Local support services like car leasing, apartment furnishings have suffered (however rents have not dropped in the market as many of us had hoped. Damn greedy landlords!!!). There have been cutbacks in many areas.
What is going to become of the military camps? What's going on?
The camps in Kuwait are just that - "camps". The were created for a deployment into Iraq, meaning that the soldiers have not been allowed to go off the camps. The barbed wire, surveillance cameras, and guards don't just keep people out: Camp Arifjan has been described by many as a "medium-security jail." Soldiers rarely get out and it is very difficult to get in. Further, as a deployment, the camps were built with the intention of being able to return the land to an "as it was" condition. No doubt, several of the camps are probably headed in that direction.
|Storage/pre-positioning of equipment - Arifjan|
There have been rumors that Camp Arifjan may become a permanent base. (I heard that a secret agreement was signed on Valentine's Day - hours before the new Parliament was sworn in. Again, that is just heresay.) When Camp Arifjan was built, the US Government signed a 50-year land lease with the Kuwaiti Government. My guess is that Arifjan isn't going away anytime soon. A permanent base would be nice. It would allow Kuwaiti support services to conduct permanent business with the US military. It would also allow (as is the case most places in the world) military personnel to bring their families with them. DoD schools would be built and infrastructure would be put in place for military housing and services.
|Semi-permanent buildings on Arifjan|
"A status of forces agreement (SOFA) is an agreement between a host country and a foreign nation stationing forces in that country. SOFAs are often included, along with other types of military agreements, as part of a comprehensive security arrangement. A SOFA does not constitute a security arrangement; it establishes the rights and privileges of foreign personnel present in a host country in support of the larger security arrangement." (Wikipedia)
What is going to happen? One source quotes: 15,000 are staying in the tiny country, at least for now, By Michelle Tan, Staff writer, Army Times, Posted Saturday, Jan 14, 2012 8:39:16 EST. Nearly 15,000 soldiers are now deployed to Kuwait — including two brigade combat teams and a combat aviation brigade — as the mission there evolves and the U.S. works to maintain a combat-capable presence in the unstable region. “This is a larger contingent than we’ve typically had,” a senior Army official, who spoke on background, told Army Times. “Working with the Kuwaitis to have a U.S. presence there is very helpful as far as general regional security is concerned,” the official said. What remains to be seen is whether troop levels, particularly among the combat units, will remain in the long term. In November, after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq was announced and officials were trying to determine whether some forces should remain in the region, the defense minister for Kuwait was quoted as saying the Arab state would only be used as a transit point for troops. A military official told Army Times that it’s likely the U.S. will have a “continued presence in Kuwait, similar to before 2003.”
From all indications, Arifjan is staying. There are new HUGE warehouses being built in Mina Abdullah, for example. It appears very permanent. It is all to the benefit of the local economy.
Regarding Iran, I have noted that on the camps that I've visited within this past month, surface-to-air (SAM) launchers have been erected. There are also notifications in common areas of how to take cover for a SCUD attack. (I haven't heard the word "SCUD" used since 2003. Fascinating.)
|US bases in the Region|