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Cablegate: Kuwait Media Reaction, August 4-10: Guantanamo

Published: Tue 12 Aug 2003 11:23 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 003703
SIPDIS
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, NEA/ARP, NEA/PPD, PA, INR/NESA,
IIP/G/NEA-SA, INR/B
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH, PARIS FOR O'FRIEL
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA
CINCCENT FOR CCPA
USDOC FOR 4520/ANESA/ONE/FITZGERALD-WILKS
USDOC FOR ITA AND PTO/OLIA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KU JO IS KPAL KDMR
SUBJECT: KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION, AUGUST 4-10: GUANTANAMO
DETAINEES, IRAQI GOVERNING COUNCIL, ABU MAZEN VISIT TO
KUWAIT, IRAQI-KUWAITI RELATIONS, CURRICULUM REFORM
1. SUMMARY: Kuwaiti officials reportedly postponed a
scheduled trip by Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas
to Kuwait this week over Palestinian "hesitation" to condemn
the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. One commentator
writes, "It is not acceptable to consider the occupation of
Kuwait legitimate, while Israel's occupation of Palestine is
illegitimate."
One liberal writer chastises Islamist MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaie
for his statement published earlier in the week that US
treatment of Guantanamo detainees is the same as that of
Kuwaiti POWs at the hands of Saddam's regime. There is
hopeful support for the Iraqi Governing Council, and
derision for the Arab League and its refusal to recognize
the Council or send troops as part of a stabilization force.
In a newspaper interview, an Assistant Undersecretary at the
Ministry of Education denies foreign pressure for
educational curriculum reform. One commentator feels Iraq
and Kuwait share mutual economic interests beyond their
"brotherly relations." END SUMMARY.
2. News Stories: On August 10, Al-Rai Al-Aam reports that
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas may begin a trip to
Kuwait "soon" after resolving the issue of condemning the
Iraqi invasion to Kuwait. Earlier in the week, all papers
reported comments by Prime Minister Sheikh Sabab Al-Ahmad
that a proposed visit by Abbas was postponed over
Palestinian hesitation to apologize for their support of the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
All papers report "anti-Kuwait riots" in southern Iraq in
which Kuwaiti vehicles were attacked amid allegations of
Kuwaiti smuggling of Iraqi oil.
Al-Qabas published an interview on August 10 with Assistant
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education Ms. Noriyah Al-
Subeih in which she strongly denies that there is "foreign
pressure" to change the Kuwaiti curriculum, and that "some
Muslims have a wrong interpretation of Jihad" which leads to
extremism.
Al-Qabas reports that according to an Iraqi newspaper,
Kuwait has agreed to forgive 75% of Iraq Airways debt,
estimated at US$600 million, and to present two commercial
planes to the airlines once approval is received from the
Iraqi Interim Governing Council.
Editorials:
3. "The Most Courageous Decision for Sabah Al-Ahmad"
Abdelamir Al-Turki wrote in independent Al-Seyassah (8/10):
"When Kuwait asks the Palestinian Authority to apologize for
its support of the Iraqi invasion in 1990, it is in fact
supporting the Palestinian Authority and its people who are
suffering under the Israeli occupation. This is how the
Kuwaiti position must be understood. We demand an apology
from the Palestinian Authority. [I]t is not acceptable to
consider the occupation of Kuwait legitimate, while Israel's
occupation of Palestine is illegitimate. This is the core of
rejecting the visit of Abu Mazen to Kuwait."
4. "The POWs Belong to Al-Qaeda- They Are Not Ours"
Liberal Abdellatif Al-Duaij wrote in independent Al-Qabas
(8/6): "Whether we like it or not, it remains the
responsibility of the Kuwaiti government to work for the
release of the Kuwaiti detainees at Guantanamo. However,
many people still insist that they are our POWs while in
fact, they are the POWs of the Al-Qaeda organization. They
cannot be considered on the same level with our POWs in
Iraq."
5. "MP Waleed, You Should Not Say That"
Talal Al-Arab wrote in independent Al-Qabas (8/10): "MP
Waleed Al-Tabtabaei accused America, the closest ally to
Kuwait, of treating the detainees in Guantanamo as Saddam
treated our POWs in Iraq. As far as I have heard, our
detainees in Guantanamo have the right to practice their
religion, get medical treatment and will receive some money
upon their release. As for Saddam, the fate of the prisoners
was execution in cold blood. We sympathize with the
detainees in Guantanamo and we wish that the US would offer
them fair trail, or just release them, but at the same time,
we do not blame America for detaining them. What brought
those people to Afghanistan? Were they doing charity work.?"
6. "The Difference is in the Method"
Bader Bin Issa wrote in independent Al-Seyassah (8/10):
"America's determination to continue the detention of 650
human beings in Guantanamo, treating them in an inhumane way
for over one and a half years. without any legitimate
accusation, is similar to what Saddam Hussein did with
Kuwaiti POWs. Saddam executed Kuwaiti POWs without putting
them on trial, and as for the US, it will execute them after
they are put on trial. The result is the same, but method is
different."
7. Abdelmohsen Jamal wrote in independent Al-Qabas (8/7):
"The formation of the Iraqi Transitional Ruling Council will
prepare the Iraqis to deal with their new reality and
eventually accept the outcome of any democratic elections.
Although it seems to be difficult for some Arab political
regimes to understand this scenario. the Transitional Ruling
Council is the best way to deal with the complicated reality
that currently prevails in Iraq."
8. Saleh Al-Shayji wrote in independent Al-Anba (8/10):
"Arabs who objected to the liberation of Kuwait in 1991 are
the same people who are objecting to sending Arab peace
forces to maintain peace in Iraq. The Arab League,
influenced by a group of assassins and supporters of Saddam,
refused to recognize the Transitional Ruling Council in Iraq
or to send Arab peacekeeping forces to Iraq. Iraqis should
confront the Arab League because it does not deserve any
respect."
9. Saud Al-Samaka wrote in independent Al-Qabas (8/9):
"Iraq and the Iraqi people are lucky that the Arab League
refused to send Arab troops to Iraq. This will ensure that
Iraq is not infected by Arab security methods which are
based on stripping the dignity from humans."
10. "What Does Washington Want From Riyadh?"
Waleed Al-Ahamd wrote in independent Al-Anba' (8/4):
"President Bush realizes that there is no proof behind these
accusations [of Saudi government support of the 9/11
terrorists] but he cannot express his opinion freely without
deferring to the American policymakers who guarantee the
security of Israel."
11. "Not Just Brotherly Relations"
Former Secretary General of the Kuwait Democratic Forum
Ahmad Al-Dayeen wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (8/5):
"Iraq has and still needs Kuwait as a naval port and as a
commercial and financial center. Likewise, Kuwait needs Iraq
because oil will not remain a source of income indefinitely,
requiring Kuwait to assume a role as a commercial and
financial center in the region. There are common strategic
needs that will influence future relations between the two
countries."
JONES
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