Lingering Gulf War Effects
As I was leaving the Ali Al Salem Air Base yesterday to head downtown, I noticed that the Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS) on the base were all damaged. It occurred to me that the damages were the result of US precision guided munitions used during the six-week bombing campaign leading up to the ground invasion for Operation Desert Storm. All of the HASs had thick plates blown off in the curved roof section. The impact location was the same for all -- a tribute to our precision munitions.
Later on, while I was driving in Kuwait City with a driver from my company, I asked about the HASs and why no one had repaired these after nearly 20 years. He told me that there was a dispute going on between Kuwait and the French firm that built them. Kuwait is asking for damages because the HASs were knocked out in a single blow. The HAS design was supposed to protect the aircraft within it. The French firm's position is that it did not design the HAS to protect against US munitions, only Soviet and other potential enemy munitions known at the time of design.
Not all progress has stopped here in Kuwait. I didn't see any other sign of war from my drive around town yesterday. In fact, the city has grown quite a bit since 1990 and there are construction cranes working around the clock helping to build other modern high-rise office buildings and apartments. Not all is perfect in this paradise, however. Driving into town from Ali Al Salem, I noticed a beautiful enclosed sports arena complex. Another company rep told me that the facility had never been used or occupied. Its foundations weren't engineered correctly and that the complex was sinking into the sand.