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Friday, March 25, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Kuwait 'more than willing to oblige' if Bahrain requests more troops

ABU DHABI — Kuwait has acknowledged sending a military force in Bahrain and said it could be expanded.


Officials said the Gulf Cooperation Council sheikdom sent a naval force to Bahrain in late March. They said the force could be expanded should Bahrain request additional troops and military assets under the umbrella of the GCC's Peninsula Shield.

"This is up to the Kuwaiti military command, Bahraini authorities and the Peninsula Shield Command," Kuwaiti Defense Minister Jaber Al Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah said. "If Bahrain asks us for more troops, we will be more than willing to oblige them."

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The statement on March 22 came after nearly a week of denials by Kuwait to reports that the sheikdom would contribute to the GCC force in Bahrain. The denials came amid Shi'ite and Sunni demonstrations against and for the deployment.

But on March 22 at least three Kuwait Navy patrol vessels arrived in Bahrain. Officials said they were assigned to patrol Bahraini territorial waters and help prevent smuggling from neighboring Iran.

"Sending these forces to Bahrain is a manifestation of our commitment to that country and is a step with which we are pleased," Mubarak said.

Parliamentarians have pledged to question Cabinet ministers regarding details of the Kuwaiti deployment in Bahrain. In response, the Sunni-led regime has clamped a ban on media reports on the Kuwaiti presence in Bahrain.

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