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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03KUWAIT1308 2003-04-08 15:47:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION, APRIL 7: WAR IN IRAQ

Tags:   KU KDMR 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 001308 

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 7: WAR IN IRAQ

SUMMARY: SUBJECT: KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION, APRIL 7: WAR IN
IRAQ

SUMMARY: Despite the anger at Arab media portrayals of the
war, on commentator writes that the televised image of
American soldiers retreating from Al-Najaf when faced with a
mob believing erroneously that the troops were heading to
occupy the mosque is a positive example of US respect for
Muslims, and an expression of "democracy" by the Iraqi
people. Another accuses the US of conducting a "scorched
earth policy" in the campaign in Iraq by deliberately
targeting Iraq's infrastructure.

Reportage on the war has a pronounced pro-coalition tone.
Photos of smiling Iraqis greetings coalition forces and of a
US soldier holding an Iraqi child appear in a number of
dailies. Banner headlines announce the entry of US troops
into Baghdad, proclaiming, "Liberation Comes Calling" and
"End of the Age of the Palace... Beginning of A New Era."

One commentator believes that Arab anger at the US is
justified, but that demonstrating in support of Iraq is
against the interests of the Iraqi people and "only serves
the current Iraqi regime and the coming American military
presence." In an op/ed entitled "Whom To Believe?" a writer
points out the differing opinions on the role of the UN in
post-war Iraq expressed in recent British and US statements.
END SUMMARY.



1. Despite the anger at Arab media portrayals of the war,
one commentator writes that the televised image of American
soldiers retreating from Al-Najaf when faced with a mob that
mistakenly believed the troops were heading to occupy the
mosque is a positive example of US respect for Muslims.
Another accuses the US of conducting a "scorched earth
policy" in the campaign in Iraq by deliberately targeting
Iraq's infrastructure.

One commentator believes that Arab anger at the US is
justified, but that demonstrating in support of Iraq is
against the interests of the Iraqi people and "only serves
the current Iraqi regime and the coming American military
presence."

In an op/ed entitled "Who To Believe?" a writer points out
the differing opinions on the role of the UN in post-war
Iraq expressed in recent British and US statements. END
SUMMARY.



2. News Stories: A senior American official told Al-Rai Al-
Aam that American interrogators ask all Iraqi POWs about the
whereabouts of Kuwaiti POWs.

All newspapers report on April 7 that the Criminal Court has
begun deliberation on the case of Sami Al-Mutairi, the man
who confessed to killing an American civilian contractor in
an ambush on January 21.

Kuwait has sent 32 trucks to Al-Najaf loaded with 18,000
cartons of water, 121,000 meals, 10,000 blankets and
medicine supplies as part of Kuwaiti humanitarian assistance
to the Iraqi people, all newspapers report.

Al-Watan reports that a number of Kuwaiti families prepared
packages filled with chocolate, sweets and non-food supplies
to be presented to American soldiers in Iraq.

Al-Qabas reports that Kuwait invited GCC foreign ministers
for an emergency meeting in Kuwait on April 7 to discuss
developments in the region.

Al-Qabas reports on April 6 that the Kuwait stock exchange
has reached record levels for the second time this week.

Al-Rai Al-Aam reports on its front page on April 6 the
denial by Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmad of rumors of the
death of the Amir.

Editorials:



3. "The People of Al-Najaf Defeated America"
Abdelatif Al-Duaij wrote in independent Al-Qabas (4/5):
"The image of American soldiers retreating from Al-Najaf
must remain in the Arab and Muslim memory. The people of Al-
Najaf practiced their right of rejection that led the
American forces to retreat in respect of the people's will.
Later, the people of Al-Najaf welcomed the American forces
when they realized that they were not against the Iraqis,
but rather are there to confront the tyrant. This is
democracy. The people of Al-Najaf did not throw stones at
the Americans, and the Americans did not fire a bullet. The
American soldiers expressed their respect for the holy
sites. [W]hen will the Arabs defend their holy sites,
instead of defending their dictators?"



4. Conservative Dr. Sami Khalifa wrote in independent Al-
Rai Al-Aam (4/5): "In light of the marginalization of the
Iraqi opposition, the targeting of Iraq's infrastructure and
the suffering of the Iraqi people. [w]e have no other choice
but to ally ourselves with the other Arab and Muslim nations
to condemn American insensitivity for practicing this
scorched earth policy before toppling the Iraqi regime."



5. "Who to Believe?"
Ahmad Al-Dayeen wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (4/6):
"[British Prime Minister] Blair stated that the UN will play
a major role in the reconstruction of Iraq, while we heard
the Deputy US Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz state that
the UN could play the role of facilitator. [W]e notice that
there is a discrepancy between the two countries, and that
leads me to wonder who to believe?"



6. "A Peaceful Word in a Boiling Street"
Editor-in-Chief, Jassim Boodai, wrote in independent Al-Rai
Al-Aam (4/3): "Arabs and Muslims have the right to
demonstrate against the strikes on Iraqi civilians and
against American double-standard policies. The Arab Street
has the right to refuse to believe the Americans who started
their campaign by eliminating Iraq's WMDs, and proceeded to
develop their goals to eliminate the Iraqi regime, then to
remove national governance of Iraq after toppling the regime
and replacing it with an American military governor. The
American's final step is to obliterate all maps of the
region by announcing the planning of a new Middle East. The
turmoil in the seething of the Arab Streets is justified,
but the split of tracks between reality and slogans only
serves the US in the long run. We have to say a peaceful
word to a boiling street. Help the Iraqis and do not help
their regime. Help the Iraqis establish a democratic
national system free of WMDs and foreign military presence.
As for what is taking place now, it only serves the current
Iraqi regime and the coming American military presence."



7. "When Will Al-Sahaf Admit Defeat?"
Lawyer Jamal Al-Kandari wrote in independent Al-Watan (4/6):
"Today's war is different from previous wars. Television
correspondents today are in the heart of the battlefield.
They monitor and report every movement of the [American]
army. [Iraqi Minister of Information] Al-Sahaf denies much
of this news. When the coalition forces took Umm Qasr, he
stated that the city is resisting. The same scenario
happened in Al-Basra and other cities and places. Al-Sahaf
will continue his denials and lies until the day the
[coalition] forces reach him and take him to Guantanamo
Bay."


JONES