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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06KUWAIT201 2006-01-22 14:41:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

NEW IRAQI CHARGE TO KUWAIT ON RELATIONS WITH

Tags:   PREL PINR KISL IZ KU KUWAIT IRAQ RELATIONS 
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VZCZCXRO8148
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK RUEHMOS
DE RUEHKU #0201/01 0221441
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221441Z JAN 06
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2607
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 000201 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/ARPI, LONDON FOR TSOU, PARIS FOR ZEYA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/21/2016
TAGS: PREL PINR KISL IZ KU KUWAIT IRAQ RELATIONS
SUBJECT: NEW IRAQI CHARGE TO KUWAIT ON RELATIONS WITH
KUWAIT AND THE THREAT FROM IRAN


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



1. (C) Summary. During a January 18 meeting with the
Ambassador, Iraqi Charge d'Affaires to Kuwait, Hamid
Al-Sharifi, spoke about Iran and its growing influence on the
Iraqi Shi'a population. He stated that Iranian agents have
been able to infiltrate Iraqi schools, hospitals, social
centers, and radio stations, adding that there was no clear
answer to counter Iran's tactics. He also spoke about
improving Iraq-Kuwait relations while working to utilize the
Kuwaiti funds made available for reconstruction. Touching on
debt relief, the Charge discussed how best to use 500 million
USD set aside by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic
Development for Iraq reconstruction. End summary.

Iraq and Iran


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





2. (C) In an introductory meeting with Ambassador LeBaron on
January 18, Iraqi Charge d'Affaires Hamid Al-Sharifi spoke at
length about his concern for Iran's growing influence in
Iraq. He said that Iran has financed Shi'a social centers,
schools, hospitals, and radio stations in order to increase
its influence in the region, adding that there were Iranian
agents in all of these locales. He stated that Iranians were
financing and arming Iraqi militias and that it was an issue
that had to be "tackled" head on. Mentioning Muqtadr Al-Sadr
by name, Al-Sharifi described a close aide of Sadr's
receiving suitcases of money from Iranians who had just
crossed the border from Iran. The worry, Al-Sharifi
explained, was that there is "no clear answer (on countering
this tactic) by the U.S. military." In addition to the
influence on the Shi'a populace, Al-Sharifi pointed out that
he shared the growing concern about Iran's nuclear
aspirations as well as its influence on instability in
southern Iraq.

Iraq-Kuwait Relations


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





3. (SBU) Al-Sharifi said he was originally told by the Iraqi
MFA that he would be posted to the United Nations as the
Deputy Chief of Mission. After planning a move to New York,
he was then informed that he would be heading to Kuwait as
Charge. He protested to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar
Zebari, who said he personally promised the Kuwaiti Foreign
Minister that "he would hand-pick" the Iraqi Charge and that
it would be someone Zebari could vouch for personally.
Al-Sharifi said that he tasked with "making the Kuwaitis
forget about the past and 1990," something he though would be
difficult to accomplish. He commented that he was surprised
as to how well received he had been in Kuwait, making dozens
of friends by visiting diwaniyas and getting a better
understanding of how Kuwaitis viewed Iraq. Al-Sharifi added
that he would be making a visit to Al Quarain house, a
memorial to Kuwaitis who died during the Iraq occupation, in
order to show that Iraqis remember what did happen to Kuwait.
Al-Sharifi commented though that "Kuwaitis suffered for
seven months under Saddam's rule, the Iraqi people suffered
30 years."

Debt Assistance and Debt Relief


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





4. (C) The Charge spoke about what he described as Iraq's 11
billion USD debt to Kuwait. The Ambassador pointed out that
some members of Parliament believed that Kuwaitis should have
their personal debt paid off before discussing Iraq's debt,
but that it was important to start bilateral talks on debt.
On debt assistance, the Charge shared that the GOK had 500
million USD in the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development
(KFAED) to use for rebuilding Iraq but that the GOK seemed in
no rush to discuss its disbursement. According to
Al-Sharifi, the GOK seems to be waiting for a permanent
government to take its seat in Baghdad before it is willing
to begin negotiations. "Perhaps in another two months" we
will be able to talk about it, he added. The Ambassador
encouraged Al-Sharifi to meet with the leadership of the Arab
Fund for Economic and Social Development as well as the head
of the KFAED (whom he had not met) and the officials in
charge of the Iraqi account to start a dialogue on spending
the funds available. He commented the GOK recognized the
importance and long-term impact of funding projects such as
schools and clinics, especially if they have a proposal in
hand. (Note: Kuwait has offered 440 million in soft loans
and 60 million in grants for education and health to Iraq
through the Kuwait Fund for Economic Development. End note.)

A Three Room Embassy

KUWAIT 00000201 002 OF 002




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





5. (C) The Iraqi embassy is currently located in a downtown
hotel while renovation on its previous Embassy building
continues. The GOK is fully funding the renovation on the
building which also served as the headquarters for the 19th
Province of the Iraqi government during the Iraqi invasion.
Until it is completed the Iraqi embassy is renting 3 rooms in
a hotel, with a staff of four diplomats (including the
Charge) and three locally employed Iraqi staff. The GOK
offered to pay 2,000 Kuwaiti dinar (approximately $6,700 USD)
towards the rent of the hotel rooms but, according to
Al-Sharifi, Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs turned down the
offer. The renovation of the permanent building is not
expected to be completed until summer 2006.

Bio Note


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





6. (SBU) Al-Sharifi was seriously injured in an
assassination attempt last year and still suffers from a
semi-paralyzed right hand. He spent 23 years in exile in
London before his return in 2003 and his immediate family
still resides in London.

*********************************************
Visit Embassy Kuwait's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/

You can also access this site through the
State Department's Classified SIPRNET website
*********************************************
LeBaron