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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06KUWAIT4152 2006-10-17 13:26:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

AMAR AL-HAKIM ON IRAQ-GCC AND IRAQ-KUWAIT RELATIONS

Tags:   PREL PGOV KU IZ IR 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO1666
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHKU #4152 2901326
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 171326Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7224
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L KUWAIT 004152 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/16/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV KU IZ IR
SUBJECT: AMAR AL-HAKIM ON IRAQ-GCC AND IRAQ-KUWAIT RELATIONS

REF: KUWAIT 4076

Classified By: DCM Matt Tueller for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) Summary: Amar Al-Hakim, son of SCIRI leader Abdel
Aziz Al-Hakim, said the annual Ramadan visit of the Al-Hakim
family is a social tradition and an opportunity to reach out
to Kuwait's government and the Sunni community here. During
his visit, Al-Hakim met with a wide range of senior officials
and visited as many as 80 Diwanyyas (traditional Kuwaiti
gatherings). Al-Hakim was pleased with his reception, but
said the rest of the GCC presents a more difficult challenge.
He cited biased Gulf satellite news broadcasts and a failure
to come to terms with the new political reality in Iraq.
Al-Hakim said he received assurances during his visit from
the Kuwait FM that Kuwait will send an Ambassador to Baghdad
when Iraq names an Ambassador to Kuwait. End Summary.




2. (C) PolCouns met October 12 with Amar Al-Hakim, son of
SCIRI leader Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, and head of the Shahid
al-Mehrab Foundation. Al-Hakim was in Kuwait as the family
representative for what has become an annual Ramadan visit.
He was received by the Amir and other senior-level Kuwaiti
officials (reftel), both publicly and in private audiences
(as he departed a morning meeting with PolCouns, he said he
was off for a viewing of Kuwaiti PM Shaykh Nasser's private
art and antiquities collection).



3. (C) While some Kuwaiti observers describe the Al-Hakim
family's annual visits as primarily a fund-raising
opportunity among Kuwait's wealthy Shia community, Al-Hakim's
schedule read more like a political campaign. Exploiting a
Kuwaiti tradition during Ramadan, Al-Hakim claims to have
visited 80 Diwaniyyas over a four-day visit, representing the
range of communities and political views in Kuwait. He took
pains to note that he even tried to visit the Diwaniyya of
(anti-Shia Salafi MP) Waleed al-Tabtabaie. In a separate
meeting with PolCouns, Islamic Constitutional Movement
(Affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood) MP Nasser al-Sane
said he was surprised (but pleased) when Al-Hakim showed up
at his Diwaniyya as well.



4. (C) Al-Hakim told PolCouns that his visit was both a
Ramadan tradition and part of a larger outreach effort aimed
at both Kuwaitis and other GCC countries. He was pleased
with the reception he gets in Kuwait, but complained that he
is a long way from getting a similar welcome in other GCC
countries. "The Kuwaitis understand us," he said, "while the
rest of the region has not changed its old attitudes." He
said the major obstacles to better understanding include what
he considers the biased and inflammatory reporting of
Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiyya, and other satellite TV outlets, and
a failure to come to terms with the new political reality in
Iraq. The Gulf Arabs, he said, complain about where we look
for support, while they "forget to consider that maybe we
walk through the only door that is open." The solution,
according to Al-Hakim, is more pressure from the United
States on GCC governments to rein in the satellite stations
and to engage Iraq's Shia community. "They have to realize
we are Arabs," he insisted. When pressed, Al-Hakim conceded
that a greater Iraqi outreach effort along the lines of his
own visit would also help.



5. (C) Pressed on Kuwait-Iraq relations, Al-Hakim said
Kuwaiti FM Shaykh Dr.Mohammed Al-Sabah assured him during
their meeting that when Iraq names an Ambassador, Kuwait will
immediately follow suit, and the FM himself will travel to
Baghdad. Asked why Iraq had not been able to name an
Ambassador, Al-Hakim shrugged and said "there are some
problems." (Note: Kuwait's semi-official
Ambassador-designate, retired General Ali Al-Mumin, plans to
visit Iraq next month in his capacity as head of the
Humanitarian Operations Center (HOC) End note).
Tueller