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President Mubarak Gives Warning

Aired April 1, 2003 - 03:27   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: News now from Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak is warning that the war in Iraq could produce 100 new Osama bin Ladens. It was a speech that he gave to Egyptian soldiers in the city of Suez. Mr. Mubarak suggested that the war would drive more Muslims to militancy.

PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK, EGYPT (through translator): They thought the war would be short. I remember when the American president called me last October when I was in Morocco and said that he had hoped to solve the crisis peacefully. I was happy to hear that, but that did not happen for different reasons, and the war began. When it is over, if it is over, this war will have horrible consequences. There will be more terrorism and a terror organization will become united. Instead of having one bin Laden, we will have 100 bin Ladens, and it is not going to be safe.


KAGAN: Egypt publicly opposes the war in Iraq. To get more now Arab reaction, especially from here in Kuwait, we have a special guest Sheikh Saud Al-Sabah. He is the former Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. He's also a former public information minister here in Kuwait and also the former oil minister. If there's a man who knows the U.S. and Kuwait, it is Sheik Al Saud. Thank you for joining us and being with us here...


KAGAN: ... on CNN. First of all, can I ask you to respond to what we were just talking about with President Mubarak of Egypt saying that this war in Iraq will lead to 100 more Osama bin Ladens and heat up the war - heat up terrorism acts around the world.

AL-SABAH: Well first of all, I think in your remarks you said that Egypt's against the war. I don't believe Egypt's against the war...


AL-SABAH: ... as a government. I mean, Egypt's part of the coalition. They are providing the facilities (UNINTELLIGIBLE) all the Naval war ships. Egypt is part of this coalition directly or indirectly. By the statement that it will bear more bin Ladens, look, we've had so many bin Ladens in the Arab world that it is quite time we got rid of them, and I think this is the process of cleansing of the bin Laden groups...

KAGAN: So you're equating Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden.

AL-SABAH: There's much more than Osama bin Laden. I mean, he has been terrorizing the whole region, the whole Arab world with terrorism and his own people and he has used chemical weapons against his own people and he's worst than bin Laden himself. Now, what happened on 9/11 is an unfortunate disastrous situation for the U.S. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as friends, allies of the United States, and I think this statement is correct. Mr. Mubarak is right, but we have to deal with it.

KAGAN: But that's just the price of dealing with what needs to be dealt with here...

AL-SABAH: Exactly. The whole world is filled with terrorism now, and I think the whole concept of the new world order, which was advocated by former President Bush now is being implanted by the present President Bush, which is we're looking at the new world order free from terrorism, free from radicalism...

KAGAN: Let me just step in here. When you talk about this new world order, when I go online and I look at Arab news sources, this is the thing that concerns Arabs, not just here in the Middle East, but all around the world. That this is part of a bigger picture, trying to redraw the map of the Middle East, talking about an invasion, talking about people coming to this part of the world that have no business being here. Why is the impression so different here in Kuwait?

AL-SABAH: Look, I don't think those countries have been talking or (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you've been reading are being subjected to what Kuwait was subjected to in 1990 when they were invaded by so-called an Arab brother. Remember, the Arab League invaded, raped, and perished. I mean, those countries did not go through what we had to go through. Kuwait is a special case, circumstances here, which we are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and we have signed joint defense agreements with our allies and we know our friends and foes right now.

KAGAN: And because of your experience, Kuwait has stepped up with its actions, playing host simply by the hundreds of thousands of troops that are based here in this country before they move into Iraq. But what does that do to Kuwait in terms of the Arab community?

AL-SABAH: We don't really give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) what's going to happen with this because as far as we're concerned, we have to be concerned about our security. We've been through this drama in 1990 and only a few Arab countries stood with us and stood up with us. Had it been left to the Arab world, the Arab League, we'd still be - Kuwait would still be occupied by the Iraqi Army. Had it not been for the U.S. and our coalition partners, look where we are now. No, this war, which is going on now is 12 years overdue and I believe that everything is going smoothly and we stand behind it. Kuwait is a part of the coalition. We are spearheading this coalition and we are being host to over 300,000 troops now from the U.S., Britain, our coalition partners. KAGAN: Just real quickly, before we go to break, I have to ask you, I find it so interesting that the attitude of the Kuwaitis I just talk to on the streets and the stores and the shops, they're so casual about this given what they've been through in '91.


KAGAN: Not casual about the war, but you see no one walking around with a gas mask. You see no one running for cover unless they're perhaps American or outside Kuwait when they hear a missile siren. Has this attitude changed since Saturday when indeed Iraq was able to hit the mall, the Sharq Mall in the middle of Kuwait.

AL-SABAH: Look, we're a state of war. There's no doubt about that. You know, Kuwaitis have not been used to war. There have been - I mean there have been the trauma we had in 1990 (UNINTELLIGIBLE) invasion. They have not been used to war. They have not been indulged in wars. I think there is confidence in the U.S. defense (UNINTELLIGIBLE) exist in Kuwait with the Patriot system. They have full confidence in our coalition partners. We had one (UNINTELLIGIBLE) missile hit in Kuwait, it's not a big deal. Kuwait is in a state of war with Iraq. We have been a state of war with Iraq since 1990 when they invaded Kuwait. So we have to bear the blunt...

KAGAN: This is the Kuwaiti reality.

AL-SABAH: This is reality. We have to face it.

KAGAN: It's very different from Americans back in the states. Sheikh Saud, thank you for joining us. I appreciate your perspective.

AL-SABAH: Appreciate it.

KAGAN: Thanks for being with us and with that, we'll take a break from here in Kuwait City. Much more ahead after this.

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