Security

Kuwait, NATO partnership strengthens regional security

By Hussein Ibrahim in Kuwait

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These Kuwaiti army soldiers took part in training offered at the NATO-ICI Regional Centre in Kuwait. [Photo courtesy of Kuwait News Agency]

Through its ongoing partnership with NATO's Istanbul Co-operation Initiative (NATO-ICI), Kuwait has enhanced its security and that of other Gulf member states against shared threats, Kuwaiti analysts told Al-Mashareq.

The NATO-ICI partner states -- Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE -- gathered Monday (December 16th) in Kuwait City to mark the 15th anniversary of the partnership forum.

Member states co-operate on counter-terrorism, disaster preparedness and civil emergency planning, in addition to receiving defence-related consultation, expertise and training and strengthening joint military action.

They also participate in NATO exercises.

Kuwait was the first Gulf state to join the ICI, retired Kuwaiti army officer Col. Hussein Issa told Al-Mashareq, noting that the initiative's Regional Centre is based in Kuwait.

Kuwait's geopolitical importance has necessitated that it seek co-operation in the areas of security, collective defence and crisis management, Issa said.

It has actively participated in NATO workshops and trainings, he said, pointing out that 900 representatives from the ICI and GCC have undergone training at the NATO-ICI Regional Centre in Kuwait since it was opened in 2017.

The joint military co-operation between Kuwait and NATO is "the key to the Gulf region's strength, as these countries together are a bulwark against the blatant interferences of Iran, which is trying to drag the region into war", Issa said.

As Kuwait and other Gulf states enhance their security co-operation and solidify partnerships such as this, Iran has become increasingly isolated, analysts said.

Strengthening regional security

Kuwait has achieved a number of strategic objectives through its accession to the ICI and the opening of the NATO-ICI regional centre, military and strategy expert Mishari al-Husseini told Al-Mashareq.

These include strategic analysis, civil emergency planning and military co-operation, he said, noting that Kuwait seeks to enhance regional security and encourage dialogue and conflict resolution rather than military intervention.

"Maritime security is at the top of the priority list for Kuwait and its regional and international partners," he said, as they work together to safeguard international waterways from threats.

Kuwait is a symbol of the power of peace and stability owing to the efforts made by its ruler, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah, to settle disputes and conflicts through mediation, said security and defence researcher Jaber al-Ibrahim.

These efforts have boosted Kuwait's standing in the Arab and international community and earned it praise from NATO, he told Al-Mashareq.

NATO is the largest and most influential international alliance, but it still needs to further activate its mechanisms in order to truly deter Iran's ambitions in the region and prevent it from tampering with the region's security, he said.

"We in Kuwait strongly wish to enhance our relations with NATO and strengthen ICI to realise the great goals for which it was founded," al-Ibrahim said.

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