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Friday, August 13, 2004

i'd saved this quite a while back and just came across it. for those of you who haven't seen it. no comment:

At a Kuwaiti Feast, a Lot To Chew Over
By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, September 11, 2003; Page C01

There was no booze in the ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown last night because the Kuwaitis don't drink alcohol. But there was plenty of food -- tabbouleh and hummus, huge trays of beef shawarma, tuna and salmon sushi, and silver bowls piled high with shrimp as big as bananas. And a roasted lamb that looked like a lamb, complete with cute little legs, the front ones tied around its cute little head.

Out in the middle of the ballroom stood the guest of honor, a man who had spent the morning meeting with President Bush -- His Highness Sheik Sabah Ahmad Jaber Sabah, the prime minister of Kuwait.

Prime minister? Isn't Kuwait ruled by a hereditary monarch called the emir? Did we somehow miss the news about a hard-fought election for prime minister of Kuwait?

Maybe Ken Minihan knows the answers. Minihan, a former U.S. Air Force general, now works for the American-Kuwait Alliance, a group that promotes business ties between the two countries, the group that sponsored this party. Gen. Minihan, how does one get to be prime minister of Kuwait?

"I haven't a clue," he says, then hustles off to join the receiving line.

Maybe Rima Sabah knows. She's Lebanese by birth, but she's married to Salem Abdullah Jaber Sabah, who is Kuwait's ambassador to the United States. Mrs. Ambassador, how does one get to be prime minister of Kuwait?

She pauses, her brow furrowed in thought beneath her long, frizzy blond hair.

"Hold on," she says, "I don't want to give you incorrect information."

She grabs Tahani Terkate, who is the media attache in the information office of the Kuwaiti Embassy, and asks her how somebody becomes prime minister of Kuwait.

"He was appointed by the emir," Terkate says.

The emir, she adds, is the prime minister's brother.

And now the prime minister is standing in the ballroom, wearing flowing white and black robes and a white cloth called a dhutra atop his head. He has a big white smile below his thick black mustache. He looks younger than his age, which is 74.

He is pleased, he says through a translator, that the Iraqi government that conquered and occupied his country in 1990 has been overthrown.

"We have helped in getting rid of this regime," he says, "because we feel that the Iraqi people and the Kuwaiti people were both victims of the same regime."

How many Kuwaiti troops are fighting in Iraq? he is asked.

"None," he says through the translator. Kuwait has sent only humanitarian aid to Iraq, no troops.


"We didn't think of sending anybody to Iraq to fight," he says. "We think it would be very sensitive for Arabs to fight Arabs, particularly Kuwaitis."

At that, Ambassador Sabah suggests that the interview is over.

But His Excellency Sheik Ahmad Fahad Sabah is eager to talk. He is Kuwait's minister of energy. He is wearing a dark suit and holding a copy of a book called "Bush vs. the Beltway," which was just presented to him by its author, Laurie Mylroie.

He is optimistic, he says, that Iraq can become a democracy. "It will be a very democratic country very soon," he says, smiling.

And what about Kuwait? Can it become democratic soon?

He looks stunned. "We are a democratic country," he says.

But what about that deal where the emir appointed his brother prime minister?

"This is the institution that was approved by the Kuwaiti people," he says. "Ask any Kuwaiti for his opinion. I believe there is agreement by everyone in the country."

He pauses. "Until now," he adds. "I don't know about the future."

John McLaughlin, the boisterous TV pundit, is standing near the bowls of shrimp, eating heartily. Between bites, he ponders why Kuwaiti troops are not fighting in Iraq.

"I think they're being encouraged by us to stay out of the fray, lest we make a complex situation more complex," he says. "I don't know of any Arabs who are fighting alongside us, do you?"

He hands his tray of shrimp remnants to a waiter who is passing by.

"I'm not a military expert," he says. "Although I rise to the occasion when the tube is on."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company


  • I love the first sentence, after the "because."

    By Blogger poiwer, at Friday, August 13, 2004 5:09:00 PM  

  • I remember when this article came out. I was sick with embarrassment. I wish our politicians would just stay home and not fly around the world and expose our fucked up political system. Thy keep telling the world's most developed countries - with a straight face!! - that we are a "democracy", when they don't even know what the word means and secretly hold deep contempt for the democratic process.

    Ordinary Kuwaiti citizens make much better representatives of our country.

    By Blogger Zaydoun, at Friday, August 13, 2004 11:17:00 PM  

  • Those comments were not too surprising, since I stayed in Kuwait during the Gulf War, and noted not too many Kuwaiti men hung around to fight their invaders. Men stayed.

    Forgive my old fashioned attitude, suffice to say, I feel "men" should stay and fight for their country. And Democracy is when ALL in the society are held responsible for their crimes and punished. This includes those from "prominent" families and with the Public Disclosure Law of Islam implemented. That Law would make any criminal convicted of a crime to have his name "publically" posted in the Newspapers to warn other's of his lack of credibility. This equals no Sharia'a and no Democracy.

    Islamic Law= NO WASTA
    Democracy= NO WASTA.


    An American Muslimah More than Willing to Fight For Q8

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, August 31, 2004 12:53:00 PM  

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