Issuu on Google+

RI PT IO N BS C SU THE LEADING INDEPENDENT DAILY IN THE ARABIAN GULF

40 PAGES

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2010

THULHIJA 24, 1431 AH

NO: 14924

World scrambles to deal with the WikiLeaks fallout

Lost generation: Shortage of staff threatens nuclear renaissance

Long term residency for expats boost domestic economy

PAGE 13

PAGE 15

PAGE 23

150 FILS

High fives as Barcelona humiliate Real and Mourinho PAGE 20

Wikileaks expose hidden Gulf views on Iran Leaks show rising Arab fear of Tehran RIYADH: The disclosure in leaked US cables that Gulf Arab leaders want Washington to destroy Iran’s nuclear program exposes long-hidden views that will kill any chance of detente with Tehran. From Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, to tiny Bahrain, Gulf Arab rulers revealed a reality they had spent years trying to hide publicly. The views in the cables released by the WikiLeaks website contrast with the public stance of those Sunni rulers whose statements on their religious rivals in Shiite Iran and its

Op-ed by US Ambassador

P

re s i d e n t Obama a n d Secretary of State Hillary R o d h a m Clinton have made it a priority to reinvigorate America’s re l a t i o n s h i p s around the Deborah Jones world. They have been working hard to strengthen our existing partnerships and build new ones to meet shared challenges, from climate change, to ending the threat of nuclear weapons to fighting disease and poverty. As the United States Ambassador to Kuwait, I’m proud to be part of this effort. The United States and Kuwait have a strong and enduring partnership, based on trust, mutual confidence and shared values. For nearly a quarter-century we have pursued a shared vision for peace and regional security, strengthened by a common commitment to democratic values and economic prosperity. Kuwait’s vibrant and occasionally boisterous democracy is familiar to us; our financial and energy relationships are stable, mutually beneficial and long standing. I have had the honor to work to sustain and expand our alliance and friendship, and I am grateful for the outstanding support for that endeavor I have received from the Kuwaiti government and its citizenry. Of course, even a solid relationship will have its ups and downs. We have seen that in the past few days, when documents purportedly downloaded from US Defense Department computers became the subject of reports in the media. They appear to contain our diplomats’ assessments of policies, negotiations, and leaders from countries around the world as well as reports on private conversations with people inside and outside other governments. I cannot vouch for the authenticity of any one of these documents. But I can say that the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential. And we condemn it. Diplomats must engage in frank discussions with their colleagues, and they must be assured that these discussions will remain private. Honest dialogue-within governments and between them-is part of the basic bargain of international relations; we couldn’t maintain peace, security, and international stability without it. I’m sure that Kuwait’s ambassadors to the United States would say the same thing. They too depend on being able to exchange honest opinions with their counterparts in Washington and send home their assessments of America’s leaders, policies, and actions. ‘Sadeeqak min sadaqak.’ Indeed, we highly value the frank exchanges we have with our friends and allies. Contrary to what some may perceive or believe, the US does not speak from a position of assumed perfection; we are painfully aware of our own flaws and work to address them as well, of ten reserving our harshest criticisms for ourselves. While we acknowledge and welcome and even celebrate the open ‘give and take’ of Kuwait’s diwaniya culture and the relatively free exchange of information here, we recognize and believe strongly in the necessity for discretion and confidentiality in our official exchanges, particularly those of a sensitive, deliberative nature. In an increasingly interactive, sometimes painfully transparent global environment, this becomes an ever greater challenge. I do believe that people of good faith recognize that diplomats’ internal reports Continued on Page 13

nuclear program have until now been far more conciliatory. The revelations, however, do confirm the depth of suspicion and hatred of the Shiites among Sunni Arab leaders, especially in Saudi Arabia, the leading Sunni power and which regards Iran as an existential threat. That concern was intensified by the rise of the Shiites in Iraq after the US-led invasion of 2003 - the first time the Shiites have controlled an Arab heartland country for nearly a millennium. For Sunni Gulf rulers, seeing Iraq fall

under Shiite influence was shocking enough, but the fear of a nuclear Iran is something they find even more alarming. According to the leaked cables, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah repeatedly exhorted the United States to “cut off the head of the snake” by launching military strikes to destroy Iran’s nuclear program. He has never publicly called on Washington to use force against Iran. The Bahraini king also said Iran’s nuclear program should be halted by any means, and the crown prince of the emirate of Abu

Dhabi saw “the logic of war dominating” when it comes to dealing with the Iranian threat. “I think it confirms that the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) states are all more united on the anti-Iranian front than previously disclosed,” said Theodore Karasik, a Dubai-based analyst. DEEP MISTRUST Saudi analyst Khaled Al-Dakhil said the cables were a reminder of the deep mistrust between Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as other Gulf Arab states. “I don’t think Iran takes at face value public decla-

rations coming from the Gulf, whether for a war or not-just as Gulf leaders do not believe declarations about how peaceful the Iranian nuclear program is,” he said. The leaks show the extent of the worry that Iran’s nuclear program is causing in the region. “Iran should take note of the distress that its nuclear program is causing in the region-this is not something that should be ignored,” said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center. Iran denies its nuclear program is a

cover to build a nuclear bomb and says it is purely for peaceful purposes. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday appeared to play down the impact the WikiLeaks disclosures, saying they would not hurt Tehran’s relations with its Gulf neighbors. The United States has repeatedly said the military option to halt the Iranian nuclear program is on the table, but US military chiefs have also made clear it is a last resort, fearing it could ignite wider conflict in the Middle East. Continued on Page 13

Islamist MPs target women in swimsuits MPs propose one-year jail term, KD1000 fine By B Izzak

NEWCASTLE: A main arterial road A1 in Newcastle, England, which was closed between Berwick and Edinburgh as heavy snowfall continues to cause travel chaos in the north-east of England yesterday. — AP (See Page 13)

Kuwait to spend $90 billion on oil projects KUWAIT: OPEC member Kuwait plans to spend as much as $90 billion on oil projects inside and outside the country over the next five years, a top oil executive said yesterday. “About $90 billion will be spent over the next five years to achieve our strategy,” said Hashim AlRefaai, managing director for planning with Kuwait Petroleum Corp (KPC), the state’s national oil conglomerate. More than a third of the amount is earmarked for two major projects to build a new refinery at a cost of $14 billion and upgrading two existing refineries for $16.3 billion, he told the 6th annual conference on Kuwait projects organized by MEED. The two projects have been stalled by political disputes between MPs and the government over the past five years. The 615,000-barrels per day (bpd) refinery project was scrapped by the government after awarding it to South Korean and Japanese firms due to protests by Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: Chairman and managing director of the Kuwait Oil Company, Sami Al-Rasheed, speaks on the first day of the 6th annual Kuwait Projects 2010 Conference yesterday. — AFP

KUWAIT: Five Islamist MPs have proposed a one-year jail term and a fine of KD1,000 for women who wear swimsuits at public beaches and who show parts of their body in public. The bill, submitted by MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabai, Faisal Al-Muslim, Khaled AlSultan, Falah Al-Sawwagh and Jamaan Al-Harbash, calls to add a new article to the penal code to curb immoral behavior. In the explanatory note, MPs said that immoral practices have increased at the beaches and since there is no clear law, coastguards have been unable to deal with moral violations. Liberal MP Aseel Al-Awadhi swif tly deplored the proposal as an infringement on personal freedom and a violation of the country’s constitution. She said that the bill is also discriminatory since it is only targeting women and does not apply to men, adding that if it is passed in the assembly, it will be unconstitutional. Continued on Page 13

Omani ruler celebrates 40 years on the throne MUSCAT: Omani ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said attended a parade yesterday as part of festivities marking his 40th year on the throne in the tiny oil-rich Arabian Peninsula country. Jordan’s King Abdullah II was guest of honor at the parade of military bands performing along with some 13,000 folkloric dancers and musicians. Sultan Qaboos assumed the throne in 1970 after overthrowing his father, Sultan Sultan Qaboos bin Said Said bin Taymur, in a bloodless coup. When he took over the reins of power, Oman was an isolated country living on the margins of the modern world with little or no infrastructure. But over the years Sultan Qaboos has transformed his country — which sits atop proven gas reserves of 660 million cubic meters into a modern state that thrives on human development. Unlike most Gulf nations, Oman is not a member of the giant oil cartel OPEC, although it produces about 800,000 barrels of oil daily, as well as some three billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas. The tiny Gulf state is a close ally of Britain, with which it has a history of close military and economic ties. Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip and British Foreign Secretary William Hague have just completed a short visit to the country. Muscat has close ties to the United States, and also maintains strong relations with Iran. Oman and Iran are co-guardians of the Strait of Hormuz, gateway into the oil-rich Gulf through which an estimated 40 percent of the world’s crude oil passes. — AFP

DAMASCUS: The speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Jassem Al-Khorafi speaks during the opening session of the Fifth Conference of the Association of Asian Parliaments in Damascus yesterday. — AFP

Investment Dar committee quits CAIRO: The debt-saddled Kuwaiti Islamic investment firm that owns a majority stake in automaker Aston Martin blasted a committee representing its creditors of trying to “derail” restructuring talks, and said it accepted the committee’s resignation. The development, outlined in a statement emailed yesterday from The Investment Dar, marks the latest hurdle in restructuring talks with a firm that was among Kuwait’s most prominent investment houses. Like many of its peers in the small oil rich nation, however, TID faces massive debts stemming from a spending spree earlier this decade. Its debt stands at roughly KD1.15 billion. TID said it accepted the creditor coordinating committee’s resignation after it

rejected what it deemed an unfair debt to equity swap. The committee had proposed an exchange of KD 475 million of debt for a 90 percent stake in the company. The deal would have lef t TID shareholders with 10 percent of the company and shouldering KD600 million in debt. “It is clear that the purpose of this offer and the proposal outlined in the (committee’s) letter to negotiate a Debt for Equity plan on this basis is not aimed at reaching an agreement on debt settlement,” TID said. “The objective is to derail negotiations between the Company and its banks and investors, depriving the shareholders of their rights and to lay the foundations for the destruction of the Company’s value.” Continued on Page 13

Blasts kill Iran nuke scientist Tehran accuses CIA, Mossad TEHRAN: Twin blasts in Iran’s capital killed a top nuclear scientist and wounded another yesterday, with Tehran swiftly blaming the CIA and Mossad for the attacks apparently carried out by men on motorcycles. Slain scientist Majid Shahriari and Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, who survived the attack, were senior figures in Iran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects of having military aims. Tehran denies the charge. The attacks came af ter diplomatic cables that whistleblower website WikiLeaks released on Sunday revealed Saudi Arabia’s king “repeatedly” urged Washington to take military action against

Tehran’s nuclear program. Tehran police chief Hossein Sajedi-nia said the scientists were targeted on their way to work in two different parts of the capital by men on motorcycles who attached bombs to their cars. “Dr Shahriari was killed and his wife and driver were injured. Dr Abbasi and his wife have been injured,” he was quoted as saying in media reports. Iran’s presidential office and interior minister accused the US and Israeli intelligence services, the CIA and Mossad, of killing the two who were also professors at Tehran’s prestigious Shahid Beheshti University. “The Zionist regime this time shed the Continued on Page 13


30 Nov