Middle East Tactical Report
25 September 2001
LIBYA: Col. Qaddafi's public expression of "condolences to the US people" and his call on Libyans to "think about how to channel aid to those who were harmed … whatever the political disputes and struggles with the United States" have received extensive international coverage. Usually well informed Libyan sources suggest that Qaddafi has issued instructions to the effect that no effort is to be spared – up to and including the sharing of intelligence – in attempting to use the occasion to win US good will and advance towards normalisation. Meanwhile, the Leader's son Sayfulislam Qaddafi has postponed a visit to Paris, scheduled for 20/09, in order to focus on efforts back home to gather aid and blood for the US victims. Although his planned trip to France was ostensibly concerned with cultural affairs, Sayfulislam is also believed to have sought meetings with Thomson-CSF, Alcatel and a branch of EADS.
UAE: Despite the slump in the US civil aviation industry following last week's terror attacks in the US, there have so far been no major cancellations by participants in this November's Dubai 2001 air show. On the contrary, there has reportedly been a significant increase in interest from firms in the aviation security field and from Russian manufacturers. With American firms believed to have booked some 25% of available floor space at Dubai 2001, there are fears that new State Department travel warning might disrupt the event, but so far most US participants have been keen to show that it is 'business as usual' in the Gulf.
KUWAIT: In light of the US government's commitment to helping its aviation industry overcome the severe downturn provoked by last week's terror attacks, Kuwait is expected to come under irresistible pressure from Washington to place an order for Boeing's AH-64 Apache helicopter. This, in turn, may leave the door open to British and French suppliers for future orders of VIP and transport helicopters. There are also indications that Washington will seize the opportunity to push the Kuwaitis to buy American when it comes to awarding contracts for the planned new C4I system.
Emir Jaber Al-Ahmed Al Sabah of Kuwait suffered a brain haemorrhage earlier today (21/09) and will be flown to Britain for treatment, according to an official palace statement carried by Kuwaiti TV. According to the statement, the Emir was "fully conscious and not in intensive care", but at the age of 73 Sheikh Jaber's health has been visibly declining of late. With Sheikh Jaber's nominal successor, Crown Prince Sa'd Al-Abdullah, himself increasingly sidelined due to worsening health problems, the succession process could prove complicated should the Emir die or be lastingly incapacitated. Several senior ministers and ruling family members are reported to be returning home from visits abroad.
New prospects for Dolphin as Qatar and Bahrain pencil gas pipe agreement
Intense US pressure expected on helicopters and C4I
Arms-for-oil deal with Ukraine possible following E. Europe visits
Sultan orders follow up of military-industrial cooperation with Pakistan
Army chief discusses politics, electronic warfare in low-profile trip to France
Dubai air show bookings hold up, new interest from aviation security sector Interior Ministry hi-tech ID card programme to be accelerated
Libya: NOC restructures, purge mooted. As details emerge of the government's plans to restructure the National Oil Company before the end of this year, there are signs that a purge of NOC cadres may take place.
Kuwait: Defence Minister visits Europe. After much hesitation, Defence Minister Sheikh Jaber began a trip to France and the UK this week which has as much to do with politics as with procurement.
pSaudi Arabia: America's mistrusted ally. On the eve of Bush's anti-terrorist 'war', a serious crisis is brewing in US-Saudi relations. Crown Prince Abdullah mistrusts US intentions – and the feeling is mutual.
REF XQQMA XQQIE