As Kuwait celebrates its 31st Liberation Day, we take the opportunity to recognize this country as one of Canada’s most important defense and security partners in the Middle East. Canada and Kuwait have enjoyed strong bilateral ties since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1965, reinforced by Canada’s role in helping to liberate Kuwait from occupation during the first Gulf War (1990-1991).
Three decades later, this partnership remains strong. Kuwait provides pivotal support to Canada’s security and stabilization operations in the Middle East by hosting our Task Force headquarters and an operational support hub at Camp Canada, Ali Al Salem Air Base. Since 2011, Kuwait has been the base for several hundred Canadian service personnel, who take part in multinational counterterrorism and stabilization operations, including the Global Coalition against Daesh, and capacity-building activities with partners across the region. Canada and Kuwait are also working together as members of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a multinational maritime partnership that promotes security, stability, and prosperity in the region.
The strength of our partnership was recently exemplified during evacuation efforts from Afghanistan. In August 2021, Kuwait facilitated Canada’s evacuation of 3,700 Afghan and Canadian citizens from Kabul to Canada via Ali Al Salem Air Base.
It was over 30 years ago, on 24 August 1990, that Canada deployed a naval task force to the Gulf. A month later on 14 September 1990, Canada dispatched CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft to fly patrols. The force would grow to a Wing of 24 aircraft known as the ‘Desert Cats’. Between 10 August 1990 and 16 April 1991, some 4,500 Canadian service personnel participated in the liberation of Kuwait.
The State of Kuwait has officially recognized the contributions of Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans who participated in the country’s liberation, presenting them with medals in recognition of their service.
Notably, the liberation of Kuwait marked the first time that women in the Canadian Armed Forces were deployed to a war zone in combat roles, reflecting Canada’s commitment to promoting gender equality in all aspects of society.
As Canada and Kuwait continue to work together to promote peace and security in the region, we pay tribute to all of the men and women who played a role in Kuwait’s liberation and look forward to a strong and lasting Canada-Kuwait partnership.
On this occasion, we would like to take this opportunity to extend our warmest congratulations to the State of Kuwait on its National and Liberation Days.
Brigadier-General Tim Arsenault, is Commander of Joint Task Force IMPACT and Task Force Central, in Camp Canada, Kuwait.