By Ghadeer Ghloum
KUWAIT: The US Embassy organized a roundtable discussion on Monday, featuring Lt Gen Alex Grynkewich from AFCENT and a group of reporters. The discussion centered on the enduring relationship between the US and Kuwait, emphasizing the importance of regional security. Grynkewich began by expressing his fondness for Kuwait, recounting his first deployment to the Middle East in the 1990s, specifically to Kuwait, following the Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm, when he was enforcing a no-fly zone over southern Iraq.
During this time, he had experienced tremendous support from the Kuwaiti people and military, creating a lasting impression. He highlighted the historical ties between Kuwait and the United States, dating back 62 years, with the US being among the first nations to recognize Kuwait’s independence. Furthermore, he mentioned the pivotal role the US played 32 years ago during Desert Storm in liberating Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion, underscoring the enduring strength of the Kuwait-US relationship. Kuwait continues to host US Air Force personnel, among others, contributing to regional stability.
It is also a major non-NATO ally, signifying a significant commitment to Kuwait’s security. Grynkewich discussed the purpose of his visit to Kuwait, which involves regular interactions with Kuwaiti Air Force and air defense commanders to address regional security concerns and cooperation, particularly regarding missile defense. He expressed his intention to visit the Ali Al-Salem base to assess the status of US forces stationed in Kuwait. Regarding US engagement with Kuwaiti authorities on security challenges, Grynkewich explained that there is ongoing collaboration, with Kuwaiti officers working closely with US counterparts at the headquarters.
He cited examples of recent cooperation, such as joint airlift training and infrastructure improvement at bases like Ali Al-Salem. This includes ensuring the functionality of a cable system for aircraft emergencies, demonstrating continuous cooperation between the two nations. Grynkewich also elaborated on the US’ role in supporting the Combined Joint Task Force for Inherent Resolve, focused on defeating Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Ali Al-Salem base serves as a vital hub for airlift and intelligence operations, aiding the resupply of US forces in the region and supporting their mobility.
Additionally, he addressed concerns about Iranian vessels in the Arabian Gulf, referencing historical incidents involving Kuwaiti tankers in the 1980s. To deter such activities, the United States deployed additional naval and marine forces, as well as aircraft, near the Straits of Hormuz, leading to a decrease in vessel seizures by Iran. In terms of the United States’ strategy in the Middle East, Grynkewich emphasized the importance of expanding beyond military relationships.
Recent announcements, such as the India to Mediterranean corridor, demonstrate a concerted effort to enhance diplomatic and economic aspects of the relationship, complementing the military dimension. He concluded by emphasizing the unique nature of the partnership between Kuwait and the US, highlighting the mutual respect and deep relationship that transcends mere transactions, setting it apart from other international relationships.
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