ABU DHABI Ñ Bahrain expects to obtain a five-minute warning prior to
an Iraqi missile attack.
Bahraini officials said the kingdom has been assured that the United
States will notify Manama of any Iraqi missiles launched toward the Gulf
Cooperation Council. In 1991, an Iraqi missile landed in a remote area of
Bahrain, Middle East Newsline reported.
"It is difficult to say how much time we will have," Bahraini Civil
Defense and Fire Services chief Colonel James Windsor said. "It depends on
where the missile is coming from and its speed. But I am anticipating in
excess of five minutes warning."
Bahrain hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, which is expected to play a major
role in any attack on the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The
kingdom has also sent troops, warships and other platforms to Kuwait for
its defense against any Iraqi attack.
On Sunday, Bahrain tested its civil defense system for the first time
since the Gulf war in 1991. Twenty-two sirens were sounded in a drill that
lasted 15 minutes and meant to simulate a warning for any Iraqi missile
attack. Another test is expected later this month.
Bahraini newspapers reported on Monday that many people did not hear the
sirens during Sunday's exercise. They said some of the sirens were deemed as
Officials said the civil defense system is operated from a control room
with links to installations around the country. The system, improved since
the 1991 Gulf war, is linked to U.S. Central Command, which is meant to
relay a warning of any Iraqi missile launched toward Bahrain.
"This system is now controlled electronically," a civil defense
spokesman said. "Last time each siren had to be sounded individually. We
would have to telephone each station and tell them to push the button. "This
time it is different. All 22 sirens can be operated from our control room."