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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 Union in the field of defense and security relations between the US and Kuwait determines a military cooperation agreement (DCA), signed in September 19 1991 years, that is. e. seven months after the expulsion of the Americans and their allies of Iraqi troops from Kuwait. The agreement was conditioned by the original ten years, but after this period it was extended further. The agreement provides for mutual consultations in the event of a military-political crisis, joint military exercises, evaluation, consultation and training of the armed forces of Kuwait Americans, sale of American arms, placing US military equipment and access to a range of facilities in Kuwait. The DCA included a separate agreement on the legal status under which US troops on the territory of Kuwait, subject to applicable US laws, not 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.

Following well-known episode of the military cooperation between the US and Kuwait was the operation "Desert Storm» (January 16 1991 year - February 28 1991 years) for the expulsion of Iraqi troops. Kuwait has paid US $ 16,095 billion to compensate for the costs of the US liberation of Kuwait. After the war, approximately 1991 4 thousand US troops were stationed at the sites in Kuwait for "deterrence operations" against Iraq. In maintaining the no-fly zone in Iraq in 1992-2003 years 1000 directly involved members of the US Air Force stationed at air bases in Kuwait. Kuwait provided annually about $ 200 million to cover the costs of these US military operations against Iraq. During this period, in Kuwait in warehouses contained armor, enough 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 years in Kuwait were on average 25 thousand US troops, not counting those who at that time were in Iraq. Kuwait provided annually about $ 2003 million during 2011-210 years. US military aid in the rotation between Kuwait and Iraq at war. All US troops to leave Iraq by the end of the year 2011. Conclusion, they again through Kuwait. In the 2011, Kuwait has provided the US for removing troops from Iraq $ 350 million. Kuwait is about 2011 13 500 With US troops a year - that's about one-third of the deployed US troops in the 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 years on US-GCC meeting in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, officially joined the US-led coalition against LIH. In Kuwait, a US management was deployed operational command center to manage a military operation against LIH called "Resoluteness» (Operation Inherent Resolve - OIR). Kuwait provided its military facilities at the disposal of the US-led coalition, including allowing Canada and Italy placed reconnaissance and combat aircraft at air bases in Kuwait Unlike allies in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar, Kuwait does not take part in the air strikes against LIH in Syria. In February 2016 Kuwait pledged to provide logistical and intelligence support to all ground forces GCC aimed to assist the US-led forces, leading the fight against LIH.

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.

Current paid Kuwait military-technical cooperation is mainly due to the maintenance and upgrading of US military equipment purchased in 1990-ies. The core of the military aircraft of Kuwait are 40 FA-18 combat aircraft purchased in 1992 year. In the middle of 2015, Kuwait sought to sell him even 28 F-18 with the possible prospect of further acquisitions even 12 machines. However, the transaction is delayed. Among the new major acquisitions include Kuwait announced in July 2012 years 60 deal to sell the missiles Patriot PAC-3 and 20 Patriot Plus launchers with equipment at $ 4,2 billion. In February 2012, the administration notified Congress of the sale of missiles to Kuwait 80 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder at $ 105 million. Earlier in the year 2008, to equip its Air Force Kuwait bought 120 missiles "air-to-air» AIM-120C-7 equipment and service at $ 178 million. In the 2014 June it became known about the order for the construction of a military hospital in Kuwait, US forces engineer troops. Hospital cost $ 1,7 billion and can be used by the Americans for the wounded to nearby fighting fronts.

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 antiasadovskih rebels with money and weapons through official channels. Americans, however, expressed concern that "private donor" in Kuwait allocate large sums for the maintenance of the local branch in Syria, "Al-Qaeda" - the so-called "Front of Al-Nusra" and its troops. In the 2012 year because of solidarity with its allies in the GCC Kuwait closed its embassy in Damascus. However, in December 2014, Kuwait has allowed Syria to re-open it for the provision of consular services to approximately 145 thousand Syrians living and working in Kuwait. The vast majority of them - the 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 the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). After the de-occupation of Kuwait has sent its own limits about 450 thousand Palestinian workers, considering them to be disloyal. For this reason Kuwait since mid 1990-ies maintained relations and providing financial support to the main competitor of the PLO - Hamas. In general, Kuwait supports the position of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement in the spirit of "two states and the Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem." But the Kuwait, as a rule, refrain from making any proposals of its own to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In domestic policy, Amir Kuveyta on their "colleagues" in the GCC group moved along the path of parliamentarism. Kuwait is moving towards a constitutional monarchy, and the National Assembly of Kuwait has more power than any other quasi-parliamentary body in the GCC countries. However, the liberal model in the realities of Kuwait clearly does not work, because the free representation in the National Assembly of Kuwait was determined not by the party, and on the principle of confessional and other characteristics. The National Assembly includes: associated with Salafi groups and the "Muslim Brotherhood" Islamist Sunni Islamist Shiite, that is. Mr. "Traybalisty" associated with the nomadic tribes, young people and women, finally, the local pro-Western liberals. As a result, the National Assembly de facto represented: Sunni opposition, "Muslim Brotherhood", the Salafis, the Shia and Sunni independent MPs. Against this background, during the period of 2006 2013 year determined the parliamentary opposition to the political regime of domination of the ruling Sabah family. In the 2011-2013's dissatisfaction has resulted in social unrest. Internally Kuwait obviously unstable due promoted modernization model, which is in conflict with Sunni-Shiite strife.

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.

US consistently reduce oil imports from Kuwait last decade. In the 2015, the US imported an average day, about 200 thousand barrels of Kuwaiti crude oil, which is less than one-third the level of imports 2012-2014 years. The reduction in oil prices in 2014, the impact on the reduction of mutual trade turnover. The total volume of US exports to Kuwait in 2015 year amounted to about $ 2,75 billion, lower than the exports to 2014 year, which amounted to $ 3,6 billion. The total volume of US imports from Kuwait amounted to about $ 2015 4,68 billion a year, which is more than two times less than imports in 2014 in the amount of $ 11,4 billion. US exports to Kuwait consists mainly of vehicles, 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 - nearly $ 600 billion, he specifically does not consume him, but were forced to reduce investment in infrastructure, reduces the wages in the public sector and cuts subsidies. In the 2013, the system enabling citizens of subsidies cost the budget $ 17,7 billion to Kuwait. 2017 year on the introduction of VAT planning in Kuwait. In addition, among the Persian Gulf countries of Kuwait has the most developed financial sector, which largely compensates for the current loss due to the situation on the energy market. Even before the crisis, Kuwaiti investment funds have started its activity on 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