. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kuwaitis Give Nod To More U.S. Troops

WASHINGTON -- After an embarrassing delay for the United States, the government of Kuwait has agreed to allow additional American troops to be stationed on its territory, the White House said Monday.


White House spokesman Mike McCurry reported Kuwait's decision at a morning briefing with reporters but declined to say how many troops would be sent to Kuwait.


"We can confirm that the government of Kuwait is to station our troops there,'' McCurry said. "I'm not discussing numbers.''


Meanwhile, Defense Secretary William Perry left Turkey on Monday after winning only limited backing for the American military buildup against Iraq.


Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller of Turkey said Perry had not asked to use the southern Incirlik air base to strike at Iraqi targets.


But "even if there had been [a request], it would not have been possible for us to meet this request,'' she told reporters.


"That would not be the correct move from the point of view of our own interests.''


The Kuwaitis had delayed approval of the additional troops over the weekend and in a vaguely worded statement Monday had not confirmed approval for the new forces.


President Bill Clinton's national security advisers are working to arrange a meeting with congressional leaders Tuesday morning, McCurry said.


The meeting would be for information, he said, not for seeking congressional consent for further military action.


Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Commander Scott Campbell said Monday that a deployment order for the Army troops had not yet been signed.


They have received a warning order to get ready to deploy but no formal order to move as of yet, he said.


Critics of the Clinton administration's response to Iraq's latest acts of aggression pointed to Kuwait's delay in approving the deployment as an example of the failure to pull together the coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait in 1991.


In an interview Sunday broadcast Monday on ABC television, Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole said, "I'm not certain what the policy is in Iraq. I think now he needs to define more precisely what our goal is, what we intend to do, why we are there, why we are spending money there, why we talk about sending 5,000 troops.''


It was announced Friday that 5,000 troops from Fort Hood, Texas, were preparing to go to Kuwait -- a number the Pentagon said Sunday was overstated and should have been 3,000 -- as part of efforts to bolster U.S. forces in the region.


But Defense Secretary William Perry, during a Sunday visit to Kuwait, was told that permission for the troops would have to await approval by the emirate's defense committee.


The administration said Kuwait's acceptance of eight F-117 stealth fighters and Bahrain's hosting of 26 American F-16 fighters -- agreed to during Perry's visit over the weekend -- were proof of Mideast cooperation in the campaign against Saddam.