Kuwait's Foreign Minister shuts Fisk Up

Do you remember the nasty article from ‘The Independent’ I posted weeks ago? The one where Robert Fisk attacked Kuwait ? Well, rejoice! An official letter was sent to the british newspaper by Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Mohammed AlـSabah. Barrad chabdy to say the least!

From AlWatan:

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammed AlـSabah said here Wednesday that facts bearing testimony to Kuwait”s bountiful help to the world”s impoverished countries cannot be ignored. The minister made the remarks in response to a recent article written by Robert Fisk that was published on the Independent titled “Gulf War legacy flares as stingy Kuwait puts the squeeze on Iraq.”

He boasted that Kuwait was proud of being in the forefront of the countries that extends international aid to less fortunate nations and dismissed the labeling of Kuwait as “stingy.” In his letter to the editor of the Independent, the Kuwaiti foreign minister said: “I have read Mr. Robert Fisk”s article on Kuwait titled ”Gulf War legacy flares as ”stingy” Kuwait puts the squeeze on Iraq.” I must confess my great disappointment with its contents which can at best only be described as hostile, therefore a few remarks are in order to put the record straight.”

“Indeed those of you who are familiar with Kuwait quite well will undoubtedly agree that using hostile adjectives such as “stingy”, ”ruthless”, ”greedy”, ”stealing”, ”thieving” and ”mean” in describing my country are clearly baseless and fully unfounded.”

“We in Kuwait are proud and honored to be one of the leading countries when it comes to international assistance efforts in helping those countries that are less fortunate through our numerous contributions and grants undertaken by the Government of the State of Kuwait. This has been and will remain to be a cornerstone of Kuwaiti foreign policy since our independence.”

He went on to say: “Let me list just a few facts that highlight some of these efforts undertaken during the last three years only; Fact ـ According to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals report for 2005: The overall average Kuwaiti official development assistance is 1.31 percent of GNP which accounts for almost double the agreed U.N. target of 0.7 percent of GNP of advanced countries. To be sure, the average OECD”s rate is 0.46 percent of GNP which makes Kuwait”s generosity triple that of the most advanced economies.”

“Fact ـ since the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development was established back in 1961 to function as the venue through which the government of Kuwait extends foreign aid and assistance, Kuwait has extended numerous financial and technical assistance packages to more than 100 countries around the world totaling $14.5 billion.

“Fact ـ Some of the most recent efforts undertaken by the government was the creation of ”Decent Living Fund” in which Kuwait contributed $100 million as an emergency fund set up to help the less developed countries to address the issue of rising food prices. Furthermore, Kuwait has allocated $300 million towards the eradication of hunger and disease in Africa.

“Fact ـ In addition, H.H. the Amir of Kuwait has most recently called for the promotion and support of micro and medium sized projects in the Arab World by establishing a fund with a capital of $2 billion to which Kuwait contributed $500 million to kickـstart this fund (it”s worth remembering that all these generous initiatives were undertaken during a time of the unprecedented global economic crisis. Nevertheless, Kuwait has never missed the forest for the trees and remained committed in further fulfilling its international roles as a leader in foreign aid and assistance despite the current turbulent financial circumstances).

“Fact ـ Kuwait extended a helping hand to Lebanon by granting $300 million to assist in the reconstruction efforts following the Israeli aggression of 2006.

“Fact ـ Kuwait supported the Palestinians by extending a $500 million financial assistance of which $200 million was allocated for Gaza.”

He continued saying: “May I remind the author that facts are stubborn things. The aforementioned can hardly be construed as the actions taken by a ”stingy” government to use his wording.”

“So here begs a question; how can a country like Kuwait be remotely accused of malevolent intentions as stated by the author? Let me assure all your readers that Kuwait will never rest on its laurels in continuing to secure our advanced global position in assisting the needy.”

“It is also with privilege to note that there is no other country in the region that has sacrificed more than Kuwait in order to contribute in the historic task of the liberation of Iraq and its people from the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein.”

The article has also undoubtedly avoided a matter of critical significance to the maintenance of international law and order, namely the sanctity of Security Council resolutions, he noted.
States must not be allowed to pick and choose what resolutions, articles or items…etc they wish to implement as opposed to those they wish to ignore. By their very nature UN resolutions are sacrosanct and must be adhered to by all parties, he urged.

The underlining factor to Kuwait regarding the issue of reparations is, and has always been an issue of principle and never was, nor will be, an issue of money.

“It”s truly sad when people start to give credence to past accusations that have been thoroughly discredited by the facts. I am here specifically referring to the former Iraqi dictator”s lies that Kuwait was ”stealing” Iraq”s oil as a justification for invading a sovereign nation. The article has audaciously tried to victimize a ruthless dictator by indicating that Kuwait was ”thieving” oil from Iraq. Not only were these accounts an attempt at engaging in historic revisionism, but one also cannot help but ponder the motives behind such an argument.

“We must also pay special tribute to the new Iraq and its brotherly people. Iraq is undoubtedly one of the richest countries in the world in terms of heritage, culture and natural resources. As such, we in Kuwait are fully committed to the efforts of stabilizing and rehabilitating Iraq to enable its reemergence as a pivotal player of peace and security in the region; stemming from our priority to seek the construction of an ideal relationship with Iraq based on mutual respect and goodwill.”

“Finally, while it might be true that the Versailles Treaty contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler, I am certain that the Appeasement strategy at the Munich Conference of 1938 led to the outbreak of WW2. Perhaps going back to some history books is in order after all.”

Credit: Charts & Numbers


This entry was posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

16 Responses to “Kuwait’s Foreign Minister shuts Fisk Up”

  1. Dima says:

    alla y3afee!! someone needs to make ppl wake up and see who the real kuwaitis are..( “stingy” fisk says, ohoo sh3arrifa?!)

  2. lemon-aid says:

    ya7laila…wallah allah y3afe barad chabdna cuz that article 9ij rfa3at thaq6i!!!! question: did his reply to the article got published in other international newspapers wela bas il wa6an?

  3. Bu Yousef says:

    Thank you.

  4. Bu Yousef says:

    Thank you.
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  5. Fascinating. Thanks for informing me of this. This is very useful.

  6. Qwerty says:

    Barrad chabdey!

    Zain ysawee. The guy name-called Kuwait as “stingy” in the title, and headed on to explain the history of Iraq. He did not back up his claim in the article (madre lesh metfalsef o raz elkelma bel title in the beginning ya3ni).
    Some facts needed to be put up, and that’s what happened in the reply .. as good as it gets 😀

  7. Maxine says:

    Nice looking site you have – are you having fun with it? It’s interesting and well worth the time to visit.

  8. Hi,
    I hope your read Fisk’s article over and over again. I agree that Fisk might have hurt the feelings of Kuwaitis, but I totally beleive that Mr. Al Sabah DID NOT respond to Fisk’s argument as much as he responded to Fisk.. this sounds crazy I know.. ;p

    Let’s examine this scenario:

    Bob: Hey Mike You cheated on the exam!
    Mike: I’ve got “the most honest” award in high school!

    —– Mike fails to explain to Bob that he wasn’t cheating, instead brags about his award.

    I personally do not know why Kuwait at that time increased oil production, I never heard the reasons why Kuwait did not respond to Iraq, I never heard anyone defending Kuwait on accusations of stealing Iraqi oil; If Al Sabah’s letter had those explainations… Le kul 7adethin 7adeeth..

    I hope ma 6awalt-ha 3alaikom.. and Ramadan Kareem

  9. Sean says:

    Kudos to Alvaro. Some honesty in the land of contradiction.
    Kill 40+, be free, but eat in public during Ramadan? Jail for you! The PM listed facts filled with jargon that the expats from third world countries working here would crap on.

    Here is one fact he stated: ـ Kuwait supported the Palestinians by extending a $500 million financial assistance of which $200 million was allocated for Gaza.

    So! Palestinians in Kuwait are treated like second class citizens. Money isn’t everything! That’s how colonist think. Rape a country for 400 years and oh yes, take 10 billion dollars.

    The issue at hand here is TRUTH, something Kuwaiti’s have a hard time dealing with in part because I think many of you lack heart and identity.

    Yes Kuwait has done much for the region but no matter how many billions you allocate, the treatment of nationalities (aside from those you bow down too US, UK and her territories) is deplorable at best. Many of these countries sharing your same religion.

    What the PM failed to allude to was Kuwait’s true history that I’ve notice has been systematically masked as if it were never part of Iraq.

    To understand Kuwait’s stability one should only look back a score ago when the US acting as mercenaries brought Kuwait back under its control and at the same time making an example out of Iraq so that other small nations would not be tempted to work out their own destiny.

    Stop trying to be white because its easing through your pores! They will never accept you know matter how many episodes of Friends and House you watch.

    This is not to rant and rave because as a muslim I love you, but I would be a fool and less of a brother to say anything different.

    So be truthful! It will be free your heart. Ramadan Kareem

  10. Yousef says:

    Alvaro Intriguing! I asked around and no one gave me a good answer as to why was the increase in oil production.

    Sean The degradation of expats and classifying people as second class citizens is something I’m ashamed of, and a truth I can’t deny, but then again if you’re trying to imply that this is happening only in Kuwait then you should go back to whatever rock you’ve been living under.

    Almost every country on the planet have the same problem, It’s very common. Second class citizens have been marked that for different reasons in different countries. Sometimes it’s the nationality that paint you inferior, other times it’s the family name, your faith, wealth, influence, power.. and so on. People have been marked inferior for different reasons all through history. It’s not just in Kuwait where expats and others are treated unfairly. It is everywhere. Implying that it’s only happening in Kuwait, or that it is happening to a bigger degree in Kuwait is false and would make you appear less informed or subjective.

    So, since all countries are guilty to a certain degree, therefor, the Billions we’ve spent should be taken as a GREAT DEAL. something no one should look past. It puts Kuwait high above any other less-helpful country. Down playing that is disgusting to say the least. And that is exactly why I think the Minister’s letter was on point.

    “Stop trying to be white because its easing through your pores! They will never accept you know matter how many episodes of Friends and House you watch.”

    I love FRIENDS! I don’t like House that much though; I think the role of the commanding and all knowing figure has been beaten to death, in movies and on message boards. Anyway, I don’t know if that was directed at me or Kuwaitis in general, but in both cases I think what you said was pretty ignorant.

    Ramadan Mbarak to you too.

  11. Sean says:

    Peace Yousef, I notice that you misunderstood the intent of my comment. I am aware that this is happening in other countries but I find it especially tough to comprehend when this goes on in Islamic countries. What I find troubling is that where I find Arabs subscribing to Anglo/US ideals, they seem to treat other nationalities in their country even worse.

    You mention social stratification and ethnic differences as some of the causes of deplorable treatment other other nationalities in Kuwait. And yes this goes on in other Islamic countries but not to the extent that it goes on here! From reading the paper daily I learn of the countless maids committing suicide, killing their sponsor’s babies, and being raped by the their sponsor’s. I single out Kuwait because these things do not go on rampantly like in other countries. In fact some of the are the sickest I have heard/ And the BILLIONS are suppose to make one down play that.
    If you look history, the monetary tactic practiced by white power structures. Its like I take over your house and give you 50KD after 20 years. So please excuse the implication that its only Kuwait, I think Kuwait has the worse conditions but is also in a positions to change much quicker than other countries.

    Lastly, the “stop trying to be white comment” is directed at all Kuwaitis and Arabs in general. I am all for cultural diffusion but it should not come at the cost of your own. When I am with my American brethren, they laugh at you all. As an American Muslim, I feel pretty pissed about the jokes but I know how we think. History tells us that the US/UK use their culture to make others forget about theirs.

    On a side note, this is not a Kuwaiti rant. I peep your blog out daily and I find tight stuff on here. So no I am not hatin….Peace and love homes!

  12. Marzouq says:

    I honestly think that he made his point and shot back, but in reality the attrocities done by Iraq should be accounted for and these are regulations. Not when a country has a new regime or government that they should be absolved of all responsibility.

    Overall Fisk doesn’t have facts, he puts the information he wants together in a way he wants it percieved. As mentioned by Dr. Mohammed that Kuwait has done a lot of good for a lot of countries and more so then many other countries.

  13. 1001Nights says:

    Alvaro, I disagree with you because the article’s very title mentioned Kuwaitis being stingy and he responded to that directly and extremely well. My hunch is that he didn’t get into the oil production issue because he doesn’t want to give it any credence. Also, it would have been ill-advised had he gotten into a criticism of Iraq due to what Fisk said because those are delicate diplomatic relations that should not be swayed by what some guy (whose neither Kuwaiti nor Iraqi nor a political figure) wrote in a foreign newspaper.

    Having said that, I think we Kuwaitis at least ought to know what happened with regards to the oil production issue – WE WERE WITHIN OUR OPEC QUOTA! There was an OPEC meeting in July of 1990 and Iraq wanted to raise the minimum reference price for crude petroleum oil to $25. BUT the agreement at the meeting was raised it to only $21. That was the compromise price! This was an agreement reached at the OPEC meeting, and regarded as one of its most serious attempts to stem overproduction. Please bear in mind that we Kuwaitis did not need to raise production over the quota to finance our budget – we had a surplus close to 30% of GDP in 1989, the year right before the invasion! Why would we ignore the quota and raise political hell for us then? The accusation that we were launching economic warfare against Iraq was false. Let’s not pay it any credence.

  14. Ali says:

    Very good replay from Shaikh Mohammed

  15. 1001 nights – I think the issue here is production, not price. Plus please tell me where and who commented on those allegations – North oil field? Overproduction during a time where Iraq was economically suffering. I am not making up stories here. Ask the press about it and you will get answers. Ask the press this: Who answered or replied to the Iraqi allegations? All I am asking is a simple question.. Did anyone have an answer? Did anyone really present an answer, if so please guide me to the path of light..

  16. 1001Nights says:

    Alvaro, the price issue is linked to the production issue – the more you produce the lower the price gets so you’re talking about one and the same thing. The main reason they care about overproduction is because it would push down the price. Now Iraq doesn’t get to say how much is “overproduction” it is OPEC that gets to say that. To sort out the quarreling and reach a compromise we settled on fixing it to a higher price, at that time $21, bass that was a compromise.

    And as for no one answering, I’d be surprised or rather shocked if Kuwaitis didn’t say an earful as a response to the allegations. I’m not sure which press you’re looking at but please bear in mind two things: 1) lack of use of internet at the time 2) it’s Kuwait and responses are likely to be in Arabic so even harder to find. Having said that, my understanding is that our Prime Minister at the time, Alla yur7uma, Shaikh Saad, DID respond to the Iraqi allegations and some time after words the Iraqi press attacked him personally. So I simply don’t buy that Kuwaitis sat there and shut up while they were being accused of all kinds of stuff by Iraq.