My Dear king Hussein...


YOUR Majesty, you gave a moving speech to the American people. This you appear to have done over the head of your longtime friend, President Bush. You said you were moved to make the speech because of a letter from Mr. Brown of North Carolina.

Wouldn't it be more honorable and truly moving if you were moved enough by Kuwaiti women and children with tears in their eyes because they lost their country as a result of the aggression of your friend Saddam Hussein?

Would it not be more honorable and honest to Bandar speak to the Iraqi people over the head of your friend Saddam, and tell them that he has dishonorably invaded and annexed a brother Arab and Moslem country? And tell them of the horrifying acts of rape and destruction by Iraqi troops that are unprecedented in Arab history -- and that is fact.

And facts are stubborn things.

You say, Your Majesty, that the holy places in Saudi Arabia have been desecrated by friendly forces, and that those forces must leave immediately. But those forces are actually hundreds of miles away, and with tens of thousands of Moslem and Arab soldiers (but none of yours) between those friendly forces and the holy places. And all those forces are dedicated to help defend Saudi Arabia and are respectful of its custodianship of the holy places. They will not leave until your friend Saddam leaves Kuwait, which we hope will be peacefully and immediately.

Tell us, Your Majesty, what you have done to safeguard the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which you lost to Israel in 1967, almost a quarter of a century ago. Is that the kind of protection you would like us to give to the holy places in Saudi Arabia?

Your Majesty, the holy places in Saudi Arabia are protected only by your brother Moslems, and no non-Moslem is anywhere around, as millions of Moslems can daily attest. And you know that to be a fact.

And, Your Majesty, you claimed to defend the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and a state of their own. And I support you in that.

But you were responsible for the Palestinian homeland on the West Bank from 1948 to 1967. Why in all that period did you not give them their rights and statehood? And how would the occupation of Kuwait give our brother Palestinians their homeland?

Facts are stubborn things.

You talk of "haves" and "have-nots." Saudi Arabia's record as one of the "haves" helping the "have-nots" is clear, and we are proud of it.

Just turn to the records of your finance minister and see how much has been given to you and your country for many years by Saudi Arabia, willingly and happily, as brothers.

Are not facts stubborn things?

When you needed Saudi troops to help you, they came and spent 10 years in your country at your asking. And we did not question why or why not, nor raise "ifs," "ands" or "buts," as you do now.

Facts are stubborn things.

You are a very intelligent man, Your Majesty. And you have a fine memory.

You say the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border is disputed and based on a historical record created by the colonial British. Your Majesty, you should be the last one to say that. Not only all of your borders but your whole country was created by the colonial British.

Facts are stubborn things, indeed, Your Majesty.

And do you remember when the British troops were invited by you into your country in 1958? We did not object or question your motives and judgment over that.

Facts are stubborn things.

You tell us that the situation today is like 1914, when the world was falling into a war it did not want but could not stop. That led to World War I.

That is not true. Your Majesty, we are today in a period like the 1930s, when a madman decided to annex his neighbors and the world did nothing. That led to World War II.

These are the facts.

Facts are stubborn things.

Your Majesty, please remember what caused this entire crisis in our region: the invasion of the Arab and Moslem state of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein. And only after that, and because of that, were Moslem Arab and friendly forces invited. They will all leave when this aggression is turned back or when we ask them to leave.

These are facts, Your Majesty, and facts are stubborn things.

Finally, Your Majesty, I long had great respect and affection for you. And I continue to have deep respect and affection for your people. But I no longer can feel that you are the same man I knew. I hope that I am wrong. And if I am wrong, please accept my sincere apologies, Your Majesty.

Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud is Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States.

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