So this one Kuwaiti sheik was saying to this other Kuwaiti sheik, "I want Saddam's head. I'll wring his neck with my bare hands."
"No," said his royal cousin. "Not revenge. We want peace. Let him give us back our home."It wasn't just a friendly disagreement over politics in the palace locker room. These sheiks, despite their royal blood, were three weeks into boot camp - a dirty, dusty desert outpost in neighboring Saudi Arabia, where they both fled with their families when Iraqi troops tumbled over their country Aug. 2.
Sheik Jaber al-Sabah, 38, and Sheik Jaber Rakham al-Sabah, 19 - not to be confused with their uncle and exiled emir, Sheik Jaber al-Sabah - differ over tactics, but both are filled with such rage at Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that they volunteered to fight for their country, to die if need be.
They didn't have to enlist. Only 7,000 of their countrymen have done so. Cairo is crawling with young Kuwaiti students who fled the Iraqi tanks but boast they are too valuable to their country to be soldiers and must continue their education in exile.
Not that this is an army of uneducated grunts. This army is peopled with PhD's, engineers, record company executives and teachers who want to fight beside the ordinary soldiers.
The younger Sheik Jaber was also a student, studying civil engineering at Kuwait University, but he said he couldn't bear to stand by while a handful of Kuwaitis, backed up by 500,000 Americans, Saudis, Brits and soldiers from 25 other nations rescued the country he loves so dearly.
"It is only desert. I know that. But it is so beeeyoootiful. It is my home," says the young, peachfuzz-faced sheik, one of about 1,000 Kuwaiti men who carry the lofty title and are related to the emir.
So instead of cracking open textbooks, Sheik Jaber is hitting the ground - hard, and on his belly, with a rifle clutched in his hands. Basic training starts at 5 a.m. with calesthenics and proceeds with a rigorous regimen of education in hand-to-hand combat and weapons handling. Later, he will receive more specialized training and be assigned to a unit near the Iraqi border. Near is close enough for him.
"I'll be in the second line. I'll be a reinforcement," he said. "But I hope Saddam will withdraw from my country and we will have peace."
It was that kind of talk that made his older cousin furious.
"He doesn't speak for us. He doesn't feel what we feel. We want Saddam's head," the other Sheik Jaber told a group of reporters visiting the training camp.