Military of Kuwait

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Military of Kuwait
Service branches

Kuwaiti Defense Forces

Leadership
His Excellency, Sheikh Khaled Al Jarrah Al Sabah
Manpower
Military age 18
Available for
military service
900,745 (2010 est.), age 15–49
Fit for
military service
857,292 (2010 est.), age 15–49
Reaching military
age annually
22,000 (2005 est.)
Expenditures
Budget $4.7 billion (2008)[1]
Industry
Foreign suppliers  United States
 Russia
 Egypt
 United Kingdom
 France
 Germany
Related articles
History

The Military of Kuwait consists principally of the Kuwaiti Army, Kuwaiti Navy & Coast Guard, Kuwaiti Air Force and the Kuwaiti Emiri Guard.[2] Each armed force has its own Commander who reports to the Chief of Staff of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces; the latter reports to the Kuwaiti Minister of Defense who is also designated by government protocol as Deputy Prime Minister.[2] The Kuwaiti National Guard is an independent corps from the Kuwaiti Armed Forces with its own independent commander, who reports directly to the Kuwaiti Minister of Defense.[2] The Kuwaiti Emiri Guard is an independent unit with its own independent commander and is part of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces.[2] Similarly to the Kuwaiti Emiri Guard, the Kuwait 25th Commando Brigade is an independent brigade with its own independent commander and is part of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces.[2]

According to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, in 2007 the Kuwaiti army had around 11,000 personnel, the air force 2,500, the Navy 10 patrol and coastal craft, and there were 23,000 reservists for all services. There were 6,600 paramilitary Kuwaiti National Guard forces. It was considered that, although Kuwaiti’s armed forces remained small, training and military readiness were taken seriously, and were effective at the brigade and squadron level.[3]:40

As a small nation with a limited citizen population, the Kuwaitis have often had serious problems maintaining a formidable military that can serve as even a partial deterrent to the country’s larger neighbors.[3]:33 Until the 1990 invasion, Kuwait preferred to address national security threats through diplomacy and efforts to play off rival powers against each other. According to a U.S. military publication "It did not take the route of attempting to transform itself into a small but well-armed and mobilized society (such as Israel or Cuba) that could exact a costly price on any potential invader."[3]:33 Also, a strong military was a potential threat to the leadership.[3]:34 However, it was always a problem to man the armed forces without non-citizen Bedouin and foreign Arab soldiers, including Palestinians. Male conscription was introduced from 1978 until the 1990s. By the time of the 1990 invasion Kuwait's military was about 12,000 strong.[3]:34

Kuwaiti Defense Forces also include the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior which also performs military duties. The Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior is in charge of internal (criminal, immigration, drug trafficking and other internal departments), border and coastal security, each with its own commander reporting to the Kuwaiti Minister of Interior, who is also designated by government protocol as Deputy Prime Minister. The Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior closely coordinates operations with the Kuwaiti Armed Forces, the Kuwaiti National Guard and the Kuwaiti Emiri Guard.[2] Unlike most countries that have different ranks amongst the respective armed forces; in Kuwait; all military ranks across Kuwaiti Defense Forces follow the same rank insignia and chevron with no separation amongst the various forces.[2] The Kuwaiti Defense Forces rank insignia is based on the British Army rank insignia; all under alike, in defense of the Crown.[2]

Both the Kuwaiti Minister of Defense and the Kuwaiti Minister of Interior are officially designated by protocol as Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Ministers, and report to the Prime Minister (as of 2014 Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah). The Prime Minister then reports to the Deputy Supreme Commander of the Military(as of 2014 Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Crown Prince of Kuwait), who finally reports to the Supreme Commander of the Military of Kuwait (as of 2014 Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Emir and Ruler of Kuwait).

The operational doctrine is aimed at ensuring the armed forces can withstand an attack for 48 to 72 hours, protecting key areas, until international reinforcements come to Kuwait’s aid.[4]

Organization[edit]

The Kuwaiti Army is the primary land force of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces. The Kuwaiti Army was established in 1949 and is the oldest armed wing amongst the armed forces of Kuwait. The Kuwaiti Army was part of the Kuwaiti Public Security Force in 1938 and part of the Defense and Security Forces in desert and metropolitan areas from 1928 to 1938.[2] The Kuwaiti Army supersedes the Politics of Kuwait in seniority and is older than the Government of Kuwait, the Constitution of Kuwait and the National Assembly of Kuwait.[2]

The Kuwaiti Navy & Coast Guard is the sea-based component of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces. The headquarters and sole naval base is Ras al-Qulayah Naval Base, located in the south of Kuwait, approximately 35 miles (56 km) south of Kuwait City.[2]

The Kuwait Air Force is the air arm of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces. The Air Force headquarters is at Al Mubarak Air Base, with the remaining forces stationed at Air Defence Brigade, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base.[2] The Kuwaiti Air Force supersedes the Politics of Kuwait in seniority and is older than the Government of Kuwait, the Constitution of Kuwait and the National Assembly of Kuwait.[2]

The Kuwaiti Emiri Guard is an independent unit in the Kuwaiti Armed Forces.[2]

The Kuwaiti 25th Commando Brigade is an independent brigade in the Kuwaiti Armed Forces.[2]

The Kuwaiti National Guard is an independent corps from the Kuwaiti Armed Forces and is an internal and border security force.[2]

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior is an independent corps from the Kuwaiti Armed Forces and is an internal, coastal and border security force.[2]

The Kuwaiti Armed Forces maintains a military base on Bubiyan Island, which has been established in 1991.[5]

History[edit]

The Kuwait National Guard, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior and the Kuwaiti Emiri Guard trace their original roots to the Kuwaiti cavalrymen and infantrymen that used to protect Kuwait and its wall since the early 1900s.[2] These cavalrymen and infantrymen formed the Defense and Security Forces in metropolitan and desert areas; charged with protecting outposts outside the wall of Kuwait.

Kuwait-Najd War[edit]

The Kuwait–Najd War was the outcome of the support of the House of Sabah for some members of the House of Saud against other members.[2]

The conflicts surfaced during the reign of both the fifth and seventh Rulers of Kuwait, blood brothers Sheiks Abdullah II Sabah II Al-Jaber I Al-Sabah and Mubarak Sabah II Al-Jaber I Al-Sabah, supporting members of the house of Saud.[2]

It began when the 5th Ruler granted asylum to the sons of Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah Al Saud.[6] Sheikh Abdullah granted asylum to Prince Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki Al-Saud of the House of Saud and his followers who took refuge in Kuwait due to a dispute over the rule of the Emirate of Nejd; today's Saudi Arabia; with his brother Prince Saud bin Faisal bin Turki;[6] a dispute that lead to many wars between the two brothers. Prince Abdullah bin Faisal resided in Kuwait.[6]

The younger son of Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah Al Saud, Prince Abdul Rahman bin Faisal, took refuge in Kuwait during the reign of Sheikh Abdullah II Sabah II Al-Jaber I Al-Sabah when the Saudi Prince was in conflict with the Al Rashid tribe and fled to Kuwait in 1891.[2] His son Ibn Saud recaptured Riyadh in 1902 at the age of 24 during the reign of the 7th Ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Mubarak Sabah II Al-Jaber I Al-Sabah.[2] During that time, the House of Sabah engaged in the Kuwait–Najd War, the 1919 Battle of Hamdh, the 1920 Battle of Jahra and the Battle of Al-Regeai in 1928.[2]

Many Bedouin tribes originally from Saudi Arabia settled in Kuwait during that time and, according to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense, partook in the defense of Kuwait.[2] Many of these Bedouin Saudi tribes eventually took Kuwaiti nationality with the forming of the Government of Kuwait in 1961 and served in the Military of Kuwait.[2]

It is claimed in some books that following the Kuwait–Najd War, Ibn Saud imposed a tight trade blockade against Kuwait for 14 years from 1923 until 1937.[7][8] The goal of the Saudi economic and military attacks on Kuwait was to annex as much of Kuwait's territory as possible.[7] At the Uqair conference in 1922, the boundaries of Kuwait and Najd were set.[7] Kuwait had no representative at the Uqair conference.[7] Ibn Saud persuaded Sir Percy Cox to give him two-thirds of Kuwait's territory.[7] More than half of Kuwait was lost due to Uqair.[7] After the Uqair conference, Kuwait was still subjected to a Saudi economic blockade and intermittent Saudi raiding.[7]

However, historians argue that within tribal Honor codes of the Bedouin and the history of real political accountability; such actions would be considered an exaggeration. Political history and right course of action would suggest that His Highness Ibn Saud would have been indebted to Kuwait for the solidarity provided by the House of Sabah during difficult times.[9] Such obvious reciprocation of solidarity was historically witnessed and applied realistically during the Gulf War when the Government of Kuwait operated in exile from Saudi Arabia and where the House of Saud played an integral part in restoring His Highness the 13th Ruler and 3rd Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to the governing seat of Kuwait.[9]

Battle of Hamdh (1919)[edit]

In 1915, during the reign of the 8th Ruler of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber II, Sheikh Abdullah Jaber Al-Abdullah II Al-Sabah, the grandson of the 5th Ruler of Kuwait Sheikh Abdallah II Sabah II Al-Jaber I Al-Sabah, was requested by Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah who was the battle commander of Defense and Security Forces in the desert to join under the command of Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah as a knight and squadron leader.[2] Accordingly, Sheikh Abdullah Jaber Al-Abdullah II Al-Sabah took on that assignment until Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah became the 9th Ruler of Kuwait in 1917,[2] when a new battle commander for Defense and Security Forces was appointed under whom Sheikh Abdullah Jaber Al-Abdullah II Al-Sabah operated until the Hamadh Battle in 1919.[2]

This battle resulted from a village settlement built within the Kuwaiti borders by the Ikhwan group,[2] an Islamic religious militia which formed the main military force of the Arab ruler Ibn Saud and played a key role in establishing him as ruler of Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah dispatched men of the Kuwaiti cavalry commanded by Sheikh Abdullah Jaber Al-Abdullah II Al-Sabah to the settlement.[2] According to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense, the Kuwaiti cavalry did not have orders to engage the Ikhwan,[2] but the Ikhwan group led by Faisal al-Duwaish conducted a surprise attack against them.[2] The Ikhwan group consisted of five thousand cavalrymen against two thousand Kuwaiti cavalrymen. The battle took its course through six days of intense combat and resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. The wounded were treated with salt and water as there were no medical personnel or supplies.[2]

Battle of Jahra and the construction of Kuwait City defensive wall[edit]

In 1920, and as a result of the outcomes of the Hamadh Battle (1919); the 9th Ruler of Kuwait Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah ( reign: 1917-1921) ordered the construction of a wall surrounding Kuwait city which would protect the people of Kuwait from invaders.[2] The wall of Kuwait was commissioned and built in 1920.[2] The wall was five miles long along the desert border of Kuwait ending at the sea front. The wall of Kuwait consisted of five main gates, a number of observation posts and several round towers.[2]

In October fighting erupted in an Al-Jahra village, west of Kuwait, outside the recently commissioned wall. While the battle commenced Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah was in the Red Fort in Al-Jahra.[2] Kuwaiti Defense and Security Forces were engaged in battle outside the Red Fort in open terrain against a force of four thousand of the Ikhwan group led by Faisal al-Duwaish.[2] Kuwaiti Defense and Security Forces were mainly led by squadron cavalry commanders Sheikhs Ali Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah, Jaber Abdullah II Al-Sabah II Al-Sabah (1860-1920) and his son Sheikh Abdullah Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah (1898-1996).[2]

The commanders of the Kuwaiti cavalry retreated to the Red Fort, where Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah was.[2] Cavalry commander Sheikh Jaber Abdullah II Al-Sabah II Al-Sabah charged the enemy, to cover the retreat; His Excellency and his force were killed.[2] Once in the Red Fort Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah organized its defense.[2] The Ikhwan group attacked the Red Fort continuously for four days and nights.[2]

Water was running out and losses were heavy, particularly among non-combatant villagers who had taken refuge in the Red Fort.[2] Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah sent two of his fastest cavalrymen to get help from Kuwait City, with the dismounted cavalry holding off the attackers until help arrived.[2] Losses for the Ikhwan group were heavy, and negotiations were started, but no settlement was initially reached.[2] When the rescue party arrived from Kuwait city aboard three ships, the Ikhwan negotiated a peaceful withdrawal.[2]

Battle of Al-Regaei (1928)[edit]

In 1928 the Battle of Al-Regaei took place and was considered the last military battle in Kuwait's early history.[2] The battle took place in January during the reign of the 10th Ruler, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. In this battle, vehicles were used for the first time in Kuwaiti warfare.[2] The battle was brought to effect by a raid of the Ikhwan group on a number of Kuwaiti Bedouins who were farming in an area designated "Umm Al-Ruweisat", located in the northwest of Al-Jahra.[2] The Ikhwan force of some five hundred horsemen and camel riders killed the Bedouin and looted their farms.[2]

When the news reached Kuwait City, the battle Commander of Defense and Security Forces Sheikh Ali Al-Salem Al-Sabah formed an army commanded by battle cavalry commanders Sheikhs Ali Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah, Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, and Abdullah Jaber Al-Abdullah II Al-Sabah.[2] Vehicle-transported armed men from Al-Jahra and Kuwait city joined the battle formation contingent lead by Sheikh Ali Al-Salem Al-Sabah.[2]

The attackers were chased to Al-Batin valley, west of Al-Jahra and were cut off there.[2] Kuwaiti Forces led by Sheikh Ali Al-Salem Al-Sabah fought the Ikhwan group and inflicted heavy casualties; they withdrew.[2] Sheikh Ali Al-Salem pursued them to Al-Batin valley, but was killed.[2] Sheikh Ali Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah was injured and remained in the valley.[2]

Following the death of Sheikh Ali Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the 10th Ruler of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah ordered that Defense and Security Forces in Al-Jahra outside the wall of Kuwait fall under the command of Sheikh Abdullah Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, the Commander General of Defense and Security Forces from 1928-1938.[2] The Defense and Security Forces in metropilitan and desert areas later formed the Kuwaiti Army within the Kuwaiti Public Security Force.[2] The Kuwaiti Army was later expanded to the Kuwaiti Armed Forces and formed by divide the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior while separating from the Kuwaiti Public Security Force.[2]

The wall of Kuwait protected the desert component of the country.[2]

Sheikh Abdullah Jaber Al-Abdullah II Al-Sabah, the grandson of the 5th Ruler of Kuwait Sheikh Abdallah II Sabah II Al-Jaber I Al-Sabah, in front of the Kuwaiti cavalry during the Battle of Al-Regeai outside the wall of Kuwait.[2]

The Kuwaiti Public Security Department (1938-1953)[edit]

In 1938, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah established the Kuwaiti Public Security Department located in the middle of Safat in Kuwait City; later known as the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior.[2] The Kuwaiti Public Security was headed by Sheikh Ali Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah in 1939 with acting deputy Marshall Sheikh Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah II Al-Sabah.[2]

Parade organized by the Kuwaiti Public Security Force in 1944 in honor of His Highness the tenth ruler Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah being decorated by the British Government[2]

In 1948, a border force and security force was formed within the Kuwaiti Public Security Department formed from members of the Defense and Security Forces entrusted with guarding the wall of Kuwait.[2] In 1953, the Kuwaiti border force and security force came to be known as the Kuwaiti Army and split from the Kuwaiti Public Security Department; forming the Ministry of Interior. The Kuwaiti Army was headed by Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who had recently returned from military training in the United Kingdom and reported to Marshal Sheikh Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah II Al-Sabah.[2]

During the 1948-1949 Israeli War of Independence Kuwait was not a formal belligerent, although some Kuwait volunteers joined the Arab Liberation Army.[10]

Kuwaiti Army and Ministry of Interior created by reorganisation (1953)[edit]

In 1950 Sheikh Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah ordered the capabilities of the Armed Forces to be developed to deal with foreign external threats.[2] Accordingly, Marshal Sheikh Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah II Al-Sabah was appointed Commander General of the Kuwaiti Public Security Force, the newly designated Kuwaiti Army and the Armed Forces.[2] In 1953 the Defense Security Forces and Frontier Forces were separated from the Kuwaiti Public Security Department and designated as the Kuwaiti Army.[2] Members of the Defense Security and Frontier Forces who did not join the new Army were later merged with Police Forces to form the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior.[2]

In 1951 the Bren Gun entered into service with the Kuwaiti Public Security Department, primarily with the Army.[2] In 1952 the Daimler Armoured Car entered service, primarily with the Army.[2]

Forming of the Kuwaiti Air Force (1953)[edit]

In 1953, Marshal Sheikh Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah II Al-Sabah established the first Kuwaiti Flying Club.[2] The Flying Club was part of the Civilian Aviation Directorate and graduated the first batch of Kuwaiti Pilots in 1954 who later attended advanced training in the United Kingdom.[2]

In 1954 Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was appointed Deputy Head Commander of the Kuwaiti Army, reporting to Marshal Sheikh Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah II Al-Sabah. During that same year, Sheikh Saleh Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah returned from the United Kingdom and was assigned as commanding officer of the Kuwait AlJiwan Camp.[2] Also in 1954 eight Auster aircraft entered into service with the Kuwaiti Flying Club for purposes of preliminary training.[2]

In 1956 the Kuwait Army officially moved to the AlJiwan Camp and Artillery in the Kuwaiti Army was introduced for the first time.[2] Also during the same year, a new training center was established for the Kuwaiti Army.[2]

Demolition of Kuwaiti City defensive wall, and formation of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces[edit]

In 1957, the wall of Kuwait was torn down by the authorities to work on expanding Kuwait City and the expansion of the armed forces while enacting new military bases outside the city in designated strategic desert locations.[2] The tearing down of the defense wall invited Bedouin tribal geopolitical malpractices from across the region which required the enacting of new forms of security measures.[2] Accordingly, the Kuwaiti Public Security Force was reshaped and split into two emerging entities.[2] The Kuwaiti Army which was part of the Kuwaiti Public Security Force became an independent unit and police forces operating under the Kuwaiti Public Security Force formed the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior.[2] The Kuwaiti Army came to be known as the first stand alone and only principal Armed Forces Wing of the later Kuwaiti Armed Forces.[2] However, the tearing down of the wall while beneficial in terms of establishing the newly formed Armed Force also allowed Bedouin tribal incursions from neighboring countries. However, with the forming of the newly established Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior; the law and justice system was enacted and tribal incursions started to become limited and confined from results of accountability.[2] In the same year the Kuwaiti Army signed on the procurement of the Centurion tank.[2] The year of 1957 also saw the newly formed Kuwaiti Air Force entering 2 de Havilland DH.104 Dove monoplanes into service.[2]

In 1958 Kuwaiti officers were sent to the Military Academies in Egypt and Iraq to train,[2] and the Kuwaiti Army was put on its first alert phase following the coup of Abdul Karim Qasim.[2]

In 1959 the Kuwaiti Army set up its first mechanized combat brigade, the Kuwait 6th Liberation Mechanized Brigade.[2] In 1960 the treasury department of the Kuwaiti Army was established.[2]

Operation Vantage (1961)[edit]

HMS Victorious taking part in Operation Vantage in support of Kuwait in July 1961

A year later in 1961, Marshal Sheikh Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah II Al-Sabah, the Commander General of the Armed Force,s was absent and Brigadier General Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah stepped in to take part in Operation Vantage along with the Kuwaiti Armed Forces including the already active Kuwait 25th Commando Brigade as the Armed Forces were put on their second alert phase.[2] Also during the same year, the Kuwaiti Flying Club was separated from the Civilian Aviation Directorate and the Kuwaiti Air Force was officially enacted.[2] Also in 1961, the Universal Carrier was retired from the Kuwaiti Army[2]

A year later in 1962, the Kuwaiti Army enacted the Kuwait 35th Shaheed (Martyr) Armored Brigade and the Kuwait 15th Mubarak Armored Brigade which were considered the second and third functioning mechanized brigades in service.[2] During that same year, the Kuwaiti Army showcased and prepared the first military parade in recognition of the first independence of Kuwait[2] and the BAC Jet Provostentered into service with the Kuwaiti Air Force.[2]

Establishment of the General Chief of Staff Headquarters (1963)[edit]

In 1963 an organizational Amiri Decree was issued, enacting officially the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense along with the cancellation of the Head Command of the Kuwaiti Public Security Department and the establishment of the General Chief of Staff Headquarters of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces.[2] Similarly, an Amiri Decree was issued to appoint Major General Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to the first unprecedented position of Chief of Staff of the newly formed Kuwaiti Armed Forces. During the same year, the subsonic British Hawker Hunter jet aircraft and the de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou transport aircraft entered into service with the Kuwaiti Air Force[2]

In 1965 Brigadier General Sheikh Saleh Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah was appointed as the first Deputy Chief of Staff of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces.[2]

Six Day War (1967) & War of Attrition (1967-1970)[edit]

In 1966, the headquarters of the Kuwaiti Military Hospital was opened. In 1967, the Chief of Staff Major General Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah appointed his deputy Brigadier General Sheikh Saleh Mohammed Al-Sabah as acting commander of a hand-picked brigade from the Kuwaiti Armed Forces, mainly the Kuwaiti Army. In 1967 several Arab nations were at war with Israel in the Six Day War. Kuwait did not openly participate, but a contingent from the army took part in fighting in the central sector; Kuwaiti participation was too small to have any significant impact.[10] The assembled Yarmouk Brigade participated on the Egyptian Front, the first Kuwaiti military unit to fight outside the territory of Kuwait.[2]

On June 6, 1967 the Kuwaiti National Guard was established.[2] On July 1, the War of Attrition against Israel commenced while the Yarmouk brigade was engaged on the Egyptian Front.[2] In 1968, Kuwaiti military authorities established the Kuwaiti Military Academy.[2]

In 1969, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces placed the English Electric Lightning supersonic jet fighter aircraft and the Bell 206 and Bell 204/205 (mainly the 205) helicopters into service with the Kuwaiti Air Force.[2]

In 1970, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces suffered seventeen fatalities in fighting against Israeli forces in Egypt. One man was killed in April and sixteen more were killed in June.[2] During the same year, the Kuwaiti Air Force placed BAC Strikemaster light attack jets into service and the following year took delivery of Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.[2]

In 1972, the Kuwaiti Army introduced the Vickers MBT main battle tank series, and the Kuwaiti Armed Forces trained Egyptian pilots and technicians through the Kuwaiti Air Force on the English Electric Lightning.[2]

Double-fronted wars: 1973 Sanita border skirmish and October War[edit]

In 1973, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces entered into their third alert phase with the beginning of the Kuwait-Iraq 1973 Sanita border skirmish[2] which led to a significant change in the operational capabilities of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces.[2] During the same year, in 1973, the leadership of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces found itself battling at two uneven fronts.[2] While components of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces were readying to fight against Iraq following the skirmish on the Kuwaiti border, Kuwait sent a token force to participate on the West Bank of the Jordan River[10] alongside the Iraqi Armed Forces on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts during the 1973 October War against Israel (also known as the Yom Kippur war), being especially heavily engaged on the Syrian front.[2] As in 1967, Kuwaiti participation was too small to have any significant impact.[10] During 1973, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces officially enacted the Kuwaiti Naval Armed Service; mainly the Kuwaiti Navy.[2]

In 1973 the Chief of Staff, Major General Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, led a double fronted war with and against the same Arab belligerent for the defense of Kuwait.[2] Sheikh Mubarak led a third of Kuwaiti Armed Forces brigades engaged on both Syrian and Egyptian fronts during the war against Israel with the Iraqi Armed Forces while simultaneously leading and engaging the other two-thirds of the Kuwaiti brigades on the Kuwaiti borders during the 1973 Sanita War against the Iraqi Armed Forces.[2]

As the 1973 October War was drawing to an end, members of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces engaged on the Syrian and Egyptian fronts returned to Kuwait to find their military leadership and counterpart successful in halting the crisis caused by Iraq.[2] One year later in 1974 and as a result of unpredictable conflicting crises, defense authorities enacted a new plan to expand the Kuwaiti Armed Forces even further.[2] During the same year, Kuwaiti Armed Forces introduced the Aérospatiale Gazelle and Puma series helicopters to the Kuwaiti Air Force[2]

In 1975 Kuwaiti defense authorities enacted the establishment of the first Kuwaiti naval base.[2] During the same year, Kuwaiti Armed Forces signed on the delivery of the MIM-23 Hawk surface to air missile system[2] and merged the Air Defense component to the Kuwaiti Air Force. The de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou was retired from service.[2]

In 1976, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces took delivery of Dassault Mirage F1s to be operated by the Kuwaiti Air Force.[2] During the same year, the Kuwaiti Air Force retired the Bell 206 and Bell 204/205 from service.[2]

In 1977 Defense Authorities enacted the Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, officially opened in 1979, and Ali Al Salem Air Base, officially opened in 1980.[2] During the year of 1977, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces retired several equipment operated by the Air Force and Army and gained one new operating equipment.[2] The English Electric Lightning and Hawker Hunter were retired by the Air Force and Douglas A-4 Skyhawks were introduced; while the Vickers MBT was retired by the Army.[2]

Creation of the Kuwaiti Navy (1978)[edit]

In 1978 the Kuwaiti Navy and Coast Guard was created and designated as the sea-based component of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces.[2] During the same period, the Kuwaiti Army entered into service the M113 armored personnel carrier, the 9K52 Luna-M short range artillery rocket system and the M109 howitzer.[2]

Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)[edit]

In 1980, the Iran-Iraq War sbroke out and the Kuwaiti Armed Forces entered into their fourth alert phase.[2] During the same year, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces signed on the procurement of naval warships for the Kuwaiti Navy and Coast Guard.[2]

First joint Kuwaiti-Saudi air drills (1983)[edit]

In 1983 the Kuwaiti Armed Forces carried out the first air joint training with the Royal Saudi Air Force using Douglas A-4 Skyhawks.[2]

In 1984, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces enter the short range tactical surface to air missile system 9K33 Osa in service to be operated by the Kuwaiti Air Force.[2] During the same year, the ordered naval warships arrived and were directly commissioned by the Kuwaiti Navy and Coast Guard.[2]

Creation of the Kuwaiti Army (1988)[edit]

In 1988 the Kuwaiti Army was formed and designated as the land component of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces.[2] The Kuwaiti Armed Forces were removed from their alert phase with the ending of the Iran-Iraq War.[2] The eight-year fourth alert phase was the longest in the Armed Forces' history.[2] With the ending of the Iran-Iraq War, the Kuwaiti Army adopted the BMP-2 infantry combat vehicle.[2]

In 1989 the Kuwaiti Armed Forces signed on the delivery of F/A-18 Hornets and launched the opening of the new Kuwaiti Military Hospital.[2]

Douglas A-4 Skyhawk aircraft of the Kuwaiti Air Force are serviced on a flight line in preparation for a mission during Operation Desert Storm on 13 Feb 1991

Iraqi invasion and aftermath (1990)[edit]

On 2 August 1990 Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait, the first invasion in modern times of one Arab nation by another. US sources have suggested that the Kuwaiti leadership, and other Arab leaders, did not seem to comprehend the danger from Iraqi troops massed on the border, thinking that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was merely posturing to intimidate the Kuwaitis into financial concessions. As a result of what seemed to be diplomatic progress, the emir stood down the army to avoid provoking Saddam.[3]:26 Kuwaiti leaders may have believed that giving Iraq about US$20 billion during the war with Iran had purchased them some goodwill, and may have fundamentally misunderstood Saddam’s regime's criminal nature.[3]:26

The million-strong Iraqi army brushed aside disorganized resistance by the 20,000-strong Kuwaiti Armed Forces with heavy casualties; by the end of the day, Kuwait had been fully conquered.[2][3]:26–27[11] There were some instances of especially heroic resistance, particularly by combat aircraft pilots. Kuwaiti Forces, principally the Kuwait 35th Shaheed (Martyr) Armored Brigade of the Kuwait Army, engaged in the Battle of the Bridges near Al Jahra under Colonel Salem Masoud Al-Sorour, and the Kuwaiti Emiri Guards were engaged in the Battle of Dasman Palace where the emir's half-brother Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (1945-1990) was killed. Kuwaiti sources have given extremely heroic reports of this engagement;[2] others have expressed doubt[3]:36.

Iraqi forces seized all the heavy military equipment of the Kuwaiti military and used it against the coalition forces. This included the entire navy, which was sunk by coalition forces. Tanks and armoured personnel carriers were also seized, and also destroyed. While the Iraqis were required to return seized equipment after their defeat, most of it was damaged beyond repair. Only the air force escaped complete destruction, as many of its aircraft had escaped to Saudi Arabia.[10]

Within a week of the successful invasion, Iraq annexed Kuwait and declared that its existence as an independent nation had ended. The capital was renamed "Iraq's City of Kuwait", and Kuwait was declared the 19th province of Iraq.[11] Kuwait’s wealth was systematically plundered, and the Iraqi military engaged in gratuitous vandalism and destruction of the Kuwaiti infrastructure.[3]

Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm (1990-1991)[edit]

Kuwaiti M-84 MBTs.
Ground troop movements 24–28 February 1991 during Operation Desert Storm

In the same year Kuwait was part of a U.S.-led military coalition formed in response to the invasion which expelled Iraq from Kuwait in what became known as the Gulf War. Operation Desert Storm was launched by the coalition.[2] Douglas A-4 Skyhawks of the Kuwaiti Air Force destroyed several Iraqi Naval ships trying to infiltrate into Bubiyan Island.[2]

The Kuwaiti Armed Forces commissioned and entered into service the M-84 battle tank during the attack on Iraqi forces in Saudi Arabia.[2]

Iraq was defeated by the coalition forces in the Gulf War and expelled from Kuwait, which reassumed existence as an independent nation.

Aftermath[edit]

After the liberation, Kuwait became a close military partner of the United States, Britain and France. Relationships considered an important alliances. Kuwait’s strategic importance increased later, following the U.S. withdrawal of combat forces from Saudi Arabia in 2003 [3] and the beginning of the Iraq War where the Military of Kuwait played a major pivotal role supporting the logistical operations of the United States Armed Forces engaged in military operations in Iraq.[2]

Both Iraq and Iran are considered to be potential threats to Kuwait. The Kuwaiti leadership fears Iranian interest in domination of the Gulf and is especially opposed to Iranian efforts to compel the United States to withdraw its military forces from the region; and the Kuwaitis, and other Gulf Arabs, are deeply concerned about the Iranian nuclear program.[3]

Kuwait entered into a ten-year defense cooperation agreement with the United States in September 1991, then later the United Kingdom and France as well. The defense cooperation with the United States, the United Kingdom and France is done at the training level in the foreign country and at the joint military exercise level on Kuwaiti soil.[2] Sailors of the Kuwaiti Navy undergo training and drill in France with the French Navy while Kuwaiti marines undergo training and drill with units of the United States Marine Corps,specialized elite units of the United States Navy and specialized elite units of the French Army and the Commandos Marine.[2] Units of the Kuwaiti Army undergo training and conduct military drills in Kuwait with the United States Army, the British Army and the French Army to include also the elite regiments of the French Foreign Legion.[2] Specialized units of the Kuwaiti Army train with elite specialized units of the United States Army, United States Navy, British Army, French Army and the Royal Jordanian Army.[2] Personnel of the Kuwaiti Air Force are primarily trained by the United States Air Force and the Royal Air Force. Recently, pilots of the Kuwaiti Air Force have undergone training with the Italian Air Force; however, the United States Air Force is the primary lead for training, drills and reference.[2]

The agreement with the United States also includes port access, military equipment storage, and joint training and exercises. The agreement did not officially provide for the stationing of United States service personnel in Kuwait, as the 1,500 US personnel remaining after the Gulf War were scheduled to leave within a few months.

In 1992 the Kuwaiti Armed Forces initiated joint structuring of its various Armed Forces.[2] In the same year, F/A-18 Hornet aircraft were delivered and entered official service with the Kuwaiti Air Force.[2]

October 1994 crisis with Iraq[edit]

In 1994 the Kuwaiti Armed Forces entered their fifth alert phase with the beginning of the Iraq disarmament crisis in October,[2] and the Kuwaiti Air Force signed on the delivery of Starburst missile systems.[2]

In 1995 the Desert Warrior tracked armoured vehicle and the BM-30 Smerch System entered into service with the Kuwaiti Army.[2]

In 1996 the M1A2 Abrams main battle tank and the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle entered Kuwaiti service.[2] During the same year, the Mubarak al-Abdullah Joint Command and Staff College (Arabic: كلية مبارك العبدالله للقيادة و الأركان المشتركة - دولة الكويت‎), named in memory of Lieutenant General Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (1934-1987), opened.[2]

Operation Desert Strike (1996)[edit]

Following Operation Desert Strike in 1996, Kuwait agreed to a United States Battalion Task Force to be permanently stationed in Kuwait.[12] These US Army Intrinsic Action (later called Operation Desert Spring on 1 October 1999) rotations and US Marine Corps EAGER MACE rotations conducted combined training with the Kuwaiti Land Forces and other coalition partners. In addition, US Special Operations Forces conducted Iris Gold rotations to train and assist other Kuwaiti military units.

In 1997, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces entered into service the MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system with the Kuwaiti Air Force.[2]

Operation Desert Fox (1998)[edit]

In 1998 the Kuwaiti Armed Forces made an organizational change in command between the Chief of Staff and his various assistants through the chains of command.[2] During the same year, the Kuwaiti Armed Forces enter into their sixth alert phase with the December 1998 bombing of Iraq (code-named Operation Desert Fox) between the United States, the United Kingdom and Iraq.[2]

50th anniversary of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces (1999)[edit]

In 1999, the 50th Anniversary of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces, newly ordered armored Naval warships were received and directly commissioned by the Kuwaiti Navy and Coast Guard.[2]

Global War on Terrorism (from 2001- present)[edit]

Air Marshal Fahad Al-Amir, Kuwait's sixth Chief of the General Staff of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces, seen addressing Marines of the United States Marine Corps in 2009

Throughout the known history of Kuwait; the Military of Kuwait have always allied their capabilities with reliable allies from across the globe and that in order to safeguard the integrity and safety of the people of Kuwait under the guidance and direction of His Highness the Emir and His Highness the Crown Prince of Kuwait who are the Supreme Commanders of the Military of Kuwait.[2]

Since the War on Terror begun with the international lead military campaigns as the result of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States; Kuwait; a major non-NATO ally of the United States, came under the direct effect of the Bedouin tribal geopolitical implications that risked the security of the country.[2]

These tribal geopolitical implications are the direct effect of internal and foreign crises that are the result of the difference between proud Bedouin tribes sticking to their origins respectfully while other Bedouin tribes are claiming a state of Statelessness in their respective country of housing.[2] Stateless Bedouin tribes not from Kuwait attempt to infiltrate the country from Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia; mainly via land and sea; in an attempt to compromise the security of the targeted country.[2]

Such a juxtaposition is seen rioting unjustifiably challenging the legitimacy of the Military of Kuwait; specially, rioting against the military of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior; the Government of Kuwait and its leadership while claiming the enacting of inapplicable democracy when only Bedouin tribal chiefdom would govern; even with an educated and sophisticated young generation that seems modern and promising.[2]

Such a changing claim is also witnessed in other Arab countries housing major Bedouin tribes; and is probably considered by experts as the main catalyst of prevailing chaos with the governing of Arab Spring across the Arab World; a chaos that will most likely bring forth an unfitted and inexperienced tribe to power which would eventually be toppled by the rivalry of another due to the inapplicability of democracy in tribal Arab constitutionalized countries and where loyalty to the tribe supersedes that of a serving government .[2]

As a result, Kuwait has put forth its security and integrity as a primary duty.[2] With the assistance of the United States and other reliable allies, Kuwait has made significant efforts and contributed to the international lead military efforts for global peace and security.[2] The Kuwaiti Armed Forces and security forces including the Kuwaiti National Guard, the Emiri Guard and the Ministry of Interior have passed through alert phases and remain ever vigilant while assisting the international peace efforts in the region.[2]

The Government of Kuwait also continues to improve Defense arrangements with other Arab states, as well as the UN Security Council members.[2]

Order of battle[edit]

Air Force[edit]

According to Jane's World's Air Forces the operational doctrine of the Kuwaiti Air Force is to provide air support to ground forces as part of a coalition, rather than alone. It is made up of 2,500 people organized into two fighter/ground attack squadrons, two fixed-wing transport squadrons, two helicopter squadrons, a utility squadron and a training/attack helicopter squadron. Although comparatively small in size, it is well-equipped and trained, with Kuwaiti pilots averaging 210 flying hours per year. It does not constitute any offensive threat, but can support ground forces in defensive operations.[13]

Army[edit]

The Kuwaiti army consists of 11,000 active duty personnel organized into three armored brigades, two mechanized infantry brigades, a mechanized reconnaissance brigade, an artillery brigade, a combat engineering brigade, a reserve brigade, an Amiri guard brigade, a commando battalion, air defense command and a special forces unit. Its main bases are in Kuwait City (HQ), Al Jabah and Mina Abdullah. The brigades are small by western standards, roughly the equivalent of small regiments or large battalions. They are "cadre forces", kept up to 80 percent of full strength, with the balance made up of reserves in case of war.[13]

Although the threat from Iraq was replaced by the threat of terrorist attacks, the army’s force structure has remained largely static since 2000.

Relationship with the United States Armed Forces[edit]

An analysis of the U.S.-Kuwaiti strategic relationship after the Iraqi invasion was published in 2007 by the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute.[3]

Forces[edit]

The situation as of 2014 is that the United States of America had at least 50,000 troops stationed in Kuwait as part of a defence agreement. The largest part is the US Army Central Command (ARCENT), part of the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM).

Active US Forces facilities:

  1. Ali Al Salem Air Base
  2. Camp Arifjan
  3. Camp Buehring
  4. Camp Fox
  5. Camp Patriot
  6. Camp Spearhead
  7. Camp Virginia
  8. Camp Wolf
  9. Kuwait International Airport
  10. Kuwait Naval Base
  11. Kuwait Navy Base
  12. Udairi Range

Inactive US Forces facilities:

  1. Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base
  2. Camp Doha
  3. Camp Moreell
  4. Camp Navistar
  5. Camp New York
  6. Camp Victory
  7. Failaka Island
  8. Mina Al Ahmadi

Equipment[edit]

The United States has provided military and defence technical assistance to Kuwait from both Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and commercial sources, with all transactions made by direct cash sale.[2] The US Office of Military Cooperation in Kuwait is attached to the American Embassy and manages the FMS program.[2] US military sales to Kuwait total US$5.5 billion since 2004.[2] Principal US military systems purchased by the Kuwait Defence Forces as of 2014 are the Patriot missile system, F-18 Hornet fighters, and the M1A2 Main Battle Tank.[2]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Military Expenditure Database The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej ek el em en eo ep eq er es et eu ev ew ex ey ez fa fb fc fd fe ff fg fh fi fj fk fl fm fn fo fp fq fr [1], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense, (Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Terrill, W. Andrew (2007). KUWAITI NATIONAL SECURITY AND THE U.S.-KUWAITI STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIP AFTER SADDAM. Carlisle, PA 17013-5244, USA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College. p. 116. ISBN 1-58487-305-1. 
  4. ^ Cordesman, Anthony H, and Al-Rodhan, .Khalid R (2006). The Gulf Military Forces in an Era of Asymmetric War - Kuwait. Washington DC, USA: CSIS - Center for Strategic and International Studies. 
  5. ^ "Kuwait Geography and Population". Visit Kuwait. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c [2], Kuwaiti History, (Section Arabic Read)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Mary Ann Tétreault (1995). The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and the Economics of the New World Order. pp. 2–3. 
  8. ^ Mohammad Khalid A. Al-Jassar (2009). Constancy and Change in Contemporary Kuwait City: The Socio-cultural Dimensions of the Kuwait Courtyard and Diwaniyya. p. 80. 
  9. ^ a b [3], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  10. ^ a b c d e Tucker, Spencer C and Roberts, Priscilla (2008). The Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Political, Social, and Military History. Santa Barbara, California, USA: ABC-CLIO, Inc. p. 596. ISBN 971-1-85109-841-5 (printed), 971-1-85109-842-2 (ebook) Check |isbn= value (help). 
  11. ^ a b Srivastava, L.S., Joshi, V.P. (2005). International Relations From 1914 To Present Day. Krishna Prakashan Media (p) Ltd. ISBN 9788185842707. 
  12. ^ Military Global Security[dead link]
  13. ^ a b Kuwait Security Breakdown

References and links[edit]