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17.04.2017 - 07: 15

US - Kuwait "wealthy" military springboard

Kuwait has traditionally played a key role in US efforts to secure US interests in the Gulf region and wider - in the Middle East. Kuwait occupies a strategic location in the continental approaches to Iraq, Iran and Syria, and over the past years 25 was used by the Americans as a starting point for its military intervention in the region. Kuwait - a convenient US military bridgehead.

The US-Kuwait allied relations in the field of defense and security determine the agreement on military cooperation (DCA), signed 19 September 1991, that is, seven months after the expulsion of the Iraqi troops from Kuwait by the Americans and their allies. The term of the agreement was initially conditioned by ten years, but after this period it was extended further. The agreement provides for mutual consultations in the event of a military and political crisis, joint military exercises, assessment, consultations and training by the Americans of the armed forces of Kuwait, the sale of American weapons, deployment of US military equipment and access to a number of facilities in Kuwait. DCA includes a separate agreement on the legal status under which US troops in Kuwait are subject to US law, rather than Kuwait.

In addition to the DCA, April 1 2004, Kuwait received the status of "major ally, not a member of NATO," which in addition to Kuwait, the region has only Bahrain. The said status allows Kuwait to have enhanced cooperation with the United States in the field of defense research. In December 2011, NATO discussed the opening of Kuwait in Brussels this center of the state within the framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative 2004 years.

DCA on US forces in Kuwait are available on several bases. Their number after the last Iraq war declined. Now - Camp Arifjan is the main headquarters of US forces in Kuwait, Camp Buehring training camp in the strike in the desert near the border with Saudi Arabia, the airbase Ali al-Salem; Air Base Sheikh Ahmad al-Jabir and naval base called Camp Patriot. In the 2008, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) has established in Kuwait "permanent platform" for "full spectrum operations" in 27 region.

US military cooperation with Kuwait began during the Iran-Iraq war, 1980-1988 years. The Iranians tried to attack reaching the Gulf oil tankers. For their protection, the United States in 1987-1988 years have created a program of naval escort to protect Kuwaiti and all international shipping from Iranian naval attacks. Thus he Kuwait during the war actively supported Iraq financially and provides ports for external military supplies to the country.

The next known episode of military cooperation between the US and Kuwait was Operation Desert Storm (16 January 1991 - 28 February 1991) on the expulsion of Iraqi troops. Kuwait paid US $ 16,095 billion to compensate for US spending on the liberation of Kuwait. After the 1991 war, approximately 4 thousand US troops were deployed at facilities in Kuwait to conduct "containment operations" against Iraq. In support of the no-fly zone in Iraq, 1992-2003 directly involved 1000 US Air Force personnel stationed at air bases in Kuwait. Kuwait provided about $ 200 million a year to cover the cost of these US military operations against Iraq. During this period in Kuwait, warehouses contained armored vehicles sufficient to equip two brigades of the US Army.

Kuwait also focused American troops to participate in the operation "Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan. In the 2003 year for "Operation Iraqi Freedom" in Kuwait has been deployed most of 250-thousandths of the invading forces in Iraq. Sami Kuwaiti troops not invaded Iraq. But to carry out this operation, Kuwait has provided US $ 266 million. Armored vehicles used in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, after was launched into stores in Kuwait.

During the period of 2003-2011 in Kuwait, there were an average of 25 thousand US troops, not counting those who were in Iraq at that time. Kuwait provided in the period of 2003-2011 annually about $ 210 million for the assistance of US servicemen in rotation between Kuwait and the warring Iraq. All American troops left Iraq before the end of 2011. They were withdrawn again through Kuwait. In 2011, Kuwait provided the US with $ 350 million for withdrawing troops from Iraq. Since 2011, about 13 500 US troops have been deployed in Kuwait - about one third of the deployed US forces in the Persian Gulf region. In early March 2017, the presidential administrationDonald Trumpconsidered the question of the direction of Kuwait, an additional one thousand US troops under the pretext of combating terrorism "Islamic State" (LIH).

11 September 2014 at the US-GCC meeting in Saudi Arabia Kuwait officially joined the US-led coalition against IGIL. In Kuwait, under the leadership of the United States, an operational command center was deployed to manage a military operation against IGIL called "Operation Inherent Resolve" (OIR). Kuwait provided its military facilities to the US-led coalition, including allowing Canada and Italy to deploy reconnaissance and combat aircraft at air bases in Kuwait. Unlike the allies on the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, Kuwait does not participate in air strikes against IGIL in Syria. In February, 2016 Kuwait pledged to provide logistical and intelligence support to all the land forces of the GCC, aimed at assisting US-led forces fighting the IGIL.

Actually, the Kuwaiti armed forces have a number of 17 thousand people. In the US, Kuwait qualifies as a "wealthy" state capable of independently without US aid to finance the purchase of weapons for its armed forces. Kuwait receives from the United States only a small help in the training of Kuwaiti officers in US military education institutions. Kuwait itself spends on training program in the United States of his officers about $ 10 million per year.

In the military-technical cooperation of Kuwait supports US efforts to build a joint missile defense system for the countries of the GCC network and participates in all military exercises under US command in the Persian Gulf, which Iran demonstrate the power of regional military alliance, led by the United States. US provides assistance to Kuwait in creating more combat ready Navy.

The current military-technical cooperation paid by Kuwait is mainly related to the maintenance and modernization of US military equipment acquired in the 1990-s. The core of the military aviation of Kuwait are 40 combat aircraft FA-18, purchased in 1992 year. In the middle of 2015, Kuwait asked to sell him another 28 F-18 with a possible prospect of additional purchase of another 12 machines. However, this deal is delayed. The sale of 2012 Patriot PAC-60 missiles and 3 Patriot PX-20 launchers with $ 4,2 billion launch vehicles announced in July of the 2012 year is among the new major acquisitions of Kuwait. In February 80, the administration notified Congress of the sale of 9 missiles to AIM-2X-105 to Kuwait Sidewinder for $ 2008 million Earlier, in 120, to equip its Air Force, Kuwait bought 120 air-to-air missiles AIM-7C-178 with equipment and services for $ 2014 million. In June 1,7 became aware of the order for construction military hospital in Kuwait by US engineering forces. The hospital will cost $ XNUMX billion and can be used by Americans for the wounded on the immediate fronts of the fighting.

Kuwait supports the efforts of Saudi Arabia in order to strengthen the coordination of defense policies among the countries of the GCC. In December 2013 years at the summit of the GCC has been declared intention to establish a joint military command of the Gulf. The intention was confirmed at each new annual summit of the GCC, but still has not been implemented.

The regional policy of Kuwait looks to be a more moderate line than his colleagues in the GCC - Saudi Arabia and Qatar. For example, Kuwait participated in suppression of Shiite unrest in Bahrain 2011 year, but, unlike Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, he sent out not the Army and the police, and only their ships.

Kuwait, in general, supports the US efforts to contain Iran and periodically arranges in his persecution of the Shiite leaders. But unlike most of its allies in the GCC, Kuwait maintains relations with Iran at the highest level. In part, this attitude is inherited from Iraq conflict periodSaddam Hussein. In June, the monarch 2014 Kuwait - AmirSabahHe visited Iran and met with spiritual leader - AyatollahAli Khameneiand the presidentHassan Rouhani. Maintaining relations with Iran, Kuwait simultaneously takes an attitude of solidarity with other GCC states on Iran's nuclear program. In January, Kuwait 2016 because of the episode with the execution of Shiite preacherSheikh NimrSaudi Arabia and the subsequent actions against the Saudi diplomatic missions in Tehran has temporarily suspended (but not broken) diplomatic relations with Iran.

Moreover, Kuwait has established political relations with the Shiite government in Iraq to move beyond the legacy of conflict 1990-ies and to prevent any abuse by Iraqi Shiites in Kuwait, as happened in 1980-ies. Shia minority in Kuwait approximately 30% against 70% Sunnis. Interstate disputes over the Iraq-Kuwait border was essentially resolved. Prior to 2014 years 5% of Iraq's oil revenues were directed to the special accounts for the compensation of victims of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Total Iraq has paid for this item $ 48 billion.

In Syria, Kuwait does not support the anti-Asad insurgents with money and weapons through official channels. However, the Americans expressed concern that "private donors" in Kuwait allocate large sums to maintain the local branch of Al-Qaeda in Syria, the so-called "al-Nusra front" and its detachments. In 2012, due to solidarity with the GCC allies, Kuwait closed its embassy in Damascus. However, in December 2014, Kuwait allowed Syria to reopen it to provide consular services to approximately 145 thousand Syrians living and working in Kuwait. The overwhelming majority of them are refugees.

Not directly participating in the conflict in Syria and Iraq, Kuwait has focused its efforts on assisting its victims, allocated for these purposes for a total of over $ 1 billion, basically - nine UN agencies and the International Red Cross Committee.

Kuwait has not made any significant forces and other resources in the NATO operation to overthrow the regimeMoammar Kadafiin Libya in 2011 year. In contrast to the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait does not interfere in the power vacuum in Libya, which was formed after the overthrow Gaddafi.

Kuwait Guide, as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, considering the organization associated with the "Muslim Brotherhood" as a potential internal threat, so in Egypt Kuwait takes in the peak position close to Qatar with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. However, during the exacerbation of relations in the GCC group on the "Muslim Brotherhood" Kuwait, unlike Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, not to withdraw its ambassador from Qatar. After the overthrow of the IslamistMohammed MursiKuwait has provided a new military government of Egypt at least $ 8 billion in aid.

As for Yemen, Kuwait its aviation and ground forces with small spring 2015 has been taking part in the Saudi Arabia-led intervention against rebels Huthis.

Occupation policy in Iraq in Kuwait relying on "non-citizens" - the Palestinian Arabs for a long period after the invasion of Kuwait has spoiled relations with then-Palestinian leaderYasser Arafatand its Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). After de-occupation, Kuwait sent about 450 thousand Palestinian workers outside its borders, finding them disloyal. For this reason, Kuwait has maintained relations and provided financial support to the main rival of the PLO, Hamas, since the mid-1990-ies. In general, Kuwait maintains its position on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement in the spirit of "two states and the Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem". But Kuwait itself, as a rule, refrains from any of its own proposals for the settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In domestic politics, the Amir of Kuwait moved further along its "colleagues" in the GCC group on the path of parliamentarism. Kuwait is moving towards a constitutional monarchy, and the National Assembly of Kuwait has more powers than any other quasi-parliamentary body in the GCC countries. However, the liberal model in the realities of Kuwait clearly does not work, since free representation in the National Assembly of Kuwait was determined not by party, but by confessional principles and other grounds. The National Assembly includes: Islamist-Sunni Muslims, Shiite Islamists, associated with Salafi groups and "Muslim brothers". "Tribalists" associated with nomadic tribes, representatives of youth and women, finally, local liberal Westerners. As a result, the National Assembly de facto presents: Sunni oppositionists, "Muslim brothers", Salafis, Shiites and independent Sunni deputies. Against this background, in the period from 2006 to 2013, the parliamentary opposition to the political regime of the domination of the ruling Sabah family was determined. In 2011-2013, discontent poured into public unrest. Internally, Kuwait is clearly unstable due to the advanced modernization model, which is in conflict with the Sunni-Shiite quarrels.

In its report for the year 2016 the State Department identified the following problems with human rights in Kuwait: limiting the ability of citizens to change their government; restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, the absence of laws protecting workers' rights, the violence of the security forces and the suppression of critics of the regime, ie. e. fairly standard set of claims for the GCC countries.

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In February 2004, the United States and Kuwait signed a Framework Agreement on Trade and Investment (TIFA), which is often seen as a preparation for a free trade agreement with the United States. The economic basis of the United States and Kuwait relations are the oil wealth of the latter - it 102 billion barrels of oil or 6% of the world's proven reserves. On the day of Kuwait produces about 3 million barrels of crude oil. Under the agreement within OPEC November 2016 years, Kuwait has agreed to reduce its production by 130 thousand barrels per day.

The last decade, the US has consistently reduced oil imports from Kuwait. In 2015, the US imported an average of about 200 thousand barrels of Kuwaiti crude per day, which is less than a third of the level of imports of 2012-2014. Reduction of oil prices in 2014 year affected the reduction of mutual trade turnover. The total amount of US exports to Kuwait in 2015 amounted to about $ 2,75 billion, which is lower than exports in 2014, which amounted to $ 3,6 billion. The total amount of US imports from Kuwait in 2015 amounted to about $ 4,68 billion, more than double less than imports in 2014 year of $ 11,4 billion. American exports to Kuwait mainly consists of cars, industrial equipment and food.

Sale of oil and other hydrocarbons still yields about 90% of government revenue from exports and about 60% of gross domestic product (GDP) of Kuwait. At the time of the oil price crisis, Kuwait's budget was guided by the price of $ 75 per barrel. As a result, in 2015 / 2016 fiscal year, Kuwait had a budget deficit of about $ 15 billion. This is the first deficit of its kind in the history of Kuwait. For fiscal year 2016 / 2017 year expect a deficit of $ 40 billion.

Despite the fact that Kuwait has a large sovereign wealth fund - almost $ 600 billion, it does not spend much on it, but it is forced to cut investments in infrastructure, reduce wages in the public sector and cut subsidies. In 2013, a system of subsidies favorable to citizens cost the budget of Kuwait $ 17,7 billion. At 2017 year in Kuwait, they plan to introduce VAT. In addition, among the countries of the Persian Gulf, Kuwait has the most developed financial sector, which largely compensates for current losses due to the situation in the energy market. Even before the crisis began, Kuwaiti investment funds began active operations in foreign markets, including, to a large extent, in the United States.

A source: EADaily

Tags: Kuwait, USA, Middle East, Politics, International Relations, Research, Economics, Military bases, war in the Middle East, War, Army, Armament