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Sunday, 8 December, 2002, 16:16 GMT
Kuwaiti papers dismiss Saddam apology
Kuwaiti oilfield at end of Gulf War
Kuwait's oilfields burned as the Iraqi army retreated
Kuwaiti newspapers have little time for President Saddam Hussein's televised statement apologising for the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

"What kind of apology was that?" asks an editorial in Al-Siyasah.

This "alleged regret", the paper says, was backed by the "false pride, empty arrogance and wrong information" which Saddam Hussein has never ceased to repeat.

The Iraqi leader's statement could have been effective, if he had just apologised to the Kuwaiti people "instead of attacking it".

"The brave man is the one who, if he erred, apologised for his error, and if he was defeated, admitted his defeat. So, who are you reading your psalms to?"

'Booby-trapped'

In a separate report, Al-Siyasah says the apology "did not convince Kuwaitis".

This is Saddam, whose behaviour is not measured by ordinary logic

Al-Watan

"They have described it as 'booby-trapped' and 'suspicious' because it contained obvious incitement and attacks," the paper says.

It notes that the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister, Shaykh Sabah al-Ahmad, preferred not to comment on the speech.

"I shall leave it to the Kuwaiti people to judge its content," the paper quotes him as saying.

Al-Watan takes a different tack, suggesting one could not have expected anything else from the Iraqi leader.

Saddam Hussein addressing Kuwaitis
Saddam told Kuwait to throw "infidels" out

"This is Saddam, whose behaviour is not measured by ordinary logic," it says.

The paper adds that Saddam Hussein is actually an "isolated person" unaware of what is going on around him.

"Saddam Hussein's regime is on the verge of death and we should expect lies and falsehoods from it," it says.

'Doomed to fail'

Al-Qabas quotes the speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly as saying that the statement was an act of desperation.

The presence of US and friendly forces in Kuwait is not an issue

Member of Kuwait Assembly

"This was a desperate attempt to create sedition between the people and their leadership, which will be doomed to failure," Jasmine al-Khurafi says.

Al-Ra'i al-Am in turn quotes a National Assembly deputy as making the same point: the statement is unlikely to achieve anything.

This latest attempt by the Iraqi ruler to "drive a wedge between Kuwaitis, the government and people, will not affect them", Deputy Walid al-Tabtaba'i says.

"All Kuwaitis will face these disguised threats as one man," he adds.

Nor, he goes on, will Saddam Hussein manage to set Kuwaitis against their American allies.

"The issue of the presence of US and friendly forces in Kuwait is not an issue of disagreement between anyone in Kuwait," he says.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

08 Dec 02 | Middle East
08 Nov 02 | Country profiles
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