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Viewing cable 09KUWAIT110, THE INTERIOR MINISTER'S REMEDY FOR TERRORISTS:

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KUWAIT110 2009-02-05 16:04 2010-11-30 16:04 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Kuwait
VZCZCXRO3981
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHKU #0110/01 0361636
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 051636Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2777
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT  PRIORITY
ID: 190648
ORIGIN: 09KUWAIT110
DATE: 2009-02-05 16:36:00
SOURCE: Embassy Kuwait
CLASSIFICATION: SECRET//NOFORN
MISC: 09KUWAIT95
DESTINATION: VZCZCXRO3981RUEHDE RUEHDIRRUEHKU #0110/01 0361636SSSSS ZZH051636Z FEB 09AMEMBASSY KUWAITRUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2777RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY/COMUSNAVCENT  PRIORITY

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 000110

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2029
TAGS: PREL PTER PINR KU IR
SUBJECT: THE INTERIOR MINISTER'S REMEDY FOR TERRORISTS:
"LET THEM DIE."

REF: KUWAIT 0095

Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S/NF) SUMMARY:  During a February 3 meeting in their
ongoing dialog on US-Kuwait CT cooperation, Kuwaiti Minister
of Interior Shaykh Jaber al-Khalid Al Sabah discussed with
Ambassador US and Kuwaiti efforts to locate and apprehend
terror financiers (including Mohammed Sultan Ibrahim Sultan
Al-Ali, aka Jawad/Abu Umar), applauded improved liaison
information exchange, expressed skepticism Kuwait would ever
develop a rehabilitation center for former GTMO detainees and
other extremists supporting jihad, and suggested the US
should release current GTMO detainees back into Afghanistan,
where they could be killed in combat.  He sardonically
questioned why US NAVCENT forces had gone to the trouble of
rescuing foundering Iranian hashish smugglers two weeks
earlier, saying "God meant to punish them with death and you
saved them.  Why?"  Characterizing the previous Saturday's
provincial elections as a "huge success," Shaykh Jaber
expressed his belief that President Obama and the US had the
tools necessary to successfully confront all challenges.  END
SUMMARY.

2. (S/NF) Ambassador called on Shaykh Jaber February 3 to
review progress on our CT liaison relationship and to seek
the Interior Minister's support for operational concepts
aimed at intercepting individuals involved in the
exploitation of traditional smuggling routes in the northern
Gulf to move would-be jihadists and their
financier/facilitators between Kuwait and Iran, Pakistan and
Afghanistan.  Shaykh Jaber began the meeting by applauding
the "huge success" of the provincial elections in Iraq and
expressing his confidence in the ability of President Obama
and the "super power" US to address current challenges.

3. (S/NF) Ambassador noted she'd met recently with VADM
McCraven, now JSOC commander for this region, and that they'd
discussed alternative approaches to staunching the flows of
terror financing, given the constraints of Kuwait's current
legal and political systems.  Offering his support for these
approaches ) and underscoring that he was as concerned about
terrorist influences from Saudi Arabia as from Iran, given
the loose border controls -- the Minister expressed his
understanding of what he characterized (fairly) as improved
information exchange between our services, while
acknowledging the ongoing deficiencies in Kuwait's legal
system that stymie effective prosecution and restraint of
these individuals once captured.

4. (S/NF) Ambassador noted recent press reports that
self-confessed jihadi recruiter and financier Mohammed
al-Bathali had been released on a 500 dinar bond after being
sentenced to three of a possible five years imprisonment for
"inciting jihad against a friendly state."  (Reftel)  At the
same time, Kuwait's Ambassador to the US, Shaykh Salem Al
Sabah, had approached S/WCI Ambassador Clint Williamson to
inquire after the status of Kuwait's four remaining GTMO
detainees.  Ambassador clarified that President Obama's
announcement of our determination to close the detention
center at Guantanamo did not mean we no longer had security
concerns which would be factored into any release scenarios;
the Kuwaiti detainees were nasty, unrepentant individuals and
Kuwait's record had been tarnished by the example of former
GTMO detainee al-Ajmi, who'd allegedly blown himself up in
Mosul following his release to the Kuwaiti authorities.
Ambassador asked the Interior Minister the status of the
rehabilitation center Prime Minister Shaykh Nasser Mohammed
Al Sabah had mentioned in his September 18th conversation
with then-Secretary Rice in Washington.  Ambassador noted
that we were aware of the stories of Saudis who'd gone
through SAG rehabilitation centers only to re-emerge with Al
Qaeda in Yemen; nonetheless, the GOK had to take steps to
show its seriousness in changing and controlling the
behaviors of extremists within its society.

5. (S/NF) Shaykh Jaber replied with an anecdote:  Following
the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and Desert Storm, General
Schwarzkopf had raised the issue of "rehabilitating" Kuwaitis
who'd been exposed to the brutality of war so that they could
re-integrate into society.  Shaykh (Ret,d General) Jaber had
replied:  "But you are thinking of the Vietnam model, where
young war veterans came home to empty apartments or anonymous
urban environments.  That is not who we are.  We are a small,
close-knit society and everyone knows each other.  No one
will feel alienated: those who can heal will heal naturally
with family; those who cannot heal in that environment will
never heal."  Relating this to the current topic, Shaykh

KUWAIT 00000110  002 OF 002

Jaber told the Ambassador:  "You know better than I that we
cannot deal with these people (i.e. the GTMO detainees).  I
can't detain them.  If I take their passports, they will sue
to get them back (Note:  as happened with Al-Ajmi.  End
note.)  I can talk to you into next week about building a
rehabilitation center, but it won't happen.  We are not Saudi
Arabia; we cannot isolate these people in desert camps or
somewhere on an island.  We cannot compel them to stay.  If
they are rotten, they are rotten and the best thing to do is
get rid of them.  You picked them up in Afghanistan; you
should drop them off in Afghanistan, in the middle of the war
zone."

6. (S/NF) Ambassador then raised with the Minister developing
an SOP for dealing with incidents such as the recent rescue
by US NAVCENT forces in the northern Gulf of seven Iranian
smugglers whose boat was foundering while engaged in
smuggling hashish.  In the event, the Omanis had agreed to
repatriate the Iranians but we nonetheless needed to think
about dealing with similar episodes in future in expeditious
fashion.  The initial response of the Kuwaiti Coast Guard had
been to refer the matter to the Minister of Interior, via the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The Ambassador noted our
supposition that the Kuwaiti Coast Guard must have had
similar experiences with Iranian smugglers who needed
repatriation to Iran.  Smiling broadly, the Interior Minister
deflected the question, saying "God wished to punish them for
smuggling drugs by drowning them, and then you saved them.
So they're your problem!  You should have let them drown."
In any case, he added, the Kuwaitis generally sent the
Iranians back to Iran in their own boats so there had not
been a question of physically handing them over.

7. (S/NF) In closing, Ambassador noted that the Minister had
created the position of Special Advisor to Shaykh Jaber for
Kuwait Security Services (our GRPO liaison counterpart) and
assigned Shaykh Salman Sabah al-Salem al-Humoud Al Sabah to
that role.  Ambassador asked whether the Minister believed
there was any appropriate liaison relationship between the
Embassy and Shaykh Salman, to which the Minister replied in
the negative.  Finally, the Ambassador invited the Minister
to join her in attending the US Ambassador's reception
February 24 at the IDEX event in Abu Dhabi, as part of our
efforts to boost the relationship.

8. (C) COMMENT:  The Minister was as frank and pessimistic as
ever when it came to the subject of apprehending and
detaining terror financiers and facilitators under Kuwait's
current legal and political framework.  Ongoing tensions
between parliament and the PM and his cabinet make any
changes highly unlikely any time soon.  The remaining GTMO
detainees remain a particularly thorny issue for the
leadership here, who privately recognize the downsides of
taking custody and readily acknowledge their inability to
manage them but who remain under strong domestic political
pressure to "bring their boys home."  Telling was the fact
that press accounts of the Ambassador's February 3 meeting
with the Minister (which was one-on-one with a notetaker) and
her meeting two days earlier with the MFA U/S focused solely
on the GTMO issue, although it was discussed only marginally.
END COMMENT.

********************************************* *********
For more reporting from Embassy Kuwait, visit:
visit Kuwait's Classified Website at:

http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Kuwa it
********************************************* *********
JONES