Ten cases of defiance of the Minister of Defense – ARAB TIMES
KUWAIT CITY, Jan. 18: Ten MPs signed a no-confidence motion against Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali towards the end of the regular session of the National Assembly on Tuesday. The Assembly then decided to postpone the vote on the motion of no confidence until January 26, 2022. During Tuesday’s session, the Assembly witnessed a minor incident when Secretary General Adel Al-Lugani fell into a reading incoming letters. President Marzouq Al-Ghanim adjourned the session for 15 minutes to clear the way for the provision of medical care to Al-Lugani. Al-Ghanim then resumed the session, revealing that Al-Lugani was rushed to hospital and is in stable condition.
He asked for the postponement of other items on the agenda until Wednesday, then the Assembly proceeded to the defense minister’s motion to fence. Al-Azmi was given an hour and a half to present the five points of the toasting motion. It started with the decision to allow Kuwaiti women to join the Kuwaiti army. He wondered why the Minister pointed out that his decision could not be withdrawn, and then said that he was awaiting the opinion of the Directorate of Legal Advice and Legislation. He quoted the opinion of the most eminent religious institutions and scholars that women are completely prohibited from engaging in combat missions. He argued that allowing women to join the military puts them at risk of being prisoners of war (POW). He added that the nature of women is not for military tasks such as carrying weapons and facing enemies.
Assaults He also mentioned statistics released in July 2021, indicating that the US military has recorded 135 sexual assaults in 11 years. He showed former US President Donald Trump’s tweet which said there were 26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military, compared to just 238 convictions. He added that 175 US Navy officers were implicated in gang rapes within the institution, but some victims are afraid to report such cases.
He went on to say that a decision had been made to allow abortion for female soldiers who became pregnant while in an illicit relationship. He also presented a report that nearly a third of female soldiers in the British Army had been raped or intimidated by their superiors. He said another study showed that more than half of female soldiers in the German army are victims of sexual assault. He showed the results of surveys conducted by the Kuwait Center for Gulf and Peninsula Research, indicating that the number of Kuwaiti women who oppose the entry of women into the army is higher than that of men. – 73% of male participants against 81% of their women. counterparts. Provide a breakdown of results by governorate; Al-Azmi revealed that 90% of the participants in Jahra are against the decision, 77% in Hawally, 73% in Farwaniya, 74% in the capital, 73 in Ahmadi and 79% in Mubarak Al-Kabeer.
He pointed out that these results clearly indicate that Kuwait is a conservative society. On the second point of the grilled motion, Al-Azmi pointed out that the minister knew nothing about the reports of the State Audit Office (SAB) on the Eurofighter arms deal. He said that the investigation committee formed in accordance with the decision of the late Minister Sheikh Naser Sabah Al-Ahmad has not yet completed its report despite the passage of three years since its formation. He mentioned one of the violations of the agreement by comparing the prices of the Eurofighter plane with those of the agreements concluded by other GCC countries. He revealed that the Kuwaiti deal is valued at $9 billion for 28 planes, while Saudi Arabia has bought 72 planes of the same model for the same price. Qatar bought 24 Eurofighters for £5 billion and Oman bought the same number for $2.24 billion.
He claimed that the Kuwaiti deal was settled without the approval of the SAB and that the amount of the commission was shrouded in controversy. He asked why the minister did not reveal the facts, adding that the manufacturer had received 520 million euros even before the payment was due. He said the minister failed to investigate the tenders committee for breaching regulations in this regard. He added that the pilots had not been trained to fly the Eurofighter aircraft despite the deal being struck three years ago.
He said the minister had ignored the SAB’s recommendation to conduct thorough feasibility studies on the disposal of old aircraft and the purchase of new ones. He claimed that the minister had denied reports of the sale of F-18 aircraft to Malaysia, but that the Malaysian defense minister had revealed the truth when he confirmed that the F-18 aircraft sold were in good condition. He asked Sheikh Jaber Al-Ali to specify the date by which the investigative committee must submit its report on the agreement. Regarding the minister’s lack of cooperation with the SAB, Al-Azmi revealed that nearly 95 percent of the SAB’s comments have gone unanswered so far. He said the Assembly had approved the ministry’s KD 3 billion budget in 2016 for arms development agreements, pointing out that the deputies wanted to know how the ministry had spent the amount.
Al-Azmi said the minister failed to answer 51 out of 156 parliamentary questions. He pointed out that the minister answered MP Abdulaziz Al-Saqaabi’s questions regarding the three missiles launched from Iraq and landed in Kuwait. He added that the minister had denied the incident until the Iraqi side confirmed it. He went on to say that the minister responded to MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri’s questions about guiding officers towards early retirement by simply saying the matter was top secret and then he gave an irrelevant answer.
The Minister responded to questions from MPs Hassan Jawhar and Al-Saifi Mubarak Al-Saifi on the Kuwait Army Fund, urging them to seek answers from the court or the accused. Al-Azmi added that the Ministry of Defense violated the circular issued by the Ministry of Finance on the need for each ministry and public institution to specify the land, land and real estate they own in Kuwait or abroad. . He said the Minister presented the annual report stating that the Ministry does not own any of the aforementioned properties. He said that Sheikh Abdullah Jaber owns cottages established on the properties of the Arms and Ammunition Department of the Ministry of Defence.
Regarding the issue of violation of the policy of replacing expatriate workers with nationals; Al-Azmi said the number of expatriate workers had reached 3,976 against 2,600 Kuwaitis. He revealed that 286 expatriates work in the offices of the minister and the assistant undersecretaries. He added that an expatriate consultant received a salary of 4,200 KD and a trainer received 4,100 KD. He said that many expatriates hold certain positions even if they do not hold the required university certificates; such as Computer Technician, Naval Engineering Technician, Computer Programmer, and Aeronautical Engineering Technician.
In response, Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali recognized the constitutional right of MPs to file intimidating petitions against ministers. However, he cited the Constitutional Court’s ruling that a minister cannot be questioned about everything that happened during the tenure of his predecessors. He said the grilling motion against him was filed just hours after he took the constitutional oath. He clarified that this does not mean that he is not prepared to discuss the toasting motion and rebut the points. Regarding the decision to allow women into the military, he explained that women will provide medical services such as nursing duties and administrative jobs in the ministry. He claimed the decision has nothing to do with fighting or carrying arms. He said the aim of the decision is to give working women the same allowances and wages as those given to their male colleagues. He added that 34 Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, allowed women to join the army and even received military duties. He recalled the heroic role of Kuwaiti women during the Iraqi invasion, when they joined the military resistance and some of them became martyrs. He pointed out that the women worked in the military hospital for years and no one objected to it just because it does not violate Islamic Shariah and the Constitution of Kuwait.
He added that the opinion of the academics quoted by Al-Azmi speaks of real combat, which is not included in the decision to allow women to occupy medical and technical positions. He said that women are already working in the maintenance and repair of Patriot missiles, as well as in the information technology department of the ministry. He pointed out that women will not be allowed or forced to work for days on end, as they will go to work and leave every day, just like those who work in civilian institutions. He went on to say that the ruling rules out mandatory orders for women to join the military because it’s all up to them. He revealed that in 1988, the Minister of Defense – the late Sheikh Salim Al-Sabah – was the first to make such a decision when he allowed women to volunteer in the army. He said another decision was made in 1994 allowing women to join the army, adding that the trainers went through training courses in the UAE under female instructors and then returned to Kuwait. to work. He asked Al-Azmi to report violations of Islamic Shariah and constitution. Regarding the Eurofighter deal, the Minister disclosed that the contract was signed in 2016 in accordance with the MoU between Kuwait and Italy. He added that according to the SAB’s comments, the matter has been referred to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and an Inquiry Committee has been formed to investigate. He clarified that pilot training has not been canceled; but suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis, confirming training resumed later. He pointed out that if Kuwait sells an aircraft to Malaysia; such a step requires the approval of the Supreme Defense Council, the control institutions and the manufacturer. By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff