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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03KUWAIT1048 2003-03-23 17:33:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION, MARCH 23: WAR IN IRAQ

Tags:   KU KDMR 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 001048 

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 KDMR
SUBJECT: KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION, MARCH 23: WAR IN IRAQ

REF: KUWAIT 00980



1. SUMMARY: An editorial encapsulates the conflicting
opinions on war with Iraq that have appeared for months in
the Kuwaiti press. The end of Saddam will be a good thing,
says the writer, but "we would have been more pleased to see
the Iraqi people take on this task to spare us the turmoil
of being part of frightening American plans." Prominent
radical Islamist and Al-Qaeda apologist Mohammad al-Mulaifi
(reftel) espouses no love of Saddam in his "religious
opinion" on the war-"We must pray the famous prayer of the
Prophet: `God destroy one tyrant with another'"- and goes on
to enumerate how America seeks to "establish hegemony over
the region."

There is criticism over reports of Kuwaiti troops entering
(and praying in) the border town of Umm Qasr--denied by the
Ministry of Defense. The raising of the American flag over
that city is seen as inflammatory.

Newspapers report that now that gas masks are available to
the public, demand is minimal, and that thirty thousand
expatriates have left Kuwait since March 18. A conspirator
in the killing of a US Marine on Failaka Island in October
2002 has been released on bail pending the final verdict. A
prominent liberal commentator bashes the GOK decision to
give female employees the week off, and the women who stayed
home, as detrimental to the fight for equal rights. END
SUMMARY.



1. News Stories: Dr. Mohammed Al-Tabtabaee, Dean of the
College of Sharia and Islamic Studies at Kuwait University,
called on the Kuwaiti people to combat the "Scuds of
Tyranny" with a strong faith in God, all newspapers report.

All newspapers carry Ministry of Defense spokesman, Colonel
Yousef Al-Mulla's denial of reports that Kuwaiti forces have
entered the Iraqi side of Umm Qasr, which straddles the
border.

Al-Qabas reports that the Chairman of the National Committee
for POW and the Missing Affairs, Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah, has
spoken to the American and British Ambassadors about the
importance of locating Kuwaiti POWs.

All newspapers report that many women came to work in
government offices on March 22 despite a decision by the
Civil Service Commission to allow them to take leave in
light of the current circumstances.

Al-Watan says a Kuwaiti Criminal Court released on 500
Kuwaiti Dinar's bail (approximately USD 1500) pending the
verdict one of the eight Kuwaitis accused of aiding the men
(killed at the scene) that carried out the October 2002
Failaka Island attack which left one US Marine dead.

The two cooperatives (grocery stores) that began selling gas
masks to the public on March 22 report only minimal sales of
sixty and ten masks respectively, according to Al-Qabas and
Al-Rai Al-Aam.

Approximately 30,000 expatriates and 4,000 Kuwaitis have
left the country since last Tuesday, according to Al-Qabas.

All newspapers report that Kuwait Airways has announced that
they will fly only between the hours of 7a.m. and sunset,
and that they have temporarily suspended flights to the
United States, Europe, Iran, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

A Kuwaiti source reported that a plane from the World Food
Program carrying 50 tons of food aid for the Iraqi people
landed in Kuwait on the evening of March 22.

All newspapers report on their front pages that the Kuwaiti
Cabinet decided to establish a health center run by the
Kuwaiti Red Crescent on the Iraqi side of the border to
treat Iraqi casualties.

Editorials:



1. "Improvised Decision"
Liberal Kuwait University Political Science Professor, Dr.
Shamlan Al-Essa wrote in independent Al-Seyassah (3/23):
"It is very obvious that the decision [to grant women
government employees the week off] has been made to satisfy
the political Islamist groups in Kuwait. The justification
that women were granted leave to take care of their children
at home during this time is not true simply because maids
are the ones who take care of our children. We are very
proud of some of Kuwait's women who are working today with
the allied forces as interpreters or with the international
press. If Kuwaiti women want to be equal to men in all their
rights, they must depend on themselves and report to duty
just as men do, instead of staying at home to watch the war
on television."



2. Islamist Mohammad Al-Mulaifi, Director of Information at
the Ministry of Awqaf and Social Affairs, wrote in
independent Al-Seyassah (3/23): "There is no doubt that
America's success in controlling Iraq and its oil will
revive the American economy, which will contribute to the
President Bush's chances for re-election... He who controls
this region, controls the world economy... Some may wonder,
what is the legal religious opinion with regards to what is
happening in Iraq? I say: [Saddam] is a criminal Baathist
infidel and God has empowered a worse criminal infidel over
him... We must pray the famous prayer of the Prophet: "God
destroy one tyrant through another..." The most important
goals of the American war on Iraq could be summarized in
five points: 1) regain its dignity which was lost following
September 11 and make up for its inability to arrest Al-
Qaeda leaders; 2) dominate Iraq's oil reserves; 3) establish
hegemony over the region by imposing an American military
presence in Iraq; 4) set a precedent for imposing change
from the outside, and pass it off as acceptable and
something that can be repeated in either Syria, Saudi Arabia
or Iran; 5) remove a rebellious regime that refuses to be
fully part of the American system."



3. Khalid Al-Mutairi wrote in independent Al-Seyassah
(3/23): "Some Kuwaiti soldiers held the evening prayers in
the city of Umm Qasr in Iraq. My question to them is who
ever gave you the authority to enter that city? Did you take
permission from any member of the Iraqi opposition to enter
Umm Qasr and pray in it? If the answer is `no,' allow me to
apologize to our Iraqi brothers for such behavior from those
who act before they think."



4. Khalid Al-Mutairi also wrote in independent Al-Seyassah
(3/23): "The American soldier who raised the American flag
over Umm Qasr does not realize the big mistake he committed
in this war. Such a mistake should not have happened. For
those who will argue that this is but a small error, we
remind them that World War II started with a single bullet."



5. "His Intentions Have Been Revealed"
Liberal Secretary-General of the Kuwait Journalists
Association, Faisal Al-Qanai wrote in independent Al-
Seyassah (3/23): "The missiles which the Iraqi regime
launched against Kuwait proved to the international
community the real aggressive intensions against Kuwait.
The Iraqi missiles reached Kuwait before a single bullet was
fired from Kuwait. Therefore, Kuwait has the right to
respond to any aggression and to demand that France, China
and Russia act on the security agreements they have signed
with Kuwait."



6. "The Opportunism of the Muslim Turks"
Liberal Abdullatif Al-Duaij wrote in independent Al-Qabas
(3/23): "There are no other words to describe the Turkish
position except opportunistic and aggressive. The Turks,
under their Muslim leadership, refused to support the
liberation of Iraq in return for European aid from France
and Germany. This is cheap opportunism and immoral and
unjustifiable aggression by the Turkish State... The Turks
themselves have entered Iraqi land as invaders and not
liberators. How is it acceptable for superior Muslim states
to take over the land of weak Muslims, but not the right of
foreigners to do the same?"



7. "Mixed Feelings"
Salah Al-Fadli wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (3/23):
"I experience mixed feelings when I watch the war on
television. I feel uncomfortable watching foreign forces
entering an Islamic country and for seeing an Arab capital
being bombarded. This is especially true when one realizes
that the American goal... is to gain full control of the
world and not to help the Iraqi people... On the other hand,
when one realizes that this war is the only means of
toppling this criminal regime, this is a source of joy. It
is true that we will be joyful to see Saddam's regime
toppled, but we would have been more pleased to see the
Iraqi people take on this task to prevent us the turmoil of
being part of frightening American plans."

JONES