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Kuwaiti Scholar Expresses Support for US War Effort - 2003-04-11

Reaction to the fall of Baghdad varied in the Middle East, but in Kuwait City, a majority of the people were pleased.

The few Kuwaitis who support Saddam Hussein feel surprised and disappointed that Baghdad fell so quickly to coalition troops. They criticize the Iraqi people for abandoning Saddam Hussein so quickly. Others believe the Iraqis readily welcomed coalition troops precisely because Saddam had terrorized them.

Kuwaiti scholar Dr. Abdul Tarah, professor in the Department of Foreign Politics at Kuwait University, is clearly one of those who believes the war will be good for Iraq.

"This day reminds [me] of the liberation of Kuwait when the troops got to Kuwait and the Kuwaitis celebrated outside in the streets, and this is what is happening in Baghdad right now. It is just amazing, people, they were shocked by the liberation of their country from Saddam Hussein and his gang," he said. "That is really what we were saying before the war, that people would receive the troops, the Americans, the British, they would be happy to be liberated. And this is the truth. Al Jazeera [is] trying to show the other way. Today is the day of the Iraqi people.

Dr. Tarah said Iraqis and Kuwaitis are both celebrating the end of Saddam Hussein. For the people of Iraq, he adds, today is a holiday. Dr. Tarah also believes the coalition troops should not wait to provide safety and humanitarian aid. He wants them to establish order and end the period of anarchy as quickly as possible.

"What we need is the safety of the Iraqi people," he said. "We know that always under such conditions where you don't have an authority. An authority is extremely needed to protect against. We expect revenge will be there and killing will be there. But Americans need to think how they control the city and protect the people and that will be credit for the troops when they act to provide security."

Dr. Tarah said he believes Iraqi's top leadership lost the ability to rule about a week ago and that the crumble of Saddam Hussein's regime was inevitable. Like many others inside Iraq, he is also concerned about the weapons abandoned by Iraqi soldiers and stresses the need to punish former members of Saddam Hussein's government.

"Well, I think that at this stage the American need to think about safety and people have arms and this is a priority. Another thing, criminals in leadership should be brought to justice."

Dr. Tarah said he hopes the United States is able to comprehend the complex problems of Iraq, as well as work in conjunction with the international communities to solve them. And he delivers a warning that the U.S. should not occupy Iraq.

"What we need at this time, we need Americans to be very careful on how to handle the situation in Iraq, to understand the social fabric of Iraqi society, understanding…they are there to liberate and should continue and keep that in mind that they are the liberators of Iraq."