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Gulf Nation in Grip of Crisis in Confidence

April 23, 1991|KIM MURPHY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Although Cabinet ministers returned almost immediately, the crown prince didn't return until about a week after Iraqi forces withdrew; the emir was delayed several weeks.

"How can you accept a country being liberated, and a crown prince and prime minister who doesn't get back until the 3rd or 4th of March, and the country's liberated on the 26th of February?" the official said. "For many of us, it really epitomizes the absence of authority.

"You see," he said, "there are three basic ingredients that governments must summon in crisis or disasters: These are wisdom, authority and understanding. Wisdom to create balance, authority to check whoever takes the law into their own hands, and understanding for whoever says, 'That beast raped my sister,' to say, 'Are you sure? Do you have any witnesses?' And then say, 'Thank you very much; we will handle it.'

"These three ingredients were not available to us. Because the government was not there. There was no one to handle it. And these three ingredients are missing still."

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