US embassy cable - 90STATE244793

IRAQ IS NOT BLINKING

Identifier: 90STATE244793
Wikileaks: View 90STATE244793 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 1990-07-26 10:24:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL EPET KU US IZ
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 261024Z JUL 90
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
INFO USDEL SECRETARY IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 244793 
 
 
FOLLOWING BAGHDAD 04258 DTD JULY 26, 1990 SENT ACTION 
STATE, INFO KUWAIT, ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE, BEING REPEATED 
FOR YOUR INFO: 
 
QUOTE: 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 04258 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PREL, EPET, KU, US, IZ 
SUBJECT: IRAQ IS NOT BLINKING 
 
REF: BAGHDAD 4210 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  SUMMARY:  IT IS IRAQI "RIGHTS," INCLUDING TO 
RUMAYLA OIL, WHICH PUSHES VISITING MEDIA FOR VISITING 
MUBARAK INTO SECOND PLACE IN THE JULY 24 
HEADLINES.  KUWAITI LEADERS ARE URGED TO OUST 
THEIR FOREIGN MINISTER FOR PRO-U.S. POLICIES 
AND THE UAE IS OFFICIALLY LABELED A 
"CONSPIRATOR" WITH THE U.S. AGAINST THE ARABS. 
IRAQ INSERTS IN GENEVA ITS VIEW THAT OIL SHOULD 
BE "NOT LESS THAN USD 25" AND CLAIMS THE SAG AGREES. 
END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  THE GOVERNMENT-DIRECTED IRAQI PRESS ON 
JULY 25 GAVE EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT MUBARAK'S 
THREE-HOUR VISIT THE PREVIOUS DAY SMALL 
HEADLINES, A FRONT PAGE PHOTO, AN UNINFORMATIVE 
REPORT ON INSIDE PAGES, AND NO EDITORIAL COMMENT. 
ARAB LEAGUE SYG KLIBI'S PRESENCE RECEIVED 
VIRTUALLY NO PRESS ATTENTION. 
 
4.  BY CONTRAST, THE PRESS GAVE A RED BANNER TO 
FONMIN TARIQ AZIZ' ASSERTION (IN HIS SECOND 
LETTER TO ARAB LEAGUE SYG--REFTEL) THAT THE 
RUMAYLA OIL FIELD IS IRAQI "BY NAME AND TERRITORY." 
(WE PRESUME THIS WAS SADDAM'S MESSAGE TO MUBARAK.) 
TEXT OF AZIZ' JULY 21 LETTER (FBIS JN2407093790) 
AND THAT OF DEPUTY PRIMIN SA'DUN HAMMADI TO KUWAITI 
RULER (FBIS JN2407102990) ARE BOTH PRINTED IN FULL IN 
ARABIC AND ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS, AND ARE SUMMARIZED 
IN REFTEL. 
 
5.  THE GOI IS CONTINUING ITS PUBLIC ATTACK ON 
KUWAIT AND ITS RULERS.  FONMIN AZIZ, IN A 
STATEMENT TO REPORTERS JULY 24, REJECTFD THE GOK'S 
PROPOSAL THAT THE BORDER DISPUTE GO TO 
ARBITRATION AND SUGGESTED INSTEAD THAT THE PROBLEM 
BE SOLVED BILATERALLY.  FURTHER, HE CALLED ON THE 
KUWAITI LEADERSHIP TO EXPEL THE "CIRCLES OF 
CONSPIRACY" (I.E., THOSE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR 
OVERPRODUCTION AND FOR THE PRO-U.S. POLICY), 
DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM THE CONSPIRACY AND EXPEL 
CONSPIRATORS FROM DECISION MAKING POSITIONS (A 
TRANSPARENT CALL FOR THE REMOVAL OF KUWAITI FONMIN 
SABAHAL-AHMAD). 
 
6.  EDITORIALS ALL CONCENTRATE ON ATTACKING KUWAIT 
AND ITS RULERS, REITERATING THE GOI'S EARLIER 
CLAIMS AND ADDING A FEW NEW TWISTS.  "ATH-THAWRA'S" 
PAGE ONE MAIN EDITORIAL ACCUSES THE KUWAITI RULERS 
OF BEING "LIARS, THIEVES AND U-S. AGENTS."  ITS 
OTHER FRONT PAGE EDITORIAL, BY A LIBYAN, CHARGES 
THAT THE KUWAITIS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AGAINST 
PAN-ARABISM, ALIGNED WITH FOREIGNERS AND IMPORTED 
ASIAN WORKERS, THEREBY EXPELLING PALESTINIANS 
AND EGYPTIANS.  A  PAGE TWO EDITORIAL CLAIMS THAT 
THE ONLY SOLIDARITY THE KUWAITIS UNDERSTAND IS 
THAT OF AMASSING MONEY IN SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS 
THROUGH A CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE ARAB NATTON. 
 
U.S. NAVAL ACTIVITY 
------------------- 
 
7.  ALL PAPERS HIGHLIGHT OFFICIAL GOI SPOKESMAN'S 
COMMENTS ON THE PENTAGON STATEMENT THAT THE U.S. 
AND UAE NAVIES ARE UNDERTAKING A JOINT OPERATION. 
"THE CONSPIRATORS ARE SEARCHING FOR PRETEXTS AND 
COVERS TO MAKE THE PRESENCE OF THE U.S. FLEET ON 
ACCEPTABLE FACT IN THE REGION" IS ONE HEADLINE. 
"THE CONSPIRATORS HAVE BEEN EXPOSED PUBLICLY FOR 
CONSPIRING AGAINST IRAQ AND THE ARAB NATION" RUNS 
A SUB-HEADLINE.  (COMMENT:  IT IS NOT CLEAR WHO 
THE "SPOKESMAN" WAS, WHETHER FROM THE MFA, 
PRESIDENCY OR MINDEF.) 
 
OIL USD 25 A BARREL 
------------------- 
 
8.  JULY 25 PRESS ALSO HEADLINES PRESS CONFERENCE 
OF IRAQI OILMIN SHALABI ON HIS DEPARTURE TO ATTEND 
THE OPEC MEETING IN GENEVA-  SHALABI REPORTEDLY SAID 
THE OPEC MEMBERS FEEL THE NEED TO IMMEDIATELY 
TAKE MEASURES TO INCREASE THE PRICE OF OIL.  THE 
MAJORITY SUPPORT IRAQ'S POSITION.  PRICES SHOULD BE 
"NOT LESS THAN USD 25 PER BARREL THIS YEAR," SHALABI 
TOLD REPORTERS, AND WHEN THEY REACH THAT LEVEL, OPEC 
SHOULD DISCUSS CEILINGS AND QUOTAS SO THAT THE PRICE 
WILL RISE TO USD 30.  THE IRAQI PRESS ALSO CLAIMS 
THAT SAUDI ARABIA, LIBYA AND GABON HAVE PUBLICLY 
SUPPORTED IRAQ'S POSITION.  U/S HAMDUN TOLD US JULY 25 
THAT THE SAUDIS WANT USD 25, ALTHOUGH IT WAS 
INR'S UNDERSTANDING ON JULY 24 THAT SAG BELIEVES 
USD 25 IS TOO HIGH (STATE 242085). 
 
SADDAM LOBBIES THE ARAB LEAGUE 
------------------------------ 
 
9.  THE MEDIA JULY 25 ALSO HEADLINED MISSIONS BY 
IRIRAQI CABINET MINISTERS BEARING MESSAGES FROM 
SADDAM TO FELLOW ARAB LEAGUE MEMBERS.  THE 
MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR WENT TO BAHRAIN, QATAR 
AND OMAN.  (AN OMANI COLLEAGUE TELLS US THE GOI 
DID NOT/NOT BOTHER TO INFORM HIS EMBASSY THAT A 
SPECIAL EMISSARY WAS ON HIS WAY TO MUSCAT.)  THE 
MINISTER OF TRANSPORT HEADED FOR MOROCCO, 
MAURITANIA, TUNISIA (AND THE PRO).  WE PRESUME 
THE GOI DECIDED IT WAS UNNECESSARY TO SEND AN 
EMISSARY TO LIBYA BECAUSE LIBYA HAS PUBLICLY 
SUPPORTED IRAQ'S POSITION ON OIL PRICING AND 
KUWAIT.  AN ALGERIAN EMBASSY OFFICIAL WAS NOT 
SURPRISED THE GOI DID NOT SEND ANYONE TO ALGIERS: 
THE GOA ALSO WANTS AN OIL PRICE RISE.  AND THE 
MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE WAS SENT TO SUDAN, 
SOMALIA AND DJIBOUTI.  WITH THE EXCEPTION OF 
SYRIA AND LEBANON, THE GOI HAS BEEN IN CONTACT 
WITH ALL OTHER AL MEMBERS. 
 
SOVIET VISITOR 
-------------- 
 
10. PRESS ALSO COVERS--GIVING FRONT PAGE PHOTO--TO 
CALL BY SOVIET MINISTER OF MILITARY INDUSTRIALIZATION 
ON SADDAM.  AGAIN, NO DETAILS WERE GIVEN OF THE 
DISCUSSION.  WE NOTE THAT SADDAM HAD CHANGED FROM 
HIS FRENCH-TAILORED CIVILIAN SUIT, IN WHICH HE MET 
MUBARAK, BACK INTO BA'TH PARTY UNIFORM TO MEET THE 
RUSSIAN.  HUSAYN KAMIL, MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND 
MILITARY INDUSTRIALIZATION, ALSO ATTENDED THE MEETING. 
FONMIN AZIZ DID NOT. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
11.  ON THE EVE OF THE OPEC MEETING, THE GOI IS 
DEFINITELY NOT/NOT BLINKING.  RATHER, THE TONE OF 
ITS ATTACK ON KUWAIT IS EVEN SHRILLER AND MORE 
PERSONAL AGAINST THE KUWAITI RULING FAMILY THAN 
EVER BEFORE.  EDITORIALS ARE BEGINNING TO PLAY 
TO ARAFAT'S ANGER WITH THE KUWAITIS FOR EXPELLING 
PALESTINIANS AND FONMIN AZIZ' COMMENT ABOUT THE 
EXPELLING OF THE CONSPIRATORS IS AN OFFICIAL ATTACK 
ON THE KUWAITI ROYAL FAMILY.  THE GOI IS NOW TRYING 
TO STIR UP THE PALESTINIANS AGAINST THE KUWAITIS 
AND APPEALING TO ARAB NATIONALIST ELEMENTS AGAINST 
THEIR RULERS. 
 
GLASPIE 
UNQUOTE 
 
EAGLEBURGER 

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