Kuwaiti parliamentarian warns government against US weapons deal
Kuwait-USA, Military, 7/10/1998
A Kuwaiti parliamentarian warned the government of a plan aimed at buying an artillery package including howitzers valued at nearly $500 million from a US manufacturer, because the cannons do not fulfill Kuwait's requirements.
Mubarak al-Dowila, a deputy representing the Islamic movement in the Kuwaiti Nation's Council (the parliament) said in a written statement he distributed after failing to hold consultations and discussions in the Nation's Council regarding the deal that he is warning against exceeding the council's resolutions, pointing out that the government promised in July 1997 not to take a resolution regarding the deal until the committee for protecting public funds in the Nation's Council issued its report concerning the suggested deal.
Al-Dowila's statement came in reply to an announcement by Kuwaiti Minister of Defense Sheikh Salem Sabah Salem al-Sabah in his declarations in which the defense minister hinted that two Paladin artillery battalions manufactured by the US company "United Defense" come at the top of the choices.
Al-Dowila said that what attracted his attention was the statement in the defense minister's reply that the US cannons are still the first cannons of choice, where the "most strange" thing about it this announcement is that the minister's reply contained confirmation that the cannon observed by the artillery committee that visited the US is neither efficient nor suitable for the requirements of the Kuwaiti army.
The Paladin package is an extensive equipment package including 48 howitzers, 154 machine guns, 18 recovery vehicles, 24 reconnaissance vehicles, 64 ammunition support vehicles, in addition to various other pieces of equipment including radio, radar, night vision goggles, trucks and trailers, spare parts and technical support.
There have growing complaints by Parliament members of the government approving military deals without regard to the best technical specifications and with implications that these deals are assessed on political basis rather than Kuwait's military needs.
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