Commentary

Going Along to Get Along: Can Kuwait Ever Satisfy U.S. Demands?

Guantanamo detainee Fayiz al-Kandari

Imagine the following scenario: Four Americans are apprehended and detained by a foreign nation. This foreign nation, a close ally of the United States (US), suggests a willingness to return the American detainees, but only if the US is willing to take them back. In response, the US announces its eagerness to take custody of its own citizens. Meanwhile, rumors begin to circulate that the American detainees are being mistreated.

How much more can Kuwait be expected to take?

The foreign nation then advises it will only return the Americans if the US can ensure the returned detainees will take no future action contrary to the foreign nation’s interests. Again, the US agrees, asserting it will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of both countries. Meanwhile, documentary proof surfaces that the American detainees are being subjected to harsh interrogations.

The foreign nation thanks the US for its guarantees, but expresses concern that the US does not have a state-of-the-art center where the detainees can be “reintegrated.”  In response, the US spends 40 million dollars to build and staff a reintegration center that, in every way, exceeds the foreign nation’s expectations.  Meanwhile, the foreign nation’s own court orders the release of two of the four Americans, finding no evidence to justify their continued detention.  The foreign nation grudgingly complies with the order of its court, but refuses to release the final two Americans.

Instead, the foreign nation thanks the US for building the reintegration center, but insists the US sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU), agreeing to confine the final two Americans for six months, permanently restrict their passports, and monitor them on a regular basis.  In response, the US begins researching whether it can sign such an MOU without violating domestic law.  Meanwhile, any progress toward trying the remaining American detainees grinds to a halt as political opponents within the foreign nation debate the proper forum for such trials.

With diplomatic resolution as the only remaining option, the US expresses a willingness to sign the MOU, agreeing to all it legally can.  The foreign nation thanks the US, but adds a requirement that the previously-returned American detainees must now also be subject to passport restrictions and regular monitoring, even though the foreign nation’s legal system found no evidence against the returnees.

In this hypothetical situation, how long would the US tolerate the foreign nation’s ever-increasing and shifting demands? The answer is: the US would not tolerate such conduct at all. Rather, it would demand its citizens be returned and apply whatever diplomatic pressure was necessary to affect that result.

Nonetheless, the reverse of this scenario is exactly how the US has treated its ally Kuwait in connection with the remaining Kuwaiti detainees confined at Guantanamo Bay. For eight years, in response to each U.S. demand, Kuwait has given the required assurance or taken the required action, only to face expanding requirements and watch the goal line shift further back.

Now imagine this scenario: For more than eight years, you have been imprisoned by a foreign government on an island prison thousands of miles from your home.  Two years earlier, a foreign prosecutor drafted charges in a specially-designed military court–but it is anyone’s guess whether you will ever go to trial (let alone receive a fair trial).  So, with little else to do, you spend your days worrying about the health and the welfare of friends and relatives you have not seen since you were very young–and whom you may never see again.  This is the story of Kuwaiti citizen Fayiz Al Kandari.

Kuwait is undeniably a strong and faithful ally of the US.  Yet, in the case of Fayiz Al Kandari, the US has treated Kuwait more like an enemy.  Most recently, after Kuwait agreed to all previous demands, the US insisted Kuwait restrict the passports and regularly monitor two innocent Kuwaitis previously ordered released by a US Federal Court.  In other words, the US’s ever-increasing demands have now entered the realm of the absurd.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard represents Fayiz al-Kandari, a Kuwaiti who has spent seven and a half years in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay without trial.

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4 Responses for “Going Along to Get Along: Can Kuwait Ever Satisfy U.S. Demands?”

  1. marcy says:

    The added expectations by our government, the US, are not expectations but excuses. Without detainees, you know…the worst of the worst…we have no “war criminals” to justify our military aggression. I feel so damn bad that we have taken 8 years from the lives of people who have never been found guilty of anything. The United States has another long, bad history…ignoring an important country like Kuwait. Kuwait must demand their sons… uncharged, abused, longing for home, Kuwait.

  2. pvt. matters says:

    //www.redress.cc
    //www.juancole.com
    //antonyloewenstein.com

    never believe anything said by the USA or ISRAEL government.
    They are incapable of telling the truth.

  3. Very thought-provoking question!

    I suppose that if the US were a client state initially created by business interests of that close ally, and maintained basically as a military base for the close ally’s convenience in seizing natural resources in the US and surrounding region from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and accomplishing all the accompanying wetwork necessary to achieve that end in addition to ensuring an ever-widening revenue stream for the close ally’s weapons industry, and if it had been well demonstrated and established that any nation who had ever dared to disobey the US gets bombed and/or converted into a military base for the close ally, and the close ally had made it known that as a matter of policy, it would henceforth be their prerogative to seize and variously perpetually imprison, maim, and/or exterminate any individual they wished at any time, thus effectively declaring themselves as having dominion over the earth and all it contained, I suppose that the US regime – just like that of any other nation – would not really have much choice in terms of official policy, but to “go along to get along,” in the hope that at least some of its remaining population would be able to avoid being variously kidnapped, maimed or exterminated.

    Naturally, in light of the inevitable “wild card factor” presented by the extremely large and ever-growing number of private individuals impacted by the policies of the close ally, as well as the “go along to get along” official responses of the US and other nations, and given the logistical impracticality of keeping over five and a half billion such private individuals chained to metal floors in sensory deprivation hoods 24 & 7, the resulting circumstances would involve both a very limited sustainability, as well as a certain level of risk for the population of the close ally.

    In an interview sometime in the 80s, then North Korean President Kim Il-sung was asked if he had concerns about the resulting isolation and risks to his own subjects that resulted from his policies. He replied that he had figured that to maintain the security of himself and his strategic assets, he only required around 30% of his current population.

    In a situation such as the one posed by your hypothetical question, we can only presume that the close ally will have employed the same accounting firm.

  4. Sorry for the typos, it was late. Or early, depending on perspective. Obviously, “disobey the US” in that massive wall of text that constitutes the first paragraph should read “disobey the close ally.”

    One of the many reasons why I should really try to break the bad habit of just firing off comments to peoples’ blogs without proofreading, or at least looking somewhere in the general direction of the screen once in a while.

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