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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 16, 1986

REPORT ON DETENTION OF A UNITED STATES MILITARY ATTACHE IN KUWAIT

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Report on detention of a United States Military Attache in Kuwait while trying to gather information on arms shipments between the Soviet Union and Iraq, via Kuwait.
    "Report on Detention of a United States Military Attache in Kuwait ," December 16, 1986, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, ZA, HA I, 13758. Obtained and translated for CWIHP by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114460
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[Ministry for National Defense]

[GDR Military Attache in Baghdad]

16 December 1986

Registration Number: 052/ /87

Baghdad reports on developments of the intelligence situation

The Military Attache of the United States, Colonel Marc Powe, accredited in Iraq since 16 September 1985, was detained on 16 December 1986 in Kuwait by local security organs when he was about to collect information about Soviet arms shipments to Iraq via Kuwait. He was held in custody for many hours and then asked to leave Kuwait. He is not accredited to Kuwait.

The U.S. Military Attache confirmed that there was an incident in Kuwait. Yet he said the problems were cleared swiftly since he did not take any technical means of photography along. The military attache section of the Iraqi General Staff did not take any action against Colonel Powe. The incident occurred on Kuwaiti territory and the Kuwaiti authorities did not provide any official information [to the Iraqis]. Also, Iraq is not interested in a disturbance of relations with the United States. It is said that during several meetings between the Intelligence Chief of the Iraqi Army and the U.S. Military Attache information from satellite reconnaissance were also transmitted.

It is assessed that all this was about highlighting USSR military support for Iraq under inclusion of Kuwait in the context of U.S. arms shipments to Iran [made public].

Iraq continues to pursue a pragmatic policy vis-a-vis the United States and does not want to see relations negatively affected. For that reason official Iraqi reactions are not to be expected. Yet one can assume a more tighter control of activities by the U.S. military attache and his counterparts from other states.