] A play on the term "Rule of the Jurisprudent."

[5] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No.6132, Kuwaiti Columnist: The Gulf States' Real Enemy Is Iran; Israel Is A Friendly Country,

August 12, 2015.

[6] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 635, Concerns in Kuwait, Gulf over Iranian Threat to Gulf States, September 8, 2010.

[8] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5061, Arab Columnists Criticize Firing Of Rockets From Gaza As Reckless Escapade Serving Iran, Not Palestinians, November 20, 2012.

Arab Columnists Criticize Firing Of Rockets From Gaza As Reckless Escapade Serving Iran, Not Palestinians

[9] The word Palestinian appears in quote marks throughout Al-Hadlaq's article.

[10] In February 2014, Hamas stopped UNRWA from introducing a human rights curriculum in it schools, on the grounds that this was intended to brainwash the students and cause them to abhor resistance. See e.g., Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), February 14, 2014.

[11] Special Dispatch No.7280, Kuwaiti Columnist: Stop Funding For Racist UNRWA Until It Dwindles And Dies, January 15, 2018.

[13] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 635, Concerns in Kuwait, Gulf over Iranian Threat to Gulf States, September 8, 2010.

[14] The full message of the Israeli navy was as follows: "You are approaching an area of hostilities, which is under a naval blockade. Gaza coastal area and Gaza Harbor are closed to maritime traffic. The Israeli government supports delivery of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in Gaza Strip and invites you to enter Ashdod port. Delivery of supplies will be in accordance with the authorities' regulations and through the formal land crossing to Gaza and under your observation, after which you can return to your home ports." The reply was: "Negative, negative. Our destination is Gaza."

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