INTRODUCTION: A colourful parade was held in Kuwait on Wednesday (25 February) to mark the twentieth anniversary of the country's independence.
TV Soldiers marching in line
SV Armoured vehicle (2 shots)
SV Troops saluting in Landrover
TV Marchers carrying flags with Kuwaiti flag at front
SV People standing on float
SV Women march past rostrum at salute
TV More marchers carrying banners
SV Girls with tambourines march past rostrum (2 shots)
TV More marchers carrying banners (2 shots)
GV Planes flying overhead
SV Dhow with costumed crewmen drives past
SV Float carrying portraits of military officers
SV Military personnel march past rostrum (2 shots)
GV Armoured personnel carriers followed by tanks (4 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: A colourful parade was held in Kuwait on Wednesday (25 February) to mark the twentieth anniversary of the country's independence. Floats, marching girls, troops, armoured vehicles, and military aircraft all joined the parade. The Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al Ahmad al Sabah, and members of his government reviewed the march-past.
SYNOPSIS: Kuwait is usually seen as a commercial rather than a military power in the Gulf. But over the years her rulers have been quietly building up its armed strength. A border dispute with Iraq in 1973 prompted arms buying. Although the country has been at peace with her neighbours in recent years, the Amir clearly feels he can't afford to take any chances. The Iran-Iraq war has heightened fears of a threat to the Gulf oil routes, which form Kuwait's trade lifeline to the rest of the world. A concern for security has been the result.
The reason for the parade was to mark Kuwait's national day. Foreign dignitories were invited to watch the impressive display. But a strong military presence gave a hard edge to an otherwise colourful occasion.
Kuwait has just held elections. When the results were in, they showed overwhelming support for the Amir, returning conservative, pro-government candidates in a landslide win. The two main losers were the radical Arab nationalists, and candidates supported by the Shi'ite community, who recognise Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini as their spiritual leader.
The Shi'ites form a significant minority in Kuwait, but their electoral strength was more than halved in Wednesday's vote. During recent weeks, Kuwait is reported to have strengthened her ties with her Arab neighbours, with the eventual aim of maintaining joint Arab naval patrols of the Gulf. Under this scheme Arab power would rival the considerable naval strength of Iran in this vital strategic waterway.