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2003-06-26 19:21:00
Embassy Kuwait
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 002847 



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. SUMMARY: In widely reported remarks, an Islamist MP
lashes out at former Kuwait oil minister Sheikh Saud Al-
Sabah for the latter's establishment of a committee to
collect donations for the families of coalition soldiers
killed in Iraq. MP Busairi goes on to denounce normalization
of relations with Israel saying, "We reject reconciliation
with the traitorous Jews, the grandchildren of monkeys and
pigs." In reply, a liberal commentator writes: "Let us
together work to oust all candidates hostile to the United
States who are attempting to turn our country into a base
for the `New Taliban' and terrorists." A poll conducted by a
leading paper this week indicates that 90% of respondents
feel the government and National Assembly are corrupt, and
only 35% support political rights for women.

Al-Watan reports that letters of support for its editor-in-
chief, Mohammad Al-Jassim, who faces criminal charges for
criticizing the ruling family, were sent to Secretary of
State Colin Powell by prominent US institutions. The paper
also highlights the State Department Human Rights Report on
Kuwait. One writer believes that an American "Gulf Road Map"
will soon be announced to energize political and social
reform in the Gulf.

In an editorial titled "Between Disregard and Attention," a
liberal commentator writes that US neglect of Kuwait seems
to be ending with recent visits by General Tommy Franks and
Assistant Secretary of State William Burns. END SUMMARY.

2. News stories: This week, Al-Qabas and Kuwait University
conducted a poll of "Kuwaiti voters" on various issues, and
Al-Qabas published the results on their front pages this
week. According to the poll, 90% of respondents believe that
the government and the National Assembly are involved in
corruption; 65% oppose giving women the right to vote or to
stand for office; and 65% oppose the appointment of a woman
as a minister.

Sheikh Jaber Al-Duaij Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti Ambassador to
Saudi Arabia, denies local media reports that appeared
earlier in the week of scores of Kuwaitis being detained in
Saudi Arabia for links to Al-Qaeda, saying that no Kuwaiti
is in police custody in Saudi Arabia, Al-Rai Al-Aam reports.

Al-Seyassah and Al-Qabas ran a front-page advertisement this
week from the Kuwaiti Committee for Consoling the Families
of Coalition Forces who Lost their Lives while Liberating
Iraq, soliciting donations for the families of Coalition
soldiers killed in Iraq.

On June 25, Al-Watan reports on its front page that
according to the State Department's Annual Human Rights
Report, the Human Rights situation in 15 Middle Eastern
countries, including Kuwait, is "dangerous."

Al-Watan reports that the Chairman of the Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace and the Editor-in-Chief of Foreign
Policy magazine sent a joint letter to Secretary of State
Colin Powell expressing great concern over the Kuwaiti
government's decision to refer Mohammed Al-Jassim, editor-in-
chief of Al-Watan newspaper, to the Public Prosecutor.

Al- Watan and Al-Anba report that Islamist MP Mohammed Al-
Busairi stated in a public electoral seminar that "we reject
reconciliation with the traitorous Jews, the grandchildren
of monkeys and pigs," and that the new National Assembly
will announce a war on Islamists under the pretext of
combating terrorism.

On June 23, Al-Qabas reports that the Council of Ministers
is considering a strategy to "reform and upgrade" the
educational system in Kuwait.

On June 22, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Dr.
Mohammed Al-Sabah said that a new date for a visit by
President Bush to Kuwait will "be agreed upon by both
parties," Al-Rai Al-Aam reports.

All newspapers report on June 25 the one-day visit of
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
William Burns' to Kuwait.

3. "Why Saud Al-Sabah?"
Liberal Political Science Professor at Kuwait University,
Dr. Shamlan Al-Essa wrote in independent Al-Seyassah (6/24):
"Political Islamist groups in Kuwait continue to attack the
person of Sheikh Saud Naser Al-Sabah. [because] he is the
only member of the ruling family to have publicly stated.
that political Islamist groups pose the gravest danger to
Kuwait's future and that of the region. However, not one
Kuwaiti, or any of Kuwait's leaders, have supported his
position. Sheikh Saud and other Kuwaiti youths are proud of
their ties to the United States, because they realize that
Kuwait's higher interests demand the cementing of these
ties. manifested by the establishment of friendship
societies with the United States, the latest being the
Kuwaiti Committee for Consoling the Families of Coalition
Forces who Lost their Lives while Liberating Iraq. Let us
together work to oust all [parliamentary] candidates hostile
to the United States who are attempting to turn our country
into a base for the `New Taliban' and terrorists."

4. "Sheikh Saud Al-Sabah's Crime"
Hasan Al-Essa wrote in independent Al-Qabas (6/24): "If
Saud Al-Sabah, former Minister of Oil and of Information, is
the Ahmad Chalabi of Kuwait-- meaning America's man in
Kuwait-- as described by [Islamist and member of the Islamic
Constitutional Movement] MP Mohammed Al-Busairi, then, the
[Islamic] Constitutional Movement is the National Command of
the Fundamentalist ruling Baath Party. [T]he establishment
of the Kuwaiti Committee for Consoling the Families of
Coalition Forces who Lost their Lives while Liberating Iraq
intensified the [Islamic] Constitutional Movement's
resentment [of Sheikh Saud]. Saud wanted to compensate for
deficit in Kuwait's position toward the United States which
has long called for political and economic reforms in Kuwait
and the need to curb the powers of the [Islamic]
fundamentalists. The sad result is evident for everyone to
see: the marginalization of Kuwait by the American
administration, as when President Bush abstained from
visiting here."

5. "The First Deputy Prime Minister is not the President"
Former Secretary General of the Kuwait Democratic Forum,
Ahmed Al-Dayeen wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (6/23):
"The post of the First Deputy Prime Minister is a fabricated
position. that has no constitutional basis. Therefore, it
is not constitutionally valid for a Prime Minister to
delegate to a `first deputy' the task of forming a
government. The constitution must be followed in letter and
in spirit. if, as we allege, we are a state comprised of
institutions and based on a constitution."

6. "The Gulf Roadmap"
Ahmed Al-Dayeen wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (6/21):
"The American administration is preparing to announce a
`Gulf Roadmap' modeled on the Israeli-Palestinian one,
according to the former Secretary General of the GCC,
Abdullah Bishara. On a recent visit to the United States, he
met with American officials, one of whom was Elizabeth
Cheney, the Vice President's daughter, who is overseeing
Colin Powell's famed Middle East Partnership project. [The
Gulf Road Map] may soon be announced to urge the GCC
countries to speed up political, educational and economic
reforms according to a `liberal' perspective. This would be
part of a wider project, to rearrange the region, in which
the overthrow of Saddam's regime was just the first phase."

7. "Punishment Alone is not enough"
Khadyer Al-Anizi wrote in independent Al-Qabas (6/25): "A
regional campaign to counter terrorism, must begin with
severe punishment against those who exploit our religion.
It must begin by solving all societal problems, and by
thinking of comprehensive development. This can be achieved
through a new curriculum, the acceptance of different
cultures, building of civil society and establishing a state
based on strong institutions and justice. Only then will
extremists be defeated."

8. "Between Disregard and Attention"
Ahmed Al-Dayeen wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (6/25):
"For a while now, official American statements have ignored
Kuwait, either by ignoring Kuwait's role in the war to
overthrow Saddam, or by failing to mention `Kuwaiti
democracy.' But, during the past few weeks, a change has
occurred. American attention toward Kuwait was renewed.
This was manifested through a phone call from President Bush
to the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister. Then, there were words of
praise by General Tommy Franks during a ceremony where he
was decorated with a medal. Thirdly, according to `Al-Watan
Al-Arabi' publication, is charging National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice to oversee Kuwait's internal affairs and
future. The publication also claims that Secretary of State
Colin Powell will soon visit Kuwait. Finally, Assistant
Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, William Burns

visits Kuwait today to deliver important messages. This
increased attention must carry within its folds some
entitlements which may be of dimensions no less great than
the previous disregard."