The Government of Kuwait made measured progress in combating terrorism. Despite a lack of legal provisions that deal specifically with terrorism, the government increased its efforts to counter terrorism, notably in the arrests and prosecutions of key terrorists and terrorism facilitators throughout the year. Buttressing these actions were increased denunciations of terrorism by senior Kuwaiti officials. In the past, the Kuwaiti government was more likely to take action against non-Kuwaiti residents involved in terrorist facilitation, but in 2009 it took steps against key local Sunni extremists perceived to pose a clear and direct danger to Kuwaiti or U.S. interests.

Kuwait was an effective and reliable partner in providing security for U.S. military installations and convoys, but the risk of a terrorist attack in Kuwait remained high. In July, Kuwaiti security officials arrested and charged six men with planning attacks on the U.S. military base Camp Arifjan, as well as Kuwait State Security headquarters.

In July, the Government of Kuwait opened the al-Salam Center, a treatment facility modeled after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's rehabilitation center, to rehabilitate extremists including Kuwaitis repatriated from Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. The facility is located in a secured area within Kuwait's Central Prison and is governed by a board of government officials, medical experts, and a religious scholar. Al-Salam Center received its first residents from Guantanamo in October and December.

The Kuwaiti Armed Forces, National Guard, and Ministry of Interior, along with counterparts from the United States, UAE, Bahrain, and Jordan, conducted a number of exercises aimed at responding to terrorist attacks. In January 2009, Kuwaiti National Guardsmen participated jointly with U.S. Embassy officials and a Marine Expeditionary Unit in a large-scale simulated defense of the Embassy chancery and compound against a terrorist attack and subsequent treatment and evacuation of the wounded.

Although the Kuwaiti government lacked comprehensive legislation that criminalizes terrorist financing, Kuwait has made progress over the past year in its efforts to prosecute financial crimes. An amended law designed to bring Kuwait's anti-money laundering/terrorist finance regime in compliance with FATF requirements was passed to parliament in December 2009. Kuwait's Financial Intelligence Unit, which is under the direct supervision of the Bank of Kuwait, is not part of the Egmont Group.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MoSAL) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) continued their monitoring and supervision of charities, including the ban on cash donations except during Ramadan. MoSAL reported a continued decline in the number of violations during their 2009 Ramadan audit. MFA and MoSAL officials also conducted site visits and audits of selected foreign projects funded by Kuwaiti charities.

Significant terrorism-related arrests and prosecutions took place during the year, notably, the July sentencing of a Kuwaiti citizen to seven years imprisonment on a combination of charges of holding weapons, carrying a false passport, and inciting hostile acts against a foreign country. A local imam also received a seven-year sentence in December for facilitating hostile acts against a foreign country. On December 21, the Criminal Court began the trial of the six Kuwaitis accused of planning attacks against U.S. military base Camp Arifjan and Kuwait State Security headquarters. There have also been convictions using existing criminal statutes to successfully prosecute two individuals, in January and August respectively, for "inciting youth to jihad" and facilitating terrorism in Iraq, and for "supporting and funding terrorist activities." The courts suspended, in both cases, sentences of three years imprisonment upon payments by the defendants of US$ 3,540.

In October and November, two of the remaining four Kuwaiti Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility detainees were repatriated to Kuwait. On November 23, one of the two was acquitted by Kuwait's Attorney General on all terrorism-related charges.

In October, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior submitted 17 security proposals to the government's four-year Action Plan, among which are the following counterterrorism initiatives:

  • Border Security (US$ 602,000,000): Securing borders to deter illegal entry of foreigners into the country, to prevent smuggling, and to monitor and survey restricted areas.

  • Terrorism (US$ 13,000,000): Counterterrorism and counter-radicalization project to secure the "internal front" against terrorism, achieve stability, and protect the Kuwaiti society against extremist messages.

  • CCTV (US$ 475,000): CCTV network to secure vital installations, highways, land and marine borders, islands, and populous locations.

  • Port Security (US$ 138,000,000): Securing air, sea, and land ports.


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