DN - Defence Notes

GDA 2017: US talks up strategic partnership with Kuwait

6th December 2017 - 12:12 GMT | by Richard Thomas in London

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Days away from the start of the Gulf Defence and Aerospace exhibition in Kuwait, senior US officials have spoken highly of the country’s ‘strategic partnership’ with the Gulf state.

Ties between the two countries have continued to develop since a US-back coalition liberated Kuwait from Iraqi forces in 1991. In the decades since, US forces maintain a significant presence in the country with several military facilities and thousands of personnel based there.

Kuwait is a key location in the ongoing US-led campaign against militant forces operating in Iraq and Syria.

While on a regional tour, US Secretary of State for Defense, Gen James Mattis, issued a statement following meeting with senior Kuwaiti officials, including Minister of Defence Muhammad Al Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah.

The Al Sabah family, formally the House of Sabah, has ruled Kuwait since the 1700’s.

In the US DoD statement on 5 Novmeber Secretary Mattis ‘expressed appreciation for the strategic partnership between the United States and Kuwait’ and for the nations support ‘in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [sic]’.

Further, the statement ‘noted the importance of de-escalating tensions so all partners in the Gulf region can focus on next steps in meeting common goals’.

GCC countries Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, along with regional allies, have worked to isolate neighbouring Qatar with a series of economic and political sanctions for alleged support of terrorism and close ties to Iran.

Recent weeks have seen a number of contract awards relating to US activity in Kuwait.

On 27 November the US DoD stated that New Jersey-based Centurum Information Technology had been awarded a $10 million contract for services at a number of US and overseas bases, including Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait.

In December another DoD contract award to Lockheed Martin detailed a logistics and engineering support services in support of C/KC-130J aircraft operated by US and Kuwaiti forces.

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