Kuwait lashes out at Yemen for commemorating Hussein [Archives:2007/1023/Front Page]

February 8 2007

Yasser Al-Mayasi
SANA'A, Feb. 10 ) Kuwaiti members of Parliament – mainly Muslim Al-Barrak – harshly slammed Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his government for marking the passage of 40 days of mourning following Saddam Hussein's execution.

In a statement to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, Al-Barrak criticized Yemen's stand with the former Iraqi leader by commemorating his death. He urged his government to take action against the alleged insults and disgraces the Yemeni president has exercised against the Kuwaiti government and people.

Al-Barrak told Al-Qabas, “Commemorating the passage of 40 days of mourning Hussein's death in Sana'a is just one of a series of insults against Kuwait.” He demanded his government halt all funds pledged to Yemen, as well as canceling any agreements with Yemen. He described the Yemeni president as “the shawish,” meaning a low-ranking officer, who repeats his insults against the Kuwaiti government and people.

According to Al-Barrak, Saleh is practicing deception and wasn't shy in authorizing the Ba'ath Party to stage the event in the presence of Hussein's daughters, even providing everything to facilitate the party. The event was held at the Youth Palace, a government-owned property devoted to holding conferences and special occasions.

Al-Barrak accused Saleh of disregarding Kuwait's stance as well as what Kuwait granted him in recent years when the Kuwaiti government and people supported Yemen in education and health.

He called for breaking diplomatic ties with Yemen and expelling Yemen's ambassador from Kuwait. “It's a shame that the Yemeni ambassador remains in Kuwait while his government insults and humiliates Kuwaitis,” Al-Barrak went on to say.

He denounced the Kuwaiti government's attitude toward the issue and its kind talks with the Yemeni envoy in Kuwait and demanded the National Assembly demonstrate a strong stance by ending all Yemeni-Kuwaiti ties.

This is the strongest criticism Al-Barrak has launched against Yemen and its president following Hussein's December execution. However, Yemen didn't respond to such criticism, declaring that it will never react to the Kuwaiti MPs' behavior.

However, in an initial Yemeni reaction to Al-Barrak's latest statements, the General People's Congress parliamentary bloc expressed curiosity at his comments to Al-Qabas. The bloc confirmed that it didn't expect such conduct by an MP who is supposed to know the nature of his work, describing his badmouthing and defamation of Yemen and its president in such a rude manner as slogan type of language, which can't be tolerated.

The GPC parliamentary bloc remarked that Yemen is a nation with reputable history and civilization, knowing well how to behave in such cases. It noted that marking the 40 days of mourning Hussein's death is an Islamic duty.

Yemeni-Kuwaiti ties experiencing crises

Yemeni-Kuwaiti relations have weathered various crises dating back to 1990, following Yemen's stance toward the first Gulf War and Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Known for his sharp criticism of Arab regimes – including the Yemeni government – Al-Barrak mostly has contributed to worsening Kuwait's relations with Yemen.

In 2003, Al-Barrak hit out at his government, demanding it provide its citizens a detailed explanation of some Arab countries' stances toward Kuwait, including Yemen. In September of that same year, Al-Barrak declared that President Saleh told Hussein to invade Kuwait so that the fighting would take place outside Iraq.

The Kuwaiti National Assembly opposition canceled assistance and broke several agreements with Yemen.

In January 2004, the Yemeni Parliament sent an objection to the Kuwaiti National Assembly speaker, denouncing the conduct of some Kuwaiti MPs, including Al-Barrak.

Compared to 2003 and 2004, 2005 witnessed less criticism by the Kuwaiti opposition against Yemen, but Al-Barrak resumed his criticism of Yemen, thereby compelling the Yemeni government to officially protest the repeated insults by some Kuwaiti personalities and senior officials in June 2006.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi officially informed the Kuwaiti ambassador in Sana'a that his government is enraged by the repeated insults it receives from Kuwaiti MPs.

Shoura.Net reported that the Kuwaiti Embassy in Sana'a officially asked Yemen's Interior Ministry to heighten security around its premises, as it fears attacks in retaliation for Kuwait's attitude toward executing the former Iraqi president.

However, the Interior Ministry rejected the request, which followed Hussein's Dec. 30, 2006 hanging, saying the embassy has no space for security guards. The ministry noted that the Kuwaiti Embassy has contracted private security firm Group Four to protect its premises from any assaults.

Speaking by telephone, Group Four General Manager Fahd Al-Sanabani said his company signed a contract with the Kuwaiti Embassy in recent days, but only a small number of guards is surrounding the embassy.

The Yemen Times attempted to contact the Kuwaiti Embassy, but discovered that the ambassador is out of Yemen and other diplomats refused to give any statement. It also attempted to contact the Yemeni Foreign Minister, but received a response that the minister is extremely busy.