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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04KUWAIT3544 2004-10-13 14:03:00 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

AL-SABAH INSIDER SAYS U.S. DOESN'T VALUE KUWAIT;

Tags:   PREL PTER PGOV KWMN IZ KU 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 003544 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

STATE FOR NEA/ARP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/22/2014
TAGS: PREL PTER PGOV KWMN IZ KU
SUBJECT: AL-SABAH INSIDER SAYS U.S. DOESN'T VALUE KUWAIT;
SHARES CONCERNS ON IRAQ, TERRORISM, AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS

Classified By: Ambassador Richard LeBaron for reason 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (S/NF) Summary: In early fall 2004, PolOff met several
times with a senior Shaykh from the Al-Sabah ruling family
who works in the Prime Minister's office and has daily
interaction with Prime Minister Shaykh Sabah Al-Ahmad. The
interlocutor, who is in his forties and has a prominent
lineage, conveyed a repeated theme in these candid
"off-the-record" discussions that Kuwait does not feel its
friendship toward the U.S. is adequately reciprocated. He
noted that the growing threat in Iraq is from Iranians,
believes civil war there is inevitable, and urged the U.S. to
be more aggressive against insurgents in Iraq. He intimated
that the GOK is pursuing release of the Kuwaiti Guantanamo
detainees only for public consumption and recommended the
U.S. raise officially the issue of controversial Kuwaiti
Islamist youth camps because it is too sensitive for the GOK
to deal with directly. He discussed the ruling family's
perspective on Kuwait succession and mentioned that Prime
Minister Shaykh Sabah intends to visit the U.S. after the
Presidential election to congratulate the winner. End
Summary.

Feeling Left Out


--------------------------





2. (S) Over several candid discussions with a ruling family
member on the staff of the Prime Minister, PolOff heard frank
views that, while clearly meant to influence USG thinking,
also likely reflect opinions of the Prime Minister and other
GOK decisionmakers. An oft-repeated theme is that it appears
to the Prime Minister that the U.S. doesn't appreciate
Kuwait. The interlocutor urged the U.S. not to forget about
Kuwait's efforts and sacrifices to build stability in Iraq.
He emphasized that Kuwait was an excellent partner to the
U.S. and that the U.S. did not appear to be sufficiently
grateful. He said that the Prime Minister considers the MNNA
status, recently conferred on Kuwait, to mean very little
because the U.S. already gave the same status to certain
other countries which have not done nearly as much as Kuwait.
He further opined that he hopes the U.S. does not view
Kuwait the same way it does some other MNNA countries,
implying that several of the MNNA countries were not highly
regarded by the U.S. as allies.



3. (C) The Shaykh also expressed to PolOff his frustration
that so many U.S. Government visitors come through Kuwait,
enroute to Iraq, and do not meet with Kuwaitis. He further
complained that when U.S. officials do request meetings, they
are often last minute requests, where U.S. officials arrive
during the Kuwaiti weekend (Thurs/Fri) and ask for meetings
on Friday afternoon. This, according to the interlocutor,
convinces him that Kuwait is not appreciated. He reiterated
that Washington must understand it has a great friend in
Kuwait but that it must be careful not to lose its friends.

Iraq: Civil War Looms and Elections Will Fail


--------------------------





4. (C) He opined that Iraq would enter a period of civil war
and that there was no way to stop the escalating sectarian
violence. Calling himself an "optimist" he said "let them
have their civil war and hopefully in five years or so things
will settle down." He did not think that a civil war would
spread across the borders into Kuwait.



5. (C) On the Shia threat in Iraq, he believes that the U.S.
should have removed or killed Moqtada Al-Sadr quickly and not
let him gain the following that he did. He opined that the
Iraqi people would respect the U.S. more if greater force
were used against these types of threats. He repeatedly told
PolOff that the Iranians are crossing the border into Iraq in
great numbers to cause trouble and to affect the upcoming
elections. He further remarked that the U.S. should delay
the Iraqi elections until there is stability. He is
convinced that the elections, should they take place in
January, will be a failure. Characterizing the elections as
the USG's "one chance," he argued that once this effort at
democracy fails, the U.S. will lose its credibility as a
promoter of democracy in the region. (Note: These remarks
came well before the recent elections in Afghanistan. End
Note.)

Islamist Youth Camps: Junior Jihadis Not Arts and Crafts


--------------------------



--------------------------





6. (S/NF) The Shaykh explained that Islamists sponsor spring
camps in the desert and summer indoor clubs as a prime source
of recruiting youths for various Islamist causes. (Comment:
Islamists advertise in the spring and summer for young
Kuwaitis to go to "summer camps." These camps are believed
to serve as, at the very least, a source of superficial
indoctrination into an intolerant religious worldview and at
worst, a fertile recruiting ground for violent jihadis. A
September 11, 2004 Washington Post article noted that Khalid
Sheik Mohammed confessed that "he was drawn to violent jihad
after joining the Brotherhood in Kuwait at age 16 and
attending its desert youth camps." End Comment.) The Shaykh
said that the GOK, which regulates almost every educational
forum, does not regulate the camps or even monitor them. He
said this issue is too sensitive for the GOK to address for
fear of being accused by Islamists of regulating the teaching
of the Qur'an. He advised PolOff to take the issue up with
the MOI and recommended that the U.S. "rock the boat" on the
issue because it is a serious one that the GOK is politically
unable to address.



7. (C) Further on the Islamists, he mentioned that Abdallah
Al-Mutawa and Hamad Al-Ali play a big role in the
organization of the summer camps and that Hamad, despite
being the "former" Secretary General of the Scientific
Salafis (aka Salafi Movement) is still something of a thinker
for the organization. (Note: Abdallah Al-Ali Al-Mutawa is
known to have provided large donations to charities in
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Russia during the past two decades.
A close relative of Mutawa's recently confided to Poloff
that he estimates these donations totaled over $90 million
during this period. End Note.)

Ruling Family Succession


--------------------------





8. (C) Speaking as a member of the Al-Sabah family, he
informed PolOff that the widely held expectation of how
succession of the Amir and Crown Prince may play out is not
set in stone. While Prime Minister Shaykh Sabah is
considered by all to be the second in line behind Crown
Prince Saad to become Amir, PolOff was informed that if
something should happen to the Prime Minister, it is assumed
that Shaykh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the first
deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister would become
Amir. (Note: The very ill Crown Prince Saad is not
considered a viable candidate for the position of the Amir.
End Note.) Behind Nawaf is Shaykh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber
Al-Sabah, the current Deputy Chairman of Kuwait's National
Guard. He spoke as though this order of precedence was a
well-established public fact. (Comment: Traditionally, of
the top two Kuwaitis, one is from the Jaber Branch and the
other is from the Salem branch. Given the current domination
of most Ministries by the Jaber branch, it might not be
surprising to see such a move. Both top spots were occupied
by the Salem branch when Amir Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah and
Crown Prince Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah ruled together from
1963-1965. End Comment.) The Shaykh, however, dispelled this
"balance-of-the-branches" theory as a coincidence and
appeared to truly believe that it is not a factor in
succession.



9. (C) The Shaykh relayed that Crown Prince Shaykh Saad
Al-Sabah was in increasingly poor health. He told PolOff
that he met with the Crown Prince in August and that Saad did
not even acknowledge him when the Shaykh tried to speak to
him. He said that Saad had some form of colon disease in
2001 and this led to severe hemorrhaging resulting in massive
blood loss. He informed PolOff that this blood loss led to
brain damage. He reminded PolOff that the Amir continues to
struggle with Parkinson's disease but that PM Shaykh Sabah,
despite having a pacemaker, is in relatively good health.

If Women Vote... It Will Be for the Islamists


--------------------------





10. (C) Although he personally supports women's political
rights, the Shaykh commented that it would be bad for Kuwait.
He believes that should women be permitted to vote in
general elections, the Islamists would benefit the most, thus
putting even more Islamists into Parliament and pushing the
society further towards religious conservatism. (Note: It is
widely assumed, even among some proponents of women's
suffrage, that the wives--in some cases multiple wives--of
Islamists would be ordered by their husbands to cast their
vote for the candidate he chooses, therefore increasing
Islamist voter participation and the likelihood of Islamist
candidates being elected. Post agrees that this is a
possible short-term consideration should Kuwaiti women gain
the right to vote. End Note.) He is convinced the measure
will fail should it come to a vote in the National Assembly.
He commented that he knows few Kuwaiti women who actually
want the right to vote or want to run in general elections
for a seat in Parliament. (Note: Post, on the other hand,
has several female activist contacts, who have openly
declared their intention to run for office. End Note.)

Release of Gitmo Detainees Not a Serious Concern


--------------------------

---



11. (S/NF) The Shaykh told PolOff "off the record," that the
Prime Minister doesn't really want any of the Guantanamo
detainees back. Despite the public calls for a return of the
detainees, he opined that this was being done only to appease
the media. He also informed PolOff that the Prime Minister
is planning a trip to the U.S. in January to congratulate the
winner of the U.S. presidential election. In the near term,
the Prime Minister is planning to travel to Europe, including
Paris and London. He mentioned that the Prime Minister has
no intention of traveling to Baghdad anytime soon.

Comment


--------------------------





12. (C) The Shaykh is well-educated, Westernized, and
pragmatic. Because of his position and daily interaction
with the PM, he does have a measure of influence with PM
Shaykh Sabah and insight into the PM's views. Throughout the
conversations, it was unclear where the PM's opinion ended
and this Shaykh's began. That said, what was made clear is
the perception of a growing frustration from senior GOK
officials with the way the U.S. appears to be treating
Kuwait. Although Kuwait remains supportive of U.S. efforts
in the region, the Shaykh relayed his opinion that the U.S.
is not working with the Kuwaitis but at times appears to be
dictating Washington's demands with an expectation of
compliance. Of all his messages this was the most often
repeated.

*********************************************
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http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/

You can also access this site through the
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*********************************************
LeBaron