Country Report on Terrorism 2020 - Chapter 1 - Kuwait


Overview: Kuwait is a major non-NATO ally, an active participant in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, a member of the Defeat-ISIS Coalition Small Group, and co-leads (with Turkey and the Netherlands) Defeat-ISIS’s Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Group. The Government of Kuwait has frequently participated in or conducted training programs to build counterterrorism and counterterrorism financing capabilities.

2020 Terrorist Incidents: There were no reported terrorist incidents in Kuwait in 2020.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Kuwaiti government officials participated in CT capacity-building workshops. Several of these were supported by the U.S. Department of State and implemented through the U.S. Department of Justice Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training program. In November Kuwait FIU participated in a virtual workshop on Understanding Money Laundering Crimes. In December the Kuwaiti anticorruption authority Nazaha participated in a virtual workshop on corruption, money-laundering crimes, and investigative techniques. Kuwait also concentrated on law enforcement and judicial capacity-building across a broad spectrum of government agencies.

In March the Court of Cassation, the country’s highest court, upheld the 10-year prison sentences of three Kuwaiti citizens and the two-year prison sentence of one Syrian national for joining ISIS and plotting to blow up mosques. In July, authorities arrested six individuals, including an Iranian national accused of participating in a money-laundering ring tied to Hizballah. In October the Court of Cassation upheld a sentence of life imprisonment for an Egyptian who had joined ISIS and was arrested in 2016 for attempting to kill five U.S. soldiers. In December, authorities arrested three Kuwaitis for possessing unlicensed weapons and promoting an “extremist ideology” connected to ISIS.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Kuwait is a member of MENAFATF. Its FIU, the Kuwaiti Financial Intelligence Unit, is a member of the Egmont Group. Kuwait is also a member of the Defeat-ISIS CIFG and the Riyadh-based TFTC.

In collaboration with other TFTC member states, in July, Kuwait sanctioned six individuals and entities affiliated with ISIS terror-support networks in the region. Kuwait is currently preparing its National Risk Assessment, which is one of the key requirements of FATF. The nation is scheduled to deliver its FATF Mutual Evaluation Report in 2022.

Countering Violent Extremism: As part of the government’s National Plan to Reinforce Moderation, the Ministry of Information continued to run a television channel with programming aimed at audiences believed to be at higher risk of radicalization to violence. The Kuwait Moderation Center, which operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Religious Endowments, continued a variety of programs designed to promote religious tolerance. The center also sponsored radio programs to promote tolerance among youth.

International and Regional Cooperation: As an active member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Small Group, Kuwait participated in ministerial-level meetings throughout the year. Kuwait is also an active member of the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition. As a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Kuwait continued its leading role in the effort to mediate the dispute between Qatar and other GCC members.