This week, Kuwait massed troops on Boubiyan Island just across from Iraq to defend the huge $1.1 billion Grand Mubarak Port under construction there. The force is composed of Military Police of the Amoun Defense Organization, units of intelligence and air defense, the 35th Company, the 6th Brigade and naval forces.
Kuwait appeared to be overreacting somewhat to an Iraqi demand to freeze construction of the Persian Gulf port until guarantees were provided that the new facility would not hinder the operations of Iraq's own planned harbor in the southern region of Basra or block the main Persian Gulf gateway for Iraqi oil exports to reach the world's shipping lanes from the Shatt al-Arb.
A government spokesman in Baghdad demanded assurances that free and safe navigation would not be affected by the Kuwait port which is scheduled for completion in 2016.
This dispute does not account for Kuwait's military deployment on its largest island.
What does is another factor reported here by DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military and intelligence sources:
The Iraqi Shiite radical Ketaeb Hizballah has just threatened to strike the new port with Scud missiles. The group claimed to have recovered most of the inventory of 250 Scuds held by Saddam Hussein before the US invasion of 2003. Claiming they are fully operational, Ketaeb Hizballah said: "We will launch these missiles at the Mubarak port until it is completely destroyed."
Kuwait and Western intelligence officials in the Gulf are certain Iran is behind this threat.
Tehran has discovered that Mubarak Port will also house a large naval base to serve the fleets of Kuwait, the US and Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf and is determined to prevent its construction.
Whether or not Ketaeb Hizballah really has procured Scuds which are still operational and has launchers to fire them is moot.
But it is clear that Tehran intends to use Shiite terrorist groups available in Iraq for sabotaging the Boubiyan Island port project and preventing its completion.
Al Qaida Promises Attacks in Paris, Tries to Hitch a Ride on British Mob Riots
Secret coded messages have been flying across the Internet among various al Qaeda groups since Tuesday, Aug. 8. DEBKA-Net-Weekly's counterterrorism sources report they all turn on the same theme of preparations for a major terror attack in Paris.
Some of the messages contain video clips of central Paris with marked targets, such as the Elysėe Palace – the official presidential residence, the Arc de Triomphe area, the Champs Elysėe and the French Defense Ministry.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is targeted in particular for his "anti-Muslim policy" – especially his burqa ban for women in public places and French participation in the Afghanistan war. Islamic fighter cells in Paris were told: "The time has come to fight for the honor of Islam."
Another batch of Al Qaida messages starting from the same date calls on the organization's militants in Britain to take to the streets and support the mob riots plaguing London and other cities since Saturday, Aug. 6. They must propagate slogans demanding that Kate Middleton, wife of Prince William, appear veiled in public and that Prime Minister David Cameron be compelled to kiss the Koran and bow in honor of Islam.
Those slogans were articulated by a British Muslim leader, Imam Abu al-Walid, at a mosque in Bradford, West Yorkshire, northern England, on Wednesday, August 7.
A Bid to Reawaken Anti-Royal Protest in Saudi Arabia
Saudi security chiefs are taking very seriously a new call to raise the banner of popular protest against the Saudi royal family starting Friday Aug. 19, which is being disseminated through Internet social networks and among Saudi intellectuals, especially in Riyadh.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources report the Saudi authorities are so jittery that they have started beefing up security strength in the capital and other major cities well in advance. They are worried because the initiative comes this time from the Sunni mainstream and some of its call on protesters to seize control of ruling institutions and "bring to an end the suffering and repression of the masses."
Others call for the establishment of an authentic Islamic caliphate and full introduction of Sharia law.
The tenor of the new wave of protest threatens to be the most belligerent and anti-royalist ever heard in the kingdom.
Wednesday, August 10, Riyadh University students and other groups tried to organize a demonstration in protest against Syrian President Bashar Assad's brutal crackdown. Although this reflects royal policy, Saudi security police did not let crowds gather for fear they were preparing an opening gambit for the main demonstrations against the throne.
Royal fears were confirmed by the assessments of several Western agencies that the royal family would not for long be able to ward off the large-scale demonstrations building up against the throne and they would eventually undermine royal rule in Riyadh.