Kuwaiti Fundamentalist Leader Slams US Military Presence in Emirate
The leader of a mainstream Sunni fundamentalist group in Kuwait on Sunday slammed the US military presence in the emirate, saying it had plunged the country into the pre-independence era of foreign domination.
"Until when will this foreign presence continue?" asked Hakem al-Mutairi, the newly-elected secretary general of the Salafi Movement.
"All studies show that the US presence will be a permanent one. This means we are in a state similar to the pre-independence era," Mutairi told Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper.
"This (presence) aims at placing the whole Gulf region under permanent foreign domination and influence," he said, adding it "undermined national security".
The Salafi Movement is one of three Islamic offshoots of the main Sunni Muslim Salafi group that believes in parliamentary democracy and has six members in the 50-seat assembly in addition to support from at least a dozen other MPs.
The Salafis supported the emirate's leadership in requesting help from the US military to liberate Kuwait from seven months of Iraqi occupation in 1991.
But Mutairi insisted that the American presence has overstepped its limits.
"We agreed on the foreign presence to liberate Kuwait and repulse the aggression. But who foots the huge bill for this presence? What are its real intentions?" he demanded.
Washington, which has a 5,000-strong military contingent in Kuwait, also signed a defense pact with the emirate in 1991. Kuwait intends to renew the pact when it expires next year.
Earlier this month, Kuwaiti authorities arrested six members of a "terror gang" who were allegedly plotting to attack US military targets in Kuwait and the region -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)