Dr. Mohammad AlSabah responds to Robert Fisk's article and refutes his claims about Kuwait.
Letter to the Editor of the Independent

I have read Mr. Robert Fisk’s article on Kuwait entitled “Gulf War legacy flares as ‘stingy’ Kuwait puts the squeeze on Iraq”. I must confess my great disappointment with its contents which at best can 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 in no doubt agree that using hostile adjectives such as “stingy”, “ruthless”, “greedy”, “stealing”, “thieving” and “mean” in describing my country are clearly baseless and wholly unfounded.

We in Kuwait are proud and honoured to be one of the leading countries when it comes to international assistance efforts in helping those countries less fortunate through our numerous contributions and grants undertaken by the Government of the State of Kuwait. This has been and remains to be a corner stone of Kuwaiti foreign policy since our independence.

Let me list just a few facts that highlight some of these efforts undertaken during the last three years only;

Fact … According to the UN Millennium Development Goals report for 2005: “The overall average Kuwaiti official development assistance is 1.31% of GNP which accounts to almost double the agreed UN target of 0.7% of GNP for advanced countries”. To be sure, the average OECD’s rate is 0.46% of GNP which makes Kuwait’s generosity triple that of the most advanced economies.

Fact … 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 billions.

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

Fact … 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 billions to which Kuwait contributed $500 millions to kick start this fund (It’s worth remembering that all these generous initiatives were undertaken during a time of an unprecedented global economic crisis. Nevertheless, Kuwait has never missed the forest for the trees and remained committed in further fulfilling its international role as a leader in foreign aid and assistance despite the current turbulent financial circumstances).

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

Fact … Kuwait supported the Palestinians by extending a $500 millions financial assistance of which $200 millions was allocated for Gaza.

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.

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.

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 peoples. 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 it’s 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 good will.

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.

Dr. Mohammad Al Sabah

Foreign Minister of the State of Kuwait.

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