U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2004 - Kuwait

Kuwait continued to engage with the US Government and its neighbors to thwart domestic threats to Kuwaiti and foreign interests. It also continued to provide significant support to US efforts to stem terror financing. Following the four terror attacks carried out against Operation Iraqi Freedom and Coalition forces in Kuwait between October 2002 and December 2003 that resulted in the death of one US Marine and a US defense contractor, the Government of Kuwait sought to strengthen domestic counterterrorism efforts, but the potential for further attacks remains a serious concern.

The Kuwaiti Government has taken significant measures to bolster security and enhance protection for Coalition forces transiting Kuwait. Kuwait responded quickly to US concerns about a possible terror attack in December 2004. Kuwaiti officials have heightened security along their border with Iraq to prevent terrorist infiltration and have also worked with Syria and Iran to develop procedures to increase intelligence sharing and enhance customs and border-monitoring cooperation. In July, Syria repatriated to Kuwait seven people recruited to carry out suicide bomb attacks in Iraq. Kuwait subsequently arrested a dozen Kuwaitis reportedly being trained to attack US and Coalition forces in Iraq. By the end of 2004, all but two of them had been released on bail.

The Kuwaiti Government was able to identify and arrest terror suspects in some cases, but was on occasion unable to secure convictions, citing a lack of evidence for use in court. Those actually sentenced to jail on terrorism charges often had their sentences reduced.

As part of its campaign against terror, the Government formed in October a ministerial committee chaired by the Minister of Islamic Endowments and Islamic Affairs to develop strategies to combat terror and extremists. In November, the Government forbade Kuwaiti ministries and religious institutions from extending official invitations to 26 Saudi clerics who reportedly signed a statement in support of jihad in Iraq. No entry ban was imposed, however, and at least one cleric visited the homes of some Members of Parliament and other private gatherings, sparking widespread public criticism of the cleric's presence. The Islamic political bloc in the Kuwaiti Parliament has been critical of the Government's methods in confronting and dealing with Islamic extremists.


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