Cablegate: Courtesy Call On Mod's Shaykh Sabah Al-Nasser Al

DE RUEHKU #1400/01 2591100
P 161100Z SEP 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 001400




E.O. 12958: DECL: 2017

KUWAIT 00001400 001.2 OF 002

Classified By: CDA Misenheimer for reasons 1.4 b and d

1. (C) Summary. On September 6, Charg and Chief, OMC-K paid
a courtesy call on Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense Under
Secretary Shaykh Sabah Al-Nasser Al Sabah. The Under
Secretary offered his thoughts on an ongoing investigation of
aircraft engine sales to Iran, his dreams of upgrading the
Kuwaiti military, and why some Muslims and Arabs hate the
United States. End Summary.

Airplane engines to Iran

2. (C) According to a September 5 Kuwait Times article, the
Kuwait Security Services arrested a Kuwaiti national for
allegedly trying to sell aircraft engines to the Iranian
Ministry of Defense, an act in violation of UN sanctions
forbidding the sale of any military equipment to Iran. The
individual reportedly bought the engines in 1992 from the
Kuwait MOD and plans to sell them for KD 40,000
(approximately USD 150,000). U/S Sabah confirmed the report,
and added that the MOD was launching an investigation into
the matter.

Upgrade Kuwaiti military

3. (C) U/S Sabah told Charg that Kuwait needs to upgrade
its military. Describing Israel as a model of how a
relatively small, technically proficient military can survive
and attain success in a hostile region, he said that Kuwait's
30,000-40,000 service members need to maximize their
technological potential. He wants to see them "run the whole
thing with a push of a button." He also proposed a joint
venture with a Kuwaiti military academy and West Point to
develop the premier academy for military officer training in
the region.

Views on why a portion of Muslims/Arabs hate the U.S.
--------------------------------------------- --------

4. (C) According to U/S Sabah, the reason that a portion of
Arabs and Muslims hate the U.S. is that the American response
to 9/11 thwarted the plans of a small radical group to take
over the region and establish an Islamic theocracy. He added
that this group consists of influential Arabs and Islamists
from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and even Kuwait
organizing themselves to become the leaders of a unified
Islamic power. As evidence of extremist interference in
regional internal issues, he pointed to how Arabs are killing
each other in every Arab country, and he lamented about how
little recognition the U.S. gets for its role in saving
countless thousands of Muslims in Bosnia.

The cost of peace

5. (C) U/S Sabah said that Iran is determined to have
nuclear power and that the region "will suffer for sure." He
lamented how Arabs condemned the 1981 Israeli attack of the
Iraqi Osirak nuclear facility, but forget what a tremendous
threat Saddam would have been to the region, and notably
Kuwait, had he obtained nuclear weapons. In terms of the
concept of American hegemony, in contradiction to most
accounts we receive in the region, he said that, "If American
dominance creates peace in the world, we accept it." He also
called for UN control of Jerusalem and said that Syrian
dependence on financial aid from regional neighbors prevents
its ever having peace with Israel.

For the Bio file:

6. (C) U/S Sabah is overtly pro-American and has remained
grateful to the U.S. for liberating Kuwait. He told the
Charg that he remained in Kuwait for the Iraqi invasion and
the seven months of occupation that followed. Though he is
an MOD Under Secretary, he has a diminished military role.
When asked questions on military matters, he deferred to the
'other wing', i.e. the portion run by the Kuwait Armed Forces
Chief of Staff. (Note: Post deems that U/S Sabah, who
considers himself an architect and inventor, holds his senior
position with the MOD due to nepotism, not professional
qualifications. Despite his apparent lack of interest in
military operational issues, he is an important contact due
to his pro-U.S. views and influential family connections.
End note.)

Bio Notes:


U/S Sabah
--graduated from Catholic University in WDC as an architect
--claims that he has 14 patents on inventions with the U.S.
Patent Office
--is known as one of the few members of the Al Sabah (ruling
family) who stayed in Kuwait during the Iraqi occupation

His brother, Shaykh Saud Al-Nasser Al Sabah, was the Kuwait
Ambassador to the U.S. during the Iraqi occupation. He later
became the Minster of Information and then Minister of Oil
until February 2001. Another brother, Shaykh Talal Al-Nasser
Al Sabah was convicted of smuggling/selling heroin and
sentenced to death (pending appeal) in early 2007.

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