The Bush administration has designated Kuwait a major
The administration's decision makes Kuwait the second Gulf Cooperation
Council state to obtain such a designation. In 2002, the administration
deemed Bahrain to be a major non-NATO ally.
"I hereby designate the state of Kuwait as a Major Non-NATO Ally of the
United States for the purposes of the [Foreign Assistance] Act and the Arms
Export Control Act," a memorandum sent by President George Bush said on Jan.
Officials said the designation could encourage new Kuwaiti weapons
purchases. The sheikdom has been negotiating with the United States for
aircraft modernization and a C4I system, Middle East Newsline reported.
The designation allows the United States to sell advanced weapons to
Kuwait. U.S. defense companies will also find it easier to transfer weapons
technology to the sheikdom. Another benefit includes a U.S. government loan
guarantee program, which supports loans issued by private banks to finance
The U.S. move came as part of a decision by the two countries in October
2003 to increase their military and security cooperation. Officials said the
United States intends to maintain a long-term military presence in Kuwait
and help train and equip its armed forces.
On Monday, the Kuwaiti Al Rai Al Aam daily reported that Kuwaiti Defense
Minister Jaber Mubarak Al Sabah will fly to Washington at the end of March
to discuss defense cooperation with the United States. The newspaper said Al
Sabah will meet Bush and senior administration officials.
Egypt and Israel have also been designated major non-NATO allies of the
United States, a category drafted in 1989 as a way of improving the security
relations with those who are not members of the Western alliance. Major
non-NATO allies are eligible for priority delivery of U.S. military surplus,
stockpiling of U.S. equipment and participation in cooperative
research and development programs.
These allies, however, do not receive the same mutual defense and
security guarantees afforded to members of NATO.