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Cablegate: Mps Ask for Info On Kuwait's Preparedness for A

VZCZCXRO8636
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK
DE RUEHKU #0514 0991344
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091344Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8740
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS KUWAIT 000514

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/IR AND NEA/ARP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL IR KU KUWAIT IRAN RELATIONS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
SUBJECT: MPS ASK FOR INFO ON KUWAIT'S PREPAREDNESS FOR A
U.S. ATTACK ON IRAN; FM WARNS OF ESCALATION

REF: A. STATE 45880
B. KUWAIT 486

Sensitive But Unclassified; not for Internet distribution.

1. (SBU) Responding to recent speculations in local press
about an imminent U.S. attack on Iran (ref B), several
parliamentarians (MPs) submitted questions to the Interior
Minister asking him to outline the steps Kuwait has taken to
prepare for such a possibility. Independent, tribal MP
Saadoun Al-Otaibi and controversial Islamist MPs Faisal
Al-Muslim and Waleed Al-Tabtabaei wanted to know if the U.S.
had requested the use of Kuwaiti facilities for such an
attack and, if not, what Kuwait's position would be if
American officials did make such a request. They also
inquired about security at "sensitive facilities" in Kuwait,
surveillance of suspected (Iranian-backed) domestic terrorist
groups, Kuwait's air defense capabilities, and defense
cooperation with other Gulf countries. In addition, they
asked if Kuwait had discussed security arrangements with
"countries with which it has signed security agreements to
protect the country." Al-Tabtabaei said he would submit a
request soon to hold a special session of Parliament to
discuss Kuwait's preparations to deal with a possible war
between the U.S. and Iran.

2. (SBU) Foreign Minister Shaykh Dr. Mohammed Al-Salem
Al-Sabah warned that "the situation (with Iran) is moving
towards escalation and confrontation in the region," in a
April 8 interview with the Saudi-owned, pan-Arab Al-Hayat
newspaper that was widely republished in Kuwait. Shaykh Dr.
Mohammed stated that UNSCR 1747 put "a timeline of escalation
against Tehran," and said he feared that "what happened to
Saddam Hussein might happen to the Iranians." The Foreign
Minister claimed he urged his Iranian counterpart to "work
with wisdom, with lawful international decisions" during the
Arab Summit in Riyadh last month. Coupled with recent
provocative reports in local press, such official statements
are contributing to growing conviction among Kuwaitis that a
U.S. strike on Iran is imminent; indeed, this issue has
become the main topic of conversation in Kuwaiti diwaniyas.

3. (SBU) Per ref A demarche, PolChief asked MFA Iran Desk
Officer Mansour Al-Oulaimi April 8 about Kuwaiti attendance
at the expected ribbon-cutting ceremony at Iran's Natanz Fuel
Enrichment Plant. Al-Oulaimi was aware of the details of the
event, but said he was not aware of any plans to attend.

********************************************* *
For more reporting from Embassy Kuwait, visit:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/?cable s

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

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