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03KUWAIT486 2003-02-06 04:57:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION, 30 JANUARY-5 FEBRUARY:

Tags:   KU KDMR 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 000486 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/M, 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, 30 JANUARY-5 FEBRUARY:
KUWAIT SECURITY; US PRESENCE IN KUWAIT; WAR IN IRAQ; AMCIT
REPATRIATION CASE



1. Summary: For the second time this week, Kuwaiti Islamic
activist Mohamed al-Mulaifi has offered a carefully worded
apologia for al-Qaeda's terrorist operations based on his
exegesis of Quranic texts. Asserting that the Prophet
Mohammed abided by a truce with the city of Mecca while
continuing to attack its caravans outside of its walls,
Mulaifi-who was accused of incitement for referring to the
killers of a US Marine on Falaika Island in October
"martyrs"-implies that it is acceptable to both accept the
US presence in Kuwait and struggle violently against it. He
also calls on the government of Kuwait to "deal gently" with
its extremists and "engage them in dialogue."

On Iraq, blame for Saddam for bringing the region to the
brink of war contrasts with ambivalence about the US role.
An MP accuses Americans of over-stepping their bounds in the
repatriation case of an American-Kuwaiti girl, averring that
Americans are here to defend Kuwait, "not to control Kuwaiti
citizens." One Islamist commentator urges jihad in response
to the "expected American-Jewish war against Iraq." Also,
alleged comments by the German ambassador to Kuwait that
removing Saddam from power would be a "disaster for Kuwait"
leads to reflections on the challenges posed by a post-
Saddam Iraq. End summary.



2. News stories: The lead story was increased security in
Kuwait, including the deployment of over 4000 police and
National Guardsmen on the streets of Kuwait.

All newspapers reported Iraqi Vice President Taha Yaseen
Ramadan's threats made on February 1 to initiate suicide
attacks against Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in response to a
U.S. attack on Iraq.

Minister of Interior, Mohammed Al-Khaled, stressed that what
is happening in the region concerns the Iraqi regime and the
United States, and that Kuwait has nothing to do with it. He
added that Kuwait is ready regardless to deal with any
emergency or Iraqi aggression.

On February 2, it was reported that forty-five Iraqi sailors
were arrested in Kuwaiti regional waters. When the sailors
refused to return to Iraq they were handed over to the UN
Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM).

Al-Rai Al-Aam reported on February 1 that the Ministry of
Information will air programs on local and satellite on "the
legitimacy of the American presence in Kuwait, and its role
in protecting the country against the dangers of the Iraqi
regime." Also on February 1, Al-Qabas published a very
positive two-page spread on U.S. troops in Kuwait, coming as
a result of the first embed of local media with the U.S.
military.

Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Baqer, met with
mosque imams and preachers reportedly in order to formulate
a strategy to put an end to extremism. Baqer also asked that
no cassettes or brochures be distributed in the mosques
unless they are from the Ministry.

On January 28, Mohammed Yousef Al-Mulaifi, Head of the
Information Department at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic
Affairs, who was detained after praising the two attackers
who killed an American Marine on Failaka Island as
"martyrs," was released without charge, out of "respect for
the principles of democracy and freedom." The court,
however, ordered him to pay KD 500, and to sign a written
commitment that he will "maintain good behavior" for the
next two years(see para 10).

Al-Rai Al-Aam reported that the Public Prosecutor released
on KD100 bail (approximately USD 300) two brothers who
issued a fake I.D. for Sami Al-Mutairi, the man who
confessed to killing an American civilian contractor in an
ambush on January 21. The Public Prosecutor argued that the
brothers issued the I.D. with "good intent," as they did not
know that Al-Mutairi was not a mosque supervisor as he
claimed.

On February 1, all newspapers ran the text of the January 30
warden message and travel warning to American citizens in
Kuwait advising Americans to strongly consider leaving
Kuwait.



3. MP Adnan Abdelsamad wrote in Al-Dustoor, the National
Assembly's weekly newspaper (1/29), that the American
Embassy and officials at the Ministry of Interior had
colluded to facilitate the departure from Kuwait of a minor
Kuwaiti citizen against the will of her father. MP
Abdelsamad declared that he holds the Minister of the
Interior responsible for this. He goes on to write, "They
say [the Americans] are here to protect the sovereignty of
Kuwait from external dangers, so why would they violate
Kuwaiti laws? Kuwaiti agreements with the U.S. don't include
controlling Kuwaiti citizens."



4. "The Security of Kuwait First"
Lead editorial in independent Al-Anba stated (2/1): "To put
the security forces on alert is a must under these
circumstances. The Ministry of Interior was supposed to
tighten its security measures immediately after the Failaka
incident. We did not have to wait for the murder of another
American civilian. The citizens and the expatriates of
Kuwait will be pleased to see the security forces on the
streets and they won't be bothered by the checkpoints."



5. "We Must Be Alert"
MP Abdelmohsen Jamal wrote in independent Al-Qabas (2/1):
"[C]an the Iraqi regime cause instability in Kuwait? There
are many people who sympathize with the Iraqi regime and
therefore we must be alert to any internal attempt that
could cause any fraction in our society."



6. "Against the War"
Liberal Dr. Shamlan Al-Essa, professor of Political Science
at Kuwait University, wrote in independent Al-Siyassah
(2/1): "Many people and movements in Kuwait have expressed
their rejection to the war. not because of their love for
Saddam, but rather because they reject on principle the idea
of waging a war against Arabs and Muslims. They believe that
the U.S. has undeclared goals in Iraq to fully control
sources of oil. In principle, we are against the war for
humanitarian reasons, but at the same time, we are tired of
the deteriorating Arab situation in the region. therefore,
there in no harm in any change led by the US."



7. Liberal weekly Al-Talea published a statement (2/1) by
Islamist Dr. Ajeel Al-Nashmi, former Dean of the School of
Sharia and Islamic Studies at Kuwait University, that was
posted on Al-Jazeera's website, inciting confrontation with
America. Dr. Al-Nashmi's statement, as quoted in Al-Talea,
reads, "As for the expected American-Jewish war against
Iraq, Muslims should not contribute directly or indirectly
in endangering the soul of other Muslims. This war is not
just against Iraq, but against all Muslim countries and
linked to the Jews' plans. and should be countered by
activating the spirit of Islamic jihad."



8. "If It Wasn't For You, Saddam"
Ali Al-Ajmi wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (2/2): "If it
wasn't for you, tyrant, there would not be one foreign
soldier on Kuwait's land. You led us to resort to them to
protect ourselves against your treachery at a time when
Kuwait looked with disdain on any foreign presence on its
land. This was one of our political constants. If it wasn't
for your invasion of Kuwait, the door would not have been
opened for treaties such as Oslo, Madrid, and Camp David II
to which Arabs were led, humiliated and deprived of free
will. You opened the door wide to foreign intervention
thanks to your foolishness and recklessness, and hung Arab
dignity out to dry."



9. "Where is The Arab Street?"
Faisal Al-Qinai wrote in Independent Al-Siyassah (2/2):
"Regrettably, we have not seen one demonstration in any Arab
capital to condemn Iraq's threats against Kuwait. Nor have
we heard one statement from the Arab League on this issue.
This peculiar Arab behavior is what forces us to be more
friendly to the Americans"



10. In independent Arabic daily Al-Seyassah (2/2), Islamist
Mohammed Yousef Al-Mulaifi, Head of the Information
Department at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs,
presents a theological argument between those who support
Usama Bin Laden and those who agree with Ahmed Baqer,
Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs. Baqer's argument is
that killing Americans is forbidden because they have signed
a covenant with the Muslim people of Kuwait. Al-Mulaifi
attributes the following argument to Bin Laden's followers:
We agree that it is indeed forbidden to kill infidels with
whom we have a covenant. Americans have not kept this
covenant because "they have announced Jerusalem to be the
eternal capital of the Jews. Can anyone deny that everything
that is happening to our people in Palestine is because of
their support? . Are those who came to the land of Muslims
to impose a war on our neighbors, a war that Muslims don't
want, can you label them as those with whom we have a
covenant?" Throughout Al-Mulaifi's column, he refers to Al-
Qaeda with the word `terrorist' between parenthesis and
followed by an exclamation mark.



11. How Do We Stop Al-Qaeda Operations?
Islamist Mohammad Al-Mulaifi wrote in independent Al-
Seyassah (2/5): "Al-Qaeda operations, called `guerrilla
warfare,' have become the alternative to an inclusive
confrontation after their failure in Afghanistan. This type
of war is a based on the strategy used by the Companion of
the Prophet (Sahabi), Abu Bussair, to defeat the infidels of
Quraish. [I]s this strategy applicable to defeating the
enemies of Islam today? In fact, one of the biggest mistakes
that Muslims commit is taking religious texts out of context
to serve their own needs and interests. Anti-terrorism
campaigns will not stop these operations because those who
believe that they should sacrifice their blood for their
beliefs will not be frightened. Therefore, let us put aside
the strategy of violence and adopt the strategy of dialogue.



12. "Dr. Daum's Warning"
Ahmad Al-Dayain wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (2/4):
"The German Ambassador to Kuwait, Dr. Daum, stated in a
seminar held by Kuwait University's Gulf and Arab Peninsula
Studies Center that ousting Saddam will be a great disaster
for Kuwait, resulting in the waiving of Iraq's debts and
compensations to Kuwait. The Ambassador's statement does not
mean that Saddam's presence is the best solution for Kuwait,
but it simply means that his ouster will impose new
challenges on us. [including] requests for Kuwait to
contribute to the rehabilitation of Iraq; expansion of
Iraq's marine outlets to the Arabian Gulf; the nature of
Kuwaiti relations with a new Iraqi regime."


URBANCIC