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Cablegate: National Security Bureau Deputy Comments On Iraq,

VZCZCXRO8666
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHKU #1399/01 2591025
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 161025Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9947
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 1006
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA PRIORITY 1605
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1426
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 2427
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 1620
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 0103

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 001399

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV KU PM PINR
SUBJECT: NATIONAL SECURITY BUREAU DEPUTY COMMENTS ON IRAQ,
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, NATO

REF: A. KUWAIT 440

B. KUWAIT 873

Classified By: CDA Misenheimer for reasons 1.4 b and d

Summary
--------

1. (SBU) On August 27, Charg paid a courtesy call on Kuwait
National Security Bureau (NSB) Deputy Director Shaykh Thamer
Ali Al-Sabah Al-Salem Al Sabah. On September 5, NATO Deputy
Secretary General Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo also met with

SIPDIS
Shaykh Thamer and later provided a briefing of his meeting to
local Heads of Missions and Defense Attaches. The below
cable is a readout of the two meetings with a focus on Shaykh
Thamer's views on Iraq, extremism and NATO. End summary.

Kuwait's grand plan for the British in Iraq
-------------------------------------------

2. (C) On August 27, Charg paid a courtesy call on Kuwait
National Security Bureau-NSB (the agency responsible for
coordinating state security policy) Deputy Director Shaykh
Thamer Ali Al-Sabah Al-Salem Al Sabah. Shaykh Thamer told
the Charg of his recent suggestion to the British Embassy in
Kuwait that the UK refrain from a total withdrawal from Iraq,
and instead leave the airbase in Basra and relocate to an
isolated airbase in the desert between Nasriya and Basra. He
congratulated himself on this idea, noting that this solution
would suit all parties. He reasoned that the British would
no longer have to endure mortar and rocket attacks from Basra
and would be far enough away into the desert to see the
enemy's approach, yet close enough to respond to emergency
needs of the city. This solution, according to Shaykh Thamer
would test the citizens of Basra and help them to determine
the level of independence they are truly ready for.

3. (C) To reinforce this idea, Shaykh Thamer said that a
civil war in southern Iraq is imminent. He said that 95
percent of the current attacks are against the British, and
when the British are longer around to absorb the brunt of the
insurgency, the Shi'a groups will turn against each other.
He discounted the role of Sunnis in Basra, saying that their
population has been reduced from 30 percent during the Saddam
era to 11 percent now. He added that it is a foregone
conclusion that the Shi'a in Basra no longer look to Baghdad
for leadership, but to Teheran. He also said that it is just
a matter of time before a mortar or rocket is fired into
Kuwait.

4. (C) According to Shaykh Thamer, the British response to
his proposal to relocate from Basra airbase to the airport in
the desert was that this "was the most credible idea heard
yet." (Note: Post has no information that indicates that
the British showed interest in this plan. It is our
assessment that this idea was tabled as an attempt to keep
the British in Iraq. The Kuwaitis are highly concerned over
implications of Iraqi violence spilling across the border.
End note.)

Extremism
---------

5. (C) When discussing potential levels of extremism in
Kuwait, Shaykh Thamer said that he did not believe terrorists
in Kuwait were planning attacks against the United States.
He also said that he did not believe that Kuwaiti terrorists
would perpetrate attacks in Kuwait. He praised cooperation
between U.S. and Kuwaiti officials in the area of terror
financing and believes that the GOK effectively monitors
substantial financial transactions-amounts more than KD 500
(USD 1,800).

Philosophy on Muslim Brotherhood
--------------------------------

6. (C) Shaykh Thamer said that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)
has undergone a radical change. According to him, prior to
2000, the MB was entirely an Egyptian organization, but after
2000 when the group began receiving Gulf financing, the main
leaders and thinkers were no longer Egyptian, but Gulf Arabs.
According to him, there are stark differences between
Egyptian MB and Kuwaiti MB:

--Egyptian MB members grew up on Hassan Al-Bana's ideology,

KUWAIT 00001399 002 OF 002


were mostly poor with no resources, but well-educated.
--Gulf and in particular Kuwaiti MB members tend to be very
wealthy, but not necessarily well-educated. Shaykh Thamer
stressed that the Kuwaiti MB has no military wing or agenda.

7. (C) He noted that since 2000, the GOK began training,
educating and reindoctrinating Imams in centers which aim to
introduce "original Islam." These centers teach that
according to the Koran, Jihad was permissible only under the
leadership of Caliphs. Since there is no longer a Caliphate,
he reasoned there should be no need or call for Jihad.

Shaykh Thamer and NATO
----------------------
8. (C) NATO Deputy Secretary General Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo
visited Kuwait to meet with Shaykh Thamer and develop
interest in greater GCC cooperation with NATO and to push for
the signing of a NATO Transit Agreement to allow transit of
NATO forces and personnel through Kuwait. According to
Ambassador Minuto-Rizzo, the agreement is "practically
finalized" and will likely be signed in an upcoming NATO
visit to Kuwait. He also said that his meetings with Shaykh
Thamer were very positive. He is looking to expand NATO
cooperation with Kuwait by sharing intelligence, providing
experts to advise Kuwait on mil/mil activity and have Kuwait
participate in NATO education and training. He added that
Thamer promised that the GOK would soon appoint an attach to
NATO Brussels.

9. (C) Despite his overall positive impressions, Ambassador
Minuto-Rizzo also highlighted from his meeting with Thamer
that NATO/GCC cooperation will likely remain complicated and
difficult. Thamer reiterated to the ambassador Kuwait's
reluctance to engage officially with an organization allied
with Israel. Minuto-Rizzo then spoke of the difficulties he
faced around the region. In Saudi for example, he said that
FM Al Saud was in favor of developing the relationship, but
that he could never sell NATO to his country. Qatar, on the
other hand was demonstrating the most flexibility in the GCC,
and he hoped that Kuwait would also take the lead in putting
differences with Israel behind and reaching out to NATO. On
this front, however, the Ambassador indicated he had gained
little ground.

10. BIO Note:
---------

Shaykh Thamer is the son of former Minister of Interior
Shaykh Ali Sabah Al-Salem; the nephew of Foreign Minister
Shaykh Dr. Mohammed Al-Sabah; and the grandson of Amir Shaykh
Sabah Al-Salem, who ruled Kuwait from 1965-1977. He
graduated from Arkansas State University. Shaykh Thamer is
generally pro-American though he openly criticizes U.S.
policies at times.

********************************************* *
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/
********************************************* *
MISENHEIMER

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