Kuwait to investigate two mega projects

Updated 06 February 2013
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Kuwait to investigate two mega projects

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait’s Parliament yesterday voted to form a special panel to probe allegations of irregularities in two contracts worth $ 5.0 billion awarded to two foreign-led consortia.
Twenty-three MPs voted for the proposal, which was rejected by the government, against 20 members who opposed it. The five-MP panel must conclude its probe within three months.
A number of MPs claimed that political bargaining and secret deals were involved in the awarding of the Subbiya Causeway and Al-Zour North Power Plant a few months ago to South Korean, French and Japanese contractors.
The first contract, awarded to South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. and the local Combined Group Contracting Co., calls for building a 37.5 km (23 mile) causeway to link Kuwait City with Subbiya area in north Kuwait at a cost of $ 2.6 billion.
The second is for building a power and water desalination plant in Al-Zour area, south of Kuwait City for $ 2.5 billion to produce 1,500 megawatt of electricity and over 100 million gallons of drinking water daily.
Minister of Electricity, Water and Public Works Abdulaziz Al-Ibraheem warned MPs that the probe panel will send a “wrong message to investors” especially to foreign contractors.
He said if the power plant project is not implemented on time, Kuwait will be forced to resort to scheduled power cuts next year.
Kuwait has a production capacity of 13,000 MW now while its consumption, which grows 800-900 MW annually, was around 12,000 MW last year.
“By next year, we will have zero reserve capacity without the project and we will be forced to adopt programmed cuts,” the minister said.


Israel defense minister vows to strike any Iran ‘military foothold’ in Syria

Updated 31 min 56 sec ago
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Israel defense minister vows to strike any Iran ‘military foothold’ in Syria

  • Israel defense minister vowed to strike if Israel was attacked by Iran
  • Lieberman visited Washington to meet US National Security Adviser John Bolton about 'Iranian expansionism'

JERUSALEM: Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed in an interview Thursday to strike at any attempt by Iran to establish a “military foothold” in Syria, following an attack this month attributed to his country.
Speaking with a news website run by a Saudi businessman that regularly interviews Israeli officials, Lieberman also threatened firm retaliation if Israel was attacked by Iran.
“If they attack Tel Aviv, we’ll strike Tehran,” he told the Elaph website.
The comments came as Lieberman visited Washington to meet US National Security Adviser John Bolton and other officials to discuss what his office called Iran’s “expansion” in the Middle East.
“We don’t intervene in the war, don’t fight there, but Iran is trying to establish bases there and attack us from there with advanced arms it brings to them,” Lieberman said of neighboring Syria.
“I can’t stand by when I see Iran do that close to the Golan, and when it supports Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon, and tries to establish a foothold in Syria in order to attack Israel.”
He added that “any site in which we see an Iranian attempt to achieve a military foothold in Syria will be struck. We won’t let that happen, regardless of the price.”
On April 9, seven Iranian personnel were among 14 people killed in a strike on the T-4 air base in Syria, with regime allies Iran and Russia blaming Israel for the attack.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility, but has repeatedly said it cannot accept Iran establishing itself militarily in Syria.
Lieberman’s visit to Washington comes ahead of a May 12 deadline US President Donald Trump has set to decide on the fate of a nuclear deal with Iran.
Israeli leaders have repeatedly called for the deal to be scrapped or improved, though others say it is working as intended to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for the time being.