Gulf security أمن الخليج العربي

السبت، 24 نوفمبر، 2007

Is Kuwait exposed to a direct Iranian threat ?


In his book, Kuwait: Keystone of U.S. Gulf Policy David Pollock offers a comprehensive answer to this and other Questions .he wrote :
Does the weakening of Iraq mean that Kuwait is now exposed to a new direct military threat from Iran? The answer is probably not, for three reasons. First, Iran has shown no intention to attack or threaten Kuwait militarily for almost twenty years, since the end of the Iran-Iraq War. Second, Kuwait’s own armed forces, according to some analysts, might offer an unexpectedly meaningful deterrent or reaction against at least some types of Iranian military adventurism. As Michael Knights has pointed out, Kuwait’s military, while minuscule compared to Iran’s, is reasonably effective, having carried out a “measured and successful” modernization program over the past decade.
Kuwait, he writes, has developed a small but powerful air and naval fleet armed with advanced anti-shipping missiles. . . . [These] have the capability to destroy tens of strategic targets on Iran’s coast, with pinpoint accuracy and without exposing themselves to Iranian air defenses, and to block Iranian shipping with some effectiveness. Moreover, Iran’s lack of land access to the GCC countries and the likelihood of advance warning of any major assault in Knights’ judgment make the threat
from Iran “manageable.” Another 2005 assessment quotes U.S. military officers to the effect that Kuwait’s military has shown some improvement, especially regarding its air force.6 Yet given the fact that Kuwait’s own armed forces boast barely 15,000 men, and that its GCC partners have shown no disposition to take on Iran’s military power, these judgments are by nature highly debatable.
But third, Kuwait possesses an ace in the hole against any Iranian threat or bluff. Clearly, the Kuwaitis can count on continuing U.S. protection against any overt military threat. In strictly legal terms, the United States and Kuwait are linked by a ten-year defense agreement, first signed in September 1991, after the Kuwaiti government returned home from exile, and renewed for another decade in September 2001. Although the text is classified, according to an official congressional document, this accord does not explicitly require that the United States defend Kuwait in a future crisis, but provides for mutual discussions of crisis options. It also is said to provide for joint military exercises, U.S. training of Kuwaiti forces, U.S. arms sales, pre-positioning of U.S. military equipment (enough armor to outfit a U.S. brigade), and U.S. access to Kuwaiti facilities. A related Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) provides
that U.S. forces in Kuwait be subject to U.S. rather than Kuwaiti law.In addition to the strategic interest, the historical commitment, and the legal status Kuwait enjoys as a major non-NATO ally (MNNA) of the United States, tens of thousands of U.S. troops are either stationed in or rotating through Kuwait at any given time, along with a vast network of facilities and pre-positioned equipment. The closeness of this tie was expressed by Kuwait’s foreign minister at the April 1, 2004, ceremony in which
his country was awarded the MNNA designation, and in what may be the only recorded diplomatic reference to April Fools’ Day: “I know, Mr. Secretary, that April 1st is a date that has some funny meaning in your country. But I can assure you, Mr. Secretary, that the commitment that my brother, Sheikh Jabir, and myself gave you today you can take to the bank.”The salience of this relationship was symbolized recently by Kuwait’s hosting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in January 2007 for a meeting of the “GCC + 2” group (adding Egypt and Jordan to the Gulf Arab monarchies), which issued a general endorsement of U.S. policy toward Iraq and an implicit warning against hostile Iranian designs on the region. The sentiment was reiterated most recently in July 2007, when the
group met again with Secretary Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. That same month, the departing U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, Richard LeBaron, provided an impromptu, unusually expansive overview of this emerging issue in his farewell interview with local
reporters. “Our consultations with Kuwait,” he stated, “. . . both on military and political issues, have accelerated over the last year in recognition of the fact that the Iranians have been making statements, using a certain rhetoric, and acting with a certain attitude that does
not inspire confidence either for us or for our friends in the region.” The wild card in all these scenarios, of course, is the possibility of an American or Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program, and then of Iran’s probable retaliatory response. The latter might well include some forms of direct military or terrorist assault against targets, American or otherwise, located in the nearby GCC states. As Iranian propaganda never tires of repeating, this is a hellish prospect for these vulnerable bystanders to contemplate. In June 2007, Kuwait witnessed an unusually blunt, high-level public exchange on this topic. The visiting Iranian speaker of parliament, Gholam Ali Hadad
Adel, declared that if U.S. forces used GCC bases to attack Iran, “we will be forced to defend ourselves. . . . We will target those bases or points.” Kuwait’s defense and interior minister, Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al- Sabah, offered this response the next day: “The United States did not ask, and even if it did, we will not allow anybody to use our territory.” The minister reiterated this position in late September 2007, while also noting that the defense budget had just been augmented with an “emergency” supplement. Kuwait and its GCC partners are thus pinned on the horns of a real dilemma: they dread the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, but they dread the consequences of a strike against Iran as well. This uneasy and ambiguous situation shows every indication of enduring for a protracted period.
David Pollock, past publications include the widely read Policy Paper The 'Arab Street'? Public Opinion in the Arab World (1993) and the 2007 compilation With Neighbors Like These: Iraq and the Arab States on Its Borders.

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davep. يقول...

I heard this entire paper is being published by Al-Qabas in some form. Can someone please get me the exact reference? Arabic OK! Thanks.

Gulf seurity أمن الخليج العربي

Kuwait
تبين هذه المدونة كيف تمتع الخليج بأهمية كبيرة أدت إلى خلق عبء استراتيجي على أهله بصورة ظهرت فيها الجغرافيا وهي تثقل كاهل التاريخ وهي مدونة لاستشراف مستقبل الأمن في الخليج العربي The strategic importance of the Gulf region creates a strategic burden and show a good example of Geography as burden on history. This blog well examine this and forecast the Gulf's near future and events in its Iraq, Iran ,Saudi Arabia ,Kuwait, Bahrain ,Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman

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