KUWAIT/RIYADH: Leading opposition lawmaker Shuaib Al-Muwaizri said yesterday that as many as 16 missiles flew over Kuwait’s airspace on their way to hit oil installations in neighboring Saudi Arabia. The missiles, believed to be cruise missiles, flew over Kuwait without being detected by the country’s air defenses and that some of them fell in the desert and the rest hit the Saudi oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, knocking out more than half of the kingdom’s oil production, Muwaizri, a former cabinet minister, told reporters in the Assembly.
Late yesterday, the Kuwaiti army chief of staff said yesterday the state of combat readiness of some army units has been raised as part of precautionary measures taken in such circumstances. “This announcement comes in order to preserve the security of the country and the safety of its land, water and airspace from any possible dangers in direct and permanent coordination with all military and security authorities in the country,” the army chief of staff said in a press release.
It added what was seen or heard yesterday was part of those measures through the implementation of live exercises by the marine and air force from 1:30 pm to 5 pm in the afternoon. It called on the public not to pay attention to any information or rumors circulated from any source except official sources represented by the directorate of moral guidance and public relations.
Muwaizri strongly lashed out at the government, specifically the defense and foreign ministries, and held the respective ministers responsible for this serious failure. Muwaizri said the reason air defenses did not spot the missiles is because an important military balloon was destroyed two years ago as a result of colliding with an aircraft belonging to a private airline. “Kuwait is exposed. Where are the billions spent on armaments” in the previous years, the lawmaker asked.
Muwaizri said the destruction of the balloon has harmed national security, but until this moment, the justice ministry has not yet released the investigation report into the case. The lawmaker however did not say where the missiles came from, but it is clear they could have been fired either from Iran or Iraq. The United States has blamed Iran for the attacks on Saudi oil installations amid reports that blamed pro-Iran Shiite militias in south Iraq to have fired the missiles. Iran-backed Yemen Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility but Saudi Arabia did not accuse them.
Muwaizri criticized the failure of the government and wondered what would’ve happened if the any of the missiles had crashed over Kuwaiti residential areas, saying the defense minister should be held responsible for the incident. The government on Sunday said security officials have launched an investigation into reports that a drone was seen flying over Salmiya and Bidaa coast and over HH the Amir’s residential palace in Salwa. The lawmaker said the issue should not be allowed to pass without a proper investigation and necessary actions.