Commentary

Kuwait’s Weak Position On Guantanamo Continues: Business as Usual

Guantanamo detainee Fayiz al-Kandari

Based on recent statements made by Kuwait Ambassador Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, it is clear that the Government of Kuwait is accepting of the US position that they can hold any Kuwaiti for however long and for any reason or for no reason at all.

On June 29, 2012, the United States dismissed allegations against my client, Fayiz Al Kandari, a Kuwaiti who has been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for more than a decade without charge. That same day, Sheikh Salem was quoted boasting of his participation in high level negotiations for the return of Fayiz. This news should have been met with a solid diplomatic effort to demand the return of Fayiz. But instead, on June 30th, Sheikh Salem told the press that the dismissal was a mere technicality and that it in no way equated to a return of Fayiz to his father. He then concluded that Fayiz’s legal counsel in Kuwait and my fellow attorney in the case, Adel Abdul Hadi, was causing controversy and spreading false information in the media. Sheikh Salem, on behalf of myself and Fayiz, I am making a public plea to you to please use all your efforts and diplomatic influence to secure the release of the sons of Kuwait instead of focusing on attacking his legal defense team.

Why does the US continue to refuse to return Fayiz to his father? Why is the Government of Kuwait paralyzed to act? The United States would never allow Kuwait to imprison Americans for 10 years, brutalize them, and keep them in cages in an island prison, based upon no evidence. We find ourselves in this position, ten years later, because of weak diplomacy and a complete lack of demand with consequence.

Kuwait has taken the most dangerous position of all. With the exception of the 2012 Parliament, whose efforts were sincere, the Government of Kuwait is accepting of the US position that they can imprison Kuwait citizens for no reason. The dismissal of allegations is tantamount to an acknowledgement by the United States that its decade long justification to hold Fayiz without trial was erroneous. Yet, the Kuwait Government seeks a position of submission. The recent statements of Sheikh Salem reveal that when given the option of the moral high ground, the Government of Kuwait will choose the flag of surrender.

The views expressed in the foregoing document do not necessarily represent the views of the United States Government or the Department of Defense. The author, Lt Col Barry Wingard, has been Fayiz Al Kandari’s Attorney since 2008 and continues to meet with Fayiz monthly.

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8 Responses for “Kuwait’s Weak Position On Guantanamo Continues: Business as Usual”

  1. Furqan says:

    This the type of response you get from weak, subservient, and obsequeous governments that are in league with the USA against their own people and interests as long as they can remain in some sort of power position. You see this same picture played throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle-East where these corrupt, useless, and eunuch-type persons and governments bow before the pressures of America. Those that do not bow (and they are few – most notably, Iran) are sanctioned and their peoples killed in drone attacks and assassinations to try to bring their governments down. These are they who would rather die as a free people than live as slaves to the corporate interests that seek to rape and rob their countries and people! Call it what you will, but resistance and revolt is in the air everywhere! When you see it afar, KNOW that it will not be long before it is at your door!

  2. M Bruno says:

    I would like to believe that Kuwait maintains the backbone to do whatever is necessary to get these men home from Guantanamo. Kuwait is showing it’s weak and submissive. I agree that the US would not allow Kuwait to hold it’s sons. There are too many games being played on the citizens of both countries. FREE THESE MEN, IT’s been TEN YEARS! Words are not enough.

  3. GottaLaff says:

    It’s been ten long years since at least one innocent man, Fayiz Al Kandari, has been held. Indefinite detention is wrong, Fayiz’s incarceration is wrong, and the allegations against him have been dismissed.

    Freeing innocent detainees is the right thing to do and long overdue. Just do it.

  4. M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. says:

    The appearance of things, in the political sense, are as important to officials in Kuwait as they are to officials in the US. Never mind that such things are often highly illogical and appear to have no rational bearing on the matters at hand. Sometimes it amounts to the manner in which something is stated, sometimes it is in regard to whom it is stated. The involved parties negotiating release must be very careful in their communications…even deferential. Pointing fingers at Kuwait or Kuwaiti officials will gain nothing. Even if one is initially only dealing with what amounts to secretaries, the degree of deference shown, essentially stroking egos, will get one much further than accusations or chastisements. At this point, I sense that proper diplomacy can and will assure the release of Fayiz. Finding the words to give appearance that both the Kuwaiti and US governments are acting in accord and doing so in a positive manner (spin) is, in my opinion, essential now.

  5. louise says:

    I bet none of us would be patient if it were our son or daughter locked in a cell without any real avenue of justice. Adel Abdul Hadi, an attorney from Kuwait, is a hero working for free on the Al-Kandari case. He does not need attacked by the impotent diplomat. ( which I find outrageous).

  6. Lanz says:

    The question of equality of consequence has of course vexed the United States Political allies across the world. Waning superpower the United Kingdom has permitted the imprisonment within its own borders for a decade of unconvicted US accused person Gary McKinnon . There are also the cases of Richard O’Dwyer and others whom (along with Gary) the US wish to extradite from the UK. Of course the US would not permit extradition of ITS citizens.
    Our Australian Government too demonstrates its lack of diplomatic leverage via consequences in its abandonment of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to the vagaries of UK Swedish and US Justice . A quick review of Google searches ” Leonard Peltier ” or “Guantanamo ” and the possibility that Assange may in fact face the Death Penalty should be enough to inform the Australian Government of the possible unacceptable consequences Assange faces if extradited to the States. Yet our government assaults the US in favour of our fellow citizen with candy coated hearts.
    As in the case of the Kuwaiti Governments failure to act more decisively in support of its citizen, so we have here in Australia. And where governemnts refuse to act then the people must..and today we have the ability to do so on an international scale

  7. Taylor says:

    People are the government and it’s time to say enough! Enough injustice. Kuwait is playing into the Arab Spring mentality. Kuwaiti people are beginning to understand their self serving leaders and Kuwaiti people will rise.
    I would pray things change quickly. Kuwait can insist on the return of their men in #Guantanamo The wise ones will understand.

  8. Tymlee says:

    Ambassador Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah your job as ambassador is to represent the people of Kuwait in their relationship with the United States. The Kuwaiti people have expressed their will through their representatives in government, namely the parliamentary statement demanding the return of Fayiz. That is the message you should be taking to Washington and that is the message Washington should be acting on. Enough!!!

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