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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03KUWAIT1215
2003-04-02 14:21:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION, APRIL 2: WAR IN IRAQ; ARAB

Tags:   KU  KDMR 
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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 001215 

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, APRIL 2: WAR IN IRAQ; ARAB
MEDIA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 001215

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, APRIL 2: WAR IN IRAQ; ARAB
MEDIA


1. SUMMARY: Commentators call for moderation of the
Kuwaiti rhetoric denouncing other Arab states that has
dominated opinion over the last week, appealing to feelings
of Pan-Arabism. However, frustrations remain keen, with
reports that the Kuwaiti government has decided not to fund
the Al-Arabiya station to protest what they perceive as the
channel's biased coverage of the war. One commentator
laments: "Arabism is more a daily curse than a way of life."

Support for the war remains high despite perceptions that
the war is not going according to plan. One disillusioned
commentator writes: "It is completely different from the war
to liberate Iraq." Radical Islamist Mohammad al-Mulaifi
outlines how US forces may be defeated in Baghdad after "the
failure of the shock and awe campaign." In response to Iraqi
regime promises of more suicide attacks, Kuwaiti Muslim
scholars declare that defending the Baath regime is not
Jihad, and that suicide bombers for the regime are not
martyrs. END SUMMARY.


2. News Stories: Informed sources told Al-Qabas that
Kuwait has decided not to provide funding for the Arabic
satellite news channel Al-Arabiya to protest the channel's
coverage of the war in Iraq. The UAE and Saudi Arabia, and
Lebanese Prime Minister Al-Hariri currently fund Al-Arabiya.

All newspapers report the Dean of the College of Sharia and
Islamic Affairs, Dr. Mohammed Al-Tabtabaie's statement that,
"Fighting for the Iraqi Baath Party is not Jihad."
Secretary-General of the Shiite Scholars in Kuwait, Mohammed

SIPDIS
Baqer Al-Mahri, declares that suicide bombers defending
Saddam Hussein and his regime are not martyrs, all
newspapers report.

Al-Qabas reports that Kuwaiti (Islamic) charity
organizations are collecting donations for the Iraqi people
to be administered under the Joint Kuwaiti Relief Committee,
headed by Tareq Al-Essa, Chairman of the Kuwaiti Revival of
Islamic Heritage Committee [The Afghan and Pakistani
branches of the Committee were identified as providing
financial support for terrorism in January 2003].

On March 31, all Arabic and English dailies carried

extensive coverage of an Embassy-organized press briefing by
USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) experts on
humanitarian aid to Iraq.

All newspapers front-page the attack by an Egyptian who
drove a truck into a group of American soldiers outside Al-
Udairi camp in Kuwait, injuring between 10-15 soldiers, on
March 30.

A water pipeline from Kuwait to Umm Qasr was inaugurated on
March 30, all newspapers report. The pipeline will provide
Iraqis with 2,700,000 liters of clean drinking water per
day.

All newspapers report Kuwait's expulsion of the Libyan
Charge d'Affaires to protest the lack of serious action by
the Libyan government following the attack on the Kuwaiti
embassy in Tripoli.

All newspapers report that on March 30 the Kuwaiti stock
exchange reached its highest level since 1997.

Editorials:


3. "Are the Arabs With Us or Against Us?"
Liberal Kuwait University Political Science Professor, Dr.
Ahmad Al-Baghdadi, wrote in independent Al-Seyassah (3/31):
"Whether we like it or not, we will never belong to the
Western world, either in intellectual or religious
identification. Kuwaitis are Arabs. Yet, Arabism is more a
daily curse than a way of life. Arabs are psychologically,
militarily, culturally, and scientifically incapable of
confronting Israel, therefore, they attack America. Arabs
are also incapable of deterring America's just war against
the criminal Iraqi regime, therefore, they attack Kuwait
knowing fully that it is not the only country offering
assistance to the United States. We would accept this [Arab
position] if it was peaceful, because freedom of expression
is a right. Yet, attacking our children and our institutions
similar to what happened in Libya, Lebanon and Jordan is
proof of Arab barbarianism that is incapable of
civilization. We should call for the withdrawal of our
Ambassadors, and the end of financial aid to any regime that
aggresses against us."


4. Liberal Editor-in-Chief of Al-Qabas, Waleed Al-Nesf,
wrote (4/1): "In these difficult times, voices are calling
to suspend our diplomatic relations with and to ban
financial assistance to some Arab nations. Kuwait's higher
interests call for careful deliberation of any decision. We
do not offer assistance to the needy in order to gain their
political support. Our relations are based on the belief
that we are an Arab country that belongs to the Arab Nation.
We have to maintain our principles despite the psychological
pressure [on us]."


5. "Not with America and Not Against Iraq"
Jaber Al-Hajiri wrote in independent Al-Qabas (4/1): "The US
and Kuwait's interests may be intertwined, but permanent
[shared] interests with a superpower are not possible in
today's world. Therefore, we should not fully throw our
weight behind the US because we are not against Iraq as a
nation or people, and we are also not with America with all
its faces."


6. "Discrepancies Between the Allies"
Conservative Dr. Sami Khalifa wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-
Aam (3/30): "[I]t appears that the British are more
sensitive to the people in the region. British Prime
Minister Blair adopted the `Road Map' plan at the same time
as the start of the war. Moreover, the British MP [Jack]
Straw admitted that the West practices double standards
towards Iraq and Israel. These two examples indicate to us
that Britain's way of dealing with the war. is different
from the American way. It also proves that the US disregards
the values of the people in the region where arrogance has
become an American characteristic."


7. "Ahmad Saeed's Satellite Channel"
[Ahmad Saeed is an Egyptian newscaster who announced during
the 1967 Arab-Israeli war that Arab forces shot down 300
Israeli fighter planes]
Liberal, prominent lawyer Hassan Al-Essa wrote in
independent Al-Qabas (4/2): "It was a wise decision by the
Ministry of Information to give a warning to Al-Arabiya
satellite channel. This satellite channel was established to
compete with Al-Jazeera. and broadcasts radical statements
about the war on Iraq. Such satellite channels are copies of
Ahmad Saeed's microphone and reminds us of the illusions of
victory during the 1967 war."


8. "The Worst-Case Scenario After the Failure of the `Shock
and Awe' Campaign"
Radical Islamist Mohammad Al-Mulaifi wrote in independent Al-
Seyassah (4/2): "Two weeks after the war campaign on Iraq,
one can conclude that the American military strategy has
failed because Saddam's troops are still absorbing the
strikes. In this situation, we will witness the worst-case
scenario of fighting inside Baghdad. American forces may
lose the battle for many reasons: 1) Iraqis in Baghdad know
their land and environment very well; 2) the fighting in
Baghdad will be measured by meters, not kilometers, and each
meter may cost the life of soldiers; and 3) the American
army may face a situation similar to what the Israelis faced
in Lebanon, meaning suicide attacks on their troops."


9. "It is a Different War"
Ahmad Al-Dayeen, former Secretary-General of the Kuwait
Democratic Forum, wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (4/2):
"It was supposed to be a swift war. but the war is going
into its third week. It was supposed to avoid civilians, but
they were the victims. The war was supposed to take into
consideration the role of the opposition parties, but they
have been totally ignored. A coup was expected by one of
Saddam's aids, but this day never came. They called it `the
freedom of Iraq' war, but the first thing they did was to
raise the American flag in Umm Qasr. This war is a different
war. It is completely different from the war to liberate
Iraq."


JONES