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Cablegate: Kuwaiti Reaction to the President's July 16 Speech

VZCZCXRO5743
OO RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHROV
DE RUEHKU #1140 1991038
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 181038Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9632
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS KUWAIT 001140

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA/ARP, NEA/PA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: IS KMDR KU OPRC PGOV PREL XF PPAO
MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: KUWAITI REACTION TO THE PRESIDENT'S JULY 16 SPEECH
ON THE MIDDLE EAST

1. (SBU) Kuwaiti reaction to the President's July 16 speech
on the Middle East has been limited so far, but what has
appeared is generally skeptical or negative. A positive view
came from Dr. Ahmed Nasser Mohammed Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaykh Dr. Mohammed
Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah's Chief of Staff, who told Charge
July 18 that he welcomed the President's speech and
appreciated in particular the President's tough line on
Hamas.

2. (SBU) In conversations with Poloff July 18, two members
of the National Assembly criticized the President's message.
Shia MP Hassan Jowhar accused American and British leaders of
always making "a move" on the Palestinian issue at the end of
their terms when it is "too late" to accomplish anything.
Islamist MP Duaij Al-Shimmari described the speech as biased
and asked "why doesn't the U.S. support Hamas, which was
democratically elected, rather than the new Fatah government,
which came to power through a coup?"

3. (SBU) The Kuwaiti press has provided scant commentary on
the speech thus far, as stories on developments in Iraq and
possible changes in U.S. military policy in Iraq predominate.
An opinion piece by lawyer and regular columnist Dr. Abdul
Mohsen Jamai in Arabic-language daily Al-Qabas was the sole
story on the President's speech, which the author
characterized as "another attempt to support Israel and
coerce Arabs to admit its existence." Verbal comments from
other journalists to emboffs were mostly negative. "Too
little too late," said a reporter from pro-government daily
Al-Seyassah. "It's a wish of a presidency on a deathbed"
added a conservative writer from new Arabic-language daily
Al-Wasat. A liberal journalist called the speech "a
diversion of the public opinion away from the U.S. failure
and mounting casualties in Iraq." A more moderate response
came from an Al-Rai columnist, who told emboff that "the U.S.
must not rely on Arab organizations to bring change. Arab
summits are useless and do not result in anything. If
President Bush is serious about establishing the two-state
solution, then he needs to take affirmative action on the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict."

4. (SBU) We anticipate that additional commentary on the
speech will appear in the upcoming weekend press.

********************************************* *
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/
********************************************* *

Lenderking

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