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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03KUWAIT5317 2003-11-20 14:09:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION, NOVEMBER 15-19: TIMETABLE FOR IRAQI

Tags:   OIIP KU KDMR 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 005317 

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: OIIP KU KDMR
SUBJECT: KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION, NOVEMBER 15-19: TIMETABLE FOR IRAQI
SOVEREIGNTY; DEMOCRACY; TERRORISM; WOMEN'S RIGHTS



1. SUMMARY: Reaction to the timetable for transfer of
sovereignty in Iraq has been limited to one editorial that
ties the decision to the upcoming US presidential elections.

Commentary on democratization in the region reflects a lack
of faith in regional governments to carry out reforms, but
also criticism of the US for supporting these "dictatorial
regimes." A prominent liberal commentator criticizes US
support of Kuwait, stating that "if America believes that
Kuwait is a model for democracy then it is lying and this
signifies that it still supports tyrannical regimes." One
writer states that democratic reforms are an "obligation" of
GCC governments in order to fight the rise in terrorism. A
conservative Islamist opines that the US exports a
"democracy of homosexuals and pornography."

Arabic daily al-Seyassah reported on November 18 that 200
female students in a Kuwaiti school were expelled for not
wearing a headscarf. Several MPs strongly denounced the
expulsions. The daily reports Ministry of Education sources
as saying that "only 12 students" were expelled, and that
they are looking into the issue.

Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad announced this week
that a bill on women's rights would be introduced to the
National Assembly. A prominent Islamist MP stated that he
was not against women's suffrage, but drew the line on women
in public office. END SUMMARY.



2. News stories: On November 15, Al-Rai Al-Aam reports that
Prime Minister Sabah Al-Ahmad stated: "women's political
rights will be reintroduced again to the National Assembly."
On November 16, "a parliamentary source" stated that the
National Assembly will grant women political rights in 2003,
according to Al-Anba. Al-Anba also reports that Islamist MP
Waleed Al-Tabtabie said he was not against granting women
the right to vote, but rather against granting them the
right to run for office.

Al-Qabas reports on its November 16 front page that the
Economic Committee of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) is
discussing proposals on a new taxation law, quoting an
"informed source" as saying: "Kuwaitis should realize that
the taxes are coming."

The Ministry of Interior has formed a committee to study the
causes of the recent resignation of 250 senior officials and
other workers at the Ministry, according to Al-Anba.

According to an "Iraqi security source," 400,000 cars have
been exported from Kuwait to Iraq since the fall of Saddam's
regime, Al-Anba reports.

Editorials:



3. "Behind the American Decision"
Dr. Yasser Al-Saleh wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam
(11/18): "President Bush announced the transfer of
sovereignty to the Iraqi people could be achieved prior to
writing a new Iraqi constitution. The real reason for Bush's
decision to expedite the transfer of authority to the Iraqis
is his fear of losing the upcoming presidential elections in
2004."



4. "America is Coming For Those Who Do Not Practice
Democracy"
Liberal Dr. Ahmad Al-Baghdadi wrote in independent Al-
Seyassah (11/15): "It is a tragedy for America to
financially and militarily assist [some repressive Arab]
regimes and then also attempt to reinstate the dignity of
the people, which these regimes have violated. The President
must realize that Islamic groups are the main reason for the
political tyranny in the Arab and Islamic worlds, and that
as long as they are destroying our social, political and
intellectual balance, then any call for reforms will
useless."



5. "Human Rights Violations"
Liberal Director of the Center for Strategic and Future
Studies at Kuwait University, Dr. Shamlan Al-Essa wrote in
independent Al-Seyassah (11/15): "A human rights report
recently published in Washington states that most of the
victims of human rights violations in Kuwait are from South
East Asian countries. This nothing new since local and
international human rights organizations have repeatedly
criticized Kuwait for violating human rights. I believe that
external pressure on Kuwait may be the solution to this
problem since Arab leaderships are not used to listening to
their own people."



5. "The Enemies of Democracy"
Liberal Dr. Ahmad Al-Baghdadi wrote in independent Al-
Seyassah (11/19): "How can any democracy develop without
intellectual freedom? If American believes that Kuwait is a
model for democracy then it is lying and this signifies that
American still supports tyrannical regimes. America should
read the new press and publication law to realize the amount
of intellectual terrorism present in Kuwaiti law. If the US
is serious about implementing democracy in the Middle East,
then it must not support regimes with fake constitutions or
parliaments."



6. "Democracy or Terrorism"
Liberal Director of the Center for Strategic and Future
Studies at Kuwait University, Dr. Shamlan Al-Essa wrote in
independent Al-Seyassah (11/17): "Due to increased violence
and terrorism in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, it is
no longer acceptable to delay political and economic
reforms. The GCC countries have not yet realized that
adopting democracy is no longer an option, but rather an
obligation."



7. "When Will We Be Prepared?"
Dr. Abdullah Al-Hamadi wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam
(11/19): "Muslim extremist are responsible for giving the
bad impression that Islam rejects democracy. The ultimate
goal of democracy is to allow Arabs and Muslims to live a
decent life in which justice and freedom prevails. The Iraqi
people have a golden opportunity to form a true democratic
government, unlike most of the democracies in the Arab
world.



8. "This is Our Mother America"
Conservative Islamist Mohammad Al-Mulaifi wrote in
independent Al-Seyassah (11/16): "Two articles were
published in the newspapers last week: one celebrated the
opening of a school for homosexuals in New York, and the
another described the election of the first homosexual
bishop in the Anglican Church. this is the kind of democracy
which our mother American is attempting to spread to Iraq
and Afghanistan-the democracy of homosexuals and
pornography.

URBANCIC