Kuwait Speaker opposes use of his country to launch attacks

February 5, 2010
By

Speaker Jassem Al Khorafi

Kuwait’s National Assembly Speaker Jassem Al Khorafi said that Kuwait would not allow the use of its territories to launch attacks on other countries, Kuwaiti media reported on Friday.

“I have not been informed or even heard of this request,” Al Khorafi answered when asked about Western reports claiming that the US has requested Kuwait that it would use its territories as launch pad to attack other countries.

However, Al Khorafi said that US anti-missile Patriot batteries have been stationed in Kuwait since the Iraqi invasion in 1990 and are there for purely defensive purposes.

A Kuwait test of the batteries one month ago was “part of the regular and normal procedures, not due to the latest developments in the region,” US Ambassador to Kuwait Deborah K. Jones reportedly told Kuwaiti daily Arab Times.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Kuwait, as well as a cooperation defense agreement that goes back to around 20 years. It is only natural that we regularly discuss our defensive systems as a whole,” Jones said.

 “There are no emergencies behind the exercises we conducted about a month ago on the Patriot batteries that are here in Kuwait and which Kuwait is operating effectively,” Jones said.

In Washington, Bahrain’s foreign minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa defended his country’s right to protect itself and insisted that Iran should not see the missile shield deployment as a measure to attack any country.

During a press conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, Shaikh Khalid on Wednesday said that the protections measures have been in place for decades, but are now being improved, without seeking to threaten anyone.

“We’re not seeing anything new, nobody’s sabre-rattling here, nobody is being belligerent to anyone in the region. It’s just a purely defensive measure for the benefit of the whole world, for the region being so important to the whole world,” Shaikh Khalid said.

The US administration on Monday said that it would boost the protection capabilities of its Gulf allies by upgrading defence possibilities in the region. Iran immediately poured scorn on the decision, and Ali Larijani, the parliament speaker, dismissed the American missile shield as an American “puppet show” and a new political ploy to pave the way to increase its military strength in the region.

However, Shaikh Khalid said that the deployment was not an antagonistic measure.

“The point is we did not threaten anybody. The measures have been there for decades. I say it again. And it’s being developed, it’s being upgraded, new technology is coming in. So there’s nothing that we are taking the level of the weaponry to [the point] it will threaten somebody in our neighborhood.

“But we expect Iran not to see it as a measure being taken against it. This is a measure to protect. It’s not a measure to attack. It’s a measure to protect the interests of the whole world. We all know how vital the Gulf region is to the whole world and how vital the waterways out of the Gulf are for everybody.

“So to just leave it like that, to the elements, is something that we should not expect to do. So it’s something we should do as a diligent move to protect our interest – everybody’s interest,” he said.Shaikh Khalid hoped there would be no misinterpretation that would trigger an arms race in the region, saying that there concerns about it in the region.

“If things are interpreted wrongly, there will be an arms race. But things – we should put things in perspective that this is only a defensive measure and should not call for an arms race in the region,” he said.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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