Michael Davenport, British Ambassador to Kuwait, revealed during an exclusive interview with Forces Network that Britain is considering a permanent military presence in Kuwait.

Davenport reportedly said that the Kuwaiti government originally expressed interest in the idea.

“We’re looking at all the possibilities. We’re not talking about a major deployment I don’t think, but we’re looking at what might work for both the United Kingdom and for Kuwait. As I say, it’s at a very early stage.”

In addition to supporting the counter-Daesh coalition, the British partnership with Kuwait includes joint exercising and training packages delivered to Kuwait’s military institutions and Armed Forces.

Last year at the invitation of Kuwait MOD, command personnel from 51 Brigade participated in the US-led multinational exercise Eagle Resolve 15, designed to simulate the combined defence of Kuwait. Due to its success and the strong Defence relationship with Kuwait, personnel from 51 Brigade have been invited to participate in this exercise again next year. Additionally, the Army has accepted an invitation for 2nd Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment to conduct a Land Overseas Training Exercise with Kuwait Land Forces next year to rehearse joint operational planning and deployment.

For many years the UK has continued to advise and develop Kuwait’s Armed Forces through a team of embedded UK officers under the British Military Mission in Kuwait, carrying out a number of supporting roles across Kuwait’s military institutions.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Just proving again its often the UK’s ‘Soft Power’ (where we are still No 1 or 2 in the world) is key to our National Interests. Despite all the naysayers and knockers we as a country are still hugely respected.


It’s not power, its pretending to be something we are not. How does a small presence in a country exert any form of power.

My guess is Kuwait will pay for the base, which will help reduce our overheads and in turn Kuwait gets another nation that will remain friendly in a period of mass uncertainty in the arab/middle eastern world. Neither of which gives any real soft power to the UK.

David Steeper

If they do pay for it I’d support it if they don’t we should ‘just say no’.

Stuart Willard

I think you have actually answered your own question if you use a tad of lateral thinking.

David Steeper

I struggle with thinking I definitely can’t do lateral !


Chris this has nothing to do with soft power, the Kuwaitis don’t need aid but is a throwback to our imperial past when the UK was the dominant military power in the middle east. We were still a major player until 1971 when we retreated from east of Suez but those ties remain and were reinforced in 1991.
Do you think the Kuwaitis are asking the UK to base some aid workers in Kuwait or military personnel?


Steve / sjb1968 – with the greatest respect can I gently say you do not seem to understand what ‘soft power’ actually is. It is not ‘aid’ and it is not ‘aid workers’ and it is not us ‘pretending’ to be anything. I don’t often use ‘Wikipedia’ but it does say this: “Soft power is the ability to attract and co-opt, rather than by coercion (hard power), which is using force or giving money as a means of persuasion. Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power… Read more »


** To clarify: No ‘money’ mentioned in the ‘soft power’ definition as it is a facet of coercion and ‘hard power’ **

Daniele Mandelli

Agree with Chris.

Diplomacy wise and Intelligence wise, that is behind the scenes with SIS for example we have links throughout the Middle East and indeed the Commonwealth.


Chris sorry I beg to differ the Kuwaitis want protection and security and the U.K. and USA provide it in an unstable region. It is a hard power issue underwritten by our historic ties nothing more. What values do we share with them? We need their oil and they want us to deter aggressors. Unfortunately despite your protestations the U.Ks influences is waning with every cut to our military. Diplomacy is just hot air without a capability to influence events and that is where we are right now and it has been noticed As for being no 1 or 2… Read more »


Sjb1968 – I won’t get into a row over this but I am afraid you are not prepared to read what is written let alone understand the definition of what ‘soft power’ actually is. The fact you ask “What values do we share with them?” proves my point. And that you think China has ANY ‘soft power’ at all also belies your misunderstanding. China ‘coerces’ and threatens. We do not have to ‘share’ values at all. Put simply they respect our opinions and our traditions and how we go about things. If you want to know who is top in… Read more »


Chris if you don’t wish to row with someone it is never a good idea to start the message with the words you did as we both know what they imply. Secondly you then suggest I have not read the article so how many insults do you believe you can send before you get a negative response. Anyway in my earlier response I mentioned values because it is a part of the definition of soft power you provided. The report you provided is excellent but that the UK and France are the top of any league suggests a rather skewed… Read more »


What is the “national interest” in this tiny islamist dictatorship exactly?


It is geographically a strategic location at the head of the Gulf. Checkout the map. It has a deep water port and a free trade area close to Kuwait City. Ripe for development I would say. Also Islamic rather than Islamist I think.


Joe – I was referring to the simple fact that being widely respected and having influence through ‘soft power’ means is absolutely in our National Interests. The Kuwait deal is one small example of the wider regard in which we, as a nation, are held by other nations.

It is sad that so many on here cannot feel the same high regard for our own country that others feel for us.

Daniele Mandelli

“It is sad that so many on here cannot feel the same high regard for our own country that others feel for us.”

Nail on head. Big time. Not thinking necessarily on here but in the national defeatist outlook. Just look at Brexit as a typical example. So many talk down their own nation and everything it stands for.


Agree to disagree Chris.

I see no “national interest” in Britain prostrating itself before jihadist supporting dictatorships like Kuwait… or Qatar.

What might raise respect for Britain is perhaps trying such endeavours in democracies.

There is no power, no respect and no interest in supporting the financial muscle of ISIS.


Joe – the fact you had to use a term like ‘prostrating itself’ seems, to me anyway, you are not understanding what ‘soft power’ and ‘influence’ means. THEY are inviting US. And sometimes we have to shake hands and smile with people we would rather not. But by so ding we can hope to ‘influence’ rather than (as the Yanks do) ‘coerce’. (see my above reply earlier). Its called ‘being in the National Interest’. Something again I don’t think you really understand. And who is actually funding ISIS is totally unknown and yet you seem to have that knowledge. And… Read more »


I’d imagine this would pay for itself in terms of defence orders, possibly many times over.


I’m lost for words. How can the government cut our military then keep a straight face in international arenas and say they still can do just ad much as they could before?


SMH, cut numbers then spread thinner…..Genius.

Arun Emmanuel

Sorry someone wrote kuwait as dictatorship. I live in kuwait as an indian expat for 25 years.. The rulibg royal family are the best to happen in kuwait interms of developing the country and their citizens..Women are given equal rights here long before from 60s and there is parlimentry democracy to pass every bill to be implemented.. Also it is a safe country for foreigners.. All throighout the world best periods were the times when a country is ruled by kingdom…many examples, Iran, Eqypt, Iraq, Afganistan, India. Europe.. It is a fact that kuwait is threatened by its neighbours due… Read more »


This seems to me to be more about sales and espionage than military presence per-se. Sales – “… the British partnership with Kuwait includes joint exercising and training packages delivered to Kuwait’s military institutions and Armed Forces.”, presumably paid training packages and joint exercises and close cooperation give the opportunity to expose Kuwaiti troops and officers to U.K. kit with a view to getting a groundswell demand for the Kuwaiti government to buy stuff. Espionage – well, being a permanent presence and forming closer day-to-day relationships with key Kuwaiti military personnel is only going to make it more likely that… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Spot on. It could amount to little more than a training team to a covert presence for UKSF or similar.

Hardly overstretch.


I would be interested to know how much tax revenue and UK baaed jobs foreign military sales bring. They clearly don’t bring down costs of our gear, since we buy our requirement first before looking for exports, so does this really benefit the UK purse or are we just propping up dictators around the world and making jobs for the boys for when the top brass retire.


Good question. Some of it is obvious, e.g. any U.K. corporation tax paid on however much additional profit a big order adds to the selling company’s bottom line and declared for U.K. tax as opposed to being shifted offshore. Additionally, if there are genuinely new jobs created or existing jobs retained that rely on the contract then one should include the boost to government coffers from national insurance and income tax paid on the salaries, on benefits not paid out to people who would otherwise be unemployed, and also on VAT on discretionary spending that would not have been made… Read more »

David Steeper

No our politicians would be to scared of the consequences of being caught. Thank god for a free press !

Daniele Mandelli

Good post. Interesting.

Mike Saul

Now as our foreign adventures and deployment to Germany draw to a close what are we going to with troops?

Young single military personnel dont like being stuck in barracks on Salisbury plain for months on end with little to.do, they want travel and adventure.

If they don’t get it they just give notice and leave the army.