|03KUWAIT1001||2003-03-20 04:02:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Kuwait|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 001001
1. Summary: President Bush's call for Saddam Hussein and
his sons to leave Iraq within 48 hours was echoed by
Kuwait's National Assembly on March 18. Commentators point
out that the President's ultimatum reflects the proposal of
Oman's Sheikh Zayed for Saddam's exile, but that the time
for that option has passed.
While there are reportedly no plans to close Kuwait
International Airport, British Airways suspended all of its
flights in and out of Kuwait on March 18.
Characterizations of military action against Iraq as a war
of liberation "in order for the Iraqis to enjoy the wealth
of its nation," share the opinion pages with opposition to
such action. One commentator writes that US confidence does
not guarantee success, and that the US could be drawn into a
longer conflict, "similar to Israel's involvement in
Lebanon." Regarding the implications for the UN, another
writer opines: "the fate of the United Nations is similar to
that of the League of Nations, not because [the UN] failed
to deal with the Iraqi regime, but because Washington
decided to overstep its bounds under pressure from Christian-
Zionist radicals." End Summary.
2. News Stories: All papers report that Sheikh Sabah Al-
Ahmad, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign
Affairs, announced that Kuwait is ready to deal with all
contingencies in the event of war. He stressed that Kuwait
has ample supplies of gasoline, medicine, food and water.
On March 18, widely-read daily Al-Qabas reports that the
Kuwaiti National Assembly called for Saddam to step down.
Al-Rai Al-Aam front-pages GCC Secretary General Al-Atiyyah's
comment after his March 18 arrival in Kuwait that Saddam
should "make a brave decision" and leave Iraq.
Al-Watan carried on its front page a statement by Kuwait
Airways Director of Public Relations that there are no plans
to close Kuwait International Airport in the event of war.
All papers report that British Airways has halted its
flights to and from Kuwait until further notice.
Al-Qabas front-pages the Kuwaiti National Guard announcement
that it will deploy on Kuwait's streets and around vital
installations and in residential areas.
Al-Qabas carries an exclusive two-page interview with
Ambassador Richard Jones on March 19. Ambassador Jones said
the conflict could begin at any time after 4:15 a.m.
Thursday [Kuwait local time]- exactly 48 hours after the end
of President Bush's speech.
The Ministry of Interior said that unidentified persons
wrote graffiti against Kuwaiti State Security and slogans
calling for "death to America" in the Quortuba district of
Kuwait City, Al-Qabas reports.
Al-Rai Al-Aam reports that a former Russian General stated
that the US has deployed nuclear weapons to Kuwait.
3. "The Zero Hour is Approaching"
Dr. Shamlan Al-Essa wrote in independent Al-Seyassah (3/19):
"President Bush stressed that the goal of the war on Iraq is
to liberate the Iraqi people from the tyrant Saddam in order
for the Iraqis to enjoy the wealth and its nation. The US
and its allies will definitely win this war. Therefore, we
wish that Arab leaders would call on Saddam to convince him
to step down from power to avert this destructive war."
4. "The Opportunity Which The Arabs Lost"
Faisal Al-Qanai wrote in independent Al-Seyassah (3/19):
"The is no more chance for any peaceful solution, or any way
to stop the prospective war on Iraq after President Bush's
address to the nation. President Bush's ultimatum is a
translation of Shaikh Zayed's initiative [for Saddam to go
into exile], which the Arabs ignored during their summit in
5. "The Fate of the League of Nations"
Ahmad Al-Daeen wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (3/19):
"President Bush stated in his address: `The Security Council
did not carry out its responsibility, and that is why the US
will take action.' This statement was not a warning to
Saddam as much as it was to the United Nations. Today, the
fate of the United Nations is similar to that of the League
of Nations, not because [the UN] failed to deal with the
Iraqi regime, but because Washington decided to overstep its
bounds under pressure from Christian-Zionist radicals. The
problem now is that there is no alternative to the
6. "Let us Hope for the Best"
Salah Al-Fadhli wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (3/19):
"Preliminary indications show that America has the ability
to make its plans succeed, but history has shown us that
some things cannot be determined by force. America's entry
and its involvement in Iraq may be similar to Israel's
involvement in Lebanon. At this moment of time, we just pray
to God that innocent people will not be harmed and let us
hope for the best."
7. Whether the People Like it or Not"
Dr. Sami Nasser Khalifa wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-A'am
(3/19): "Washington does not only want to dominate Iraq
economically, but it is also striving to dominate the region
surrounding Iraq like Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf
countries. To implement this strategy, the US Administration
has to start in changing the Iraqi regime. [but] all the
countries in the region are targets for the White House's
greediness, whether the people like it or not."