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Human Rights
Historical Background of Modern Kuwait
The Gulf Wars
Foreign relations of Kuwait
 Formal name
Kuwait or The State of Kuwait
 Location
Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Saudi
Land boundaries
total: 462 km
border countries: Iraq 240 km, Saudi Arabia 222 km
dry desert; intensely hot summers; short, cool winters
 Natural resources
petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas
 Population
country comparison to the world: 139
(July 2009 est.)
 Population growth rate
country comparison to the world: 4
(2009 est.)
 Life expectancy at birth
total population: 77.71 years
country comparison to the world: 52
(2009 est.)
 Ethnic groups
Kuwaiti 45%, other Arab 35%, South Asian 9%, Iranian 4%, other 7%
 Religions
Muslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shia 30%), other (includes Christian, Hindu,
Parsi) 15%
 Languages
Arabic (official), English widely spoken
 Government type
Kuwait is a constitutional emirate (monarchy), governed by the alSabah family.
 Capital
name: Kuwait City
 Administrative divisions
6 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Ahmadi, Al
'Asimah, Al Farwaniyah, Al Jahra', Hawalli, Mubarak al Kabir
 Constitution
approved and promulgated 11 November 1962
 Legal system
civil law system with Islamic law significant in personal matters; has not
accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
 Executive branch
Chief of state: Amir SABAH al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah (since 29
January 2006); Crown Prince NAWAF al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah
Head of government: Prime Minister NASIR AL-MUHAMMAD alAhmad al-Sabah (since 3 April 2007)
First Deputy Prime Minister :JABIR AL-MUBAREK al-Hamad alSabah (since 9 February 2006)
Deputy Prime Minister: MUHAMMAD AL-SABAH al-Salim alSabah (since 9 February 2006)
Elections: none; the amir is hereditary; the amir appoints the
prime minister and deputy prime ministers.
 Legislative branch
Unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Umma (50 seats;
members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections: last held 16 May 2009 (next election to be held in 2013)
 Judicial branch
High Court of Appeal
 Political parties and leaders
None; formation of political parties is in practice illegal but is not
forbidden by law
 International organization participation:
ABEDA, AfDB (nonregional member), AFESD, AMF, BDEAC,
CAEU, FAO, G-77, GCC, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory),
OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, OPEC, Paris Club (associate), PCA, UN,
 GDP (purchasing power parity)
$150.2 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
 GDP - per capita (PPP)
$55,800 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
 Unemployment rate:
2.2% (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
 Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.7% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
 Agriculture - products:
practically no crops; fish
 Industries:
petroleum, petrochemicals, cement, shipbuilding and repair, water
desalination, food processing, construction materials
 Oil - production:
2.741 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
 Oil - exports:
2.349 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
 Natural gas - production:
12.7 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
 Exports - commodities:
oil and refined products, fertilizers
 Exports - partners:
Japan 18.4%, South Korea 14.6%, India 11.5%, US 8.9%, Singapore
7.9%, China 6.1% (2008)
 Imports - commodities:
food, construction materials, vehicles and parts, clothing
 Imports - partners:
US 11.9%, Japan 9.2%, Germany 8.1%, China 7.6%, Saudi Arabia 7%,
Italy 4.8%, UK 4.2% (2008)
Human Rights
 Human Trafficking
In June 2007, Kuwait became among the worst offenders in human
trafficking according to a report issued by the United States
Department of State.
Because migrant workers were placed under the sponsor system
which puts them under the mercy of their employers restricting
their movement which has been widely described as "modern day
 Alcohol
As an Islamic State, alcohol is forbidden in Kuwait, although it's
available on the black market. Drinking or carrying alcohol in
public is illegal.
 Women's Rights
In June 2007 the National Assembly of Kuwait unanimously passed
a law to restrict the hours that women are allowed to work. The law
bars women from working between 8:00 pm and 7:00 am with an
exception for women working in the medical profession. Women
are also prohibited from jobs that "contravene with public morals"
and that require women to be in otherwise all-male environments.
According to the 2004 full report, Kuwait ranks among the most
free countries in the Middle East for the press, but there is still
widespread self-censorship of local and foreign press, and certain
subjects are understood to be taboo.
Private media enjoys a great deal of freedom in Kuwait, yet is
subject to governmental sanctions for violating news and
publication laws. The press is economically dependent on state
financial subsidies.
Arabic daily newspapers from Kuwait include: Al-Rai Ala-Am (
Public Opinion ); Al-Seyassah ( Policy ), Al-Qabas ( Starbrand ),
Al-Watan ( The Home-land ), Al-Anbas ( The News ), Al Dostoor
Newspapers published in English include the Kuwait Times ,
Kuwait Today , Arab Times ,The Washington Post is also received
in Kuwait.
Historical Background of Modern Kuwait
 Kuwait was founded in the early eighteenth century by members
of the Bani Utbah tribe in the year 1705.
 In the first half of the eighteenth century, the great grandfather's
of theAl-Khalifa , Al-Sabah , and Al-Jalahma arrived at Kuwait
migrated from Najd.
 Peace in a region dominated by the Bani Khalid, as well as
internal problems that kept other regional powers from
interfering, allowed the Al Khalifa , Al-Sabah, and Al Jalahma to
develop new maritime skills.
 Trade became the basis of the economy and the Al Khalifa, AlSabah,and Al Jalahma developed new political and social
arrangements to organize life in a settled economy.
 One tradition has it that political preeminence went to the
Sabahs as part of an explicit agreement: in 1716, the heads of the
al-Khalifa, al-Sabah, and al-Jalahima agreed to give the Sabahs
preeminence in government and military affairs, subject to
consultation, while the Khalifas controlled local commerce and
the Jalahima maritime affairs.
 In 1762, Sabah I died and was succeeded by his youngest son,
 Shortly after Sabah's death, in 1766, the al-Khalifa and, soon
after, the al-Jalahima, left Kuwait en masse for Zubara in Qatar.
 Their emigration left the Sabahs in undisputed control, and by
the end of Abdullah I's long rule (1762–1812), Sabah rule was
secure, and the political hierarchy in Kuwait was well
 Sabah family rule, though well established, remained limited
until well into the 20th century.
 Although Kuwait was nominally governed from Basra, the
Kuwaitis had traditionally maintained a relative degree of
autonomous status; their cultural integration with the emirates
of the Persian Gulf formed a network of tribal and trade
relationships stronger than the tie to Ottoman Iraq.
 In May 1896, Shaikh Muhammad Al-Sabah was assassinated by
his half-brother, Mubarak, who, in early 1897, was recognized, by
the Ottoman sultan, as the qaimmaqam (provincial subgovernor) of Kuwait.
 In July 1897, Mubarak invited the British to deploy gunboats
along the Kuwaiti coast. This led to what is known as the First
Kuwaiti Crisis, in which the Ottomans demanded that the
British stop interfering with their empire. In the end, the
Ottoman Empire backed down, rather than go to war.
 In January 1899, Mubarak signed an agreement with the British
which pledged that Kuwait would never cede any territory nor
receive agents or representatives of any foreign power without
the British Government's consent.
 In 1915, Mubarak the Great died and was succeeded by his son
Jaber II Al-Sabah, who reigned for just over one year until his
death in early 1917. His brother Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak AlSabah succeeded him.
 Despite the Kuwaiti government's desire to either be
independent or under British rule, in the Anglo-Ottoman
Convention of 1913, the British concurred with the Ottoman
Empire in defining Kuwait as an "autonomous caza" of the
Ottoman Empire and that the Shaikhs of Kuwait were not
independent leaders, but rather qaimmaqams (provincial subgovernors) of the Ottoman government.
 After World War I, the Ottoman Empire was defeated and the
British invalidated the Anglo-Ottoman Convention, declaring
Kuwait to be an independent sheikhdom under British
 On April 1, 1923, Shaikh Ahmad al-Sabah wrote the British
Political Agent in Kuwait, Major John More, "I still do not know
what the border between Iraq and Kuwait is, I shall be glad if you
will kindly give me this information."
 On April 19, British government stated that they recognized the
outer line of the Convention as the border between Iraq and
Kuwait. This decision limited Iraq's access to the Persian Gulf .
At the end the border was re-recognized in 1932.
 The discovery of oil in Kuwait, in 1938, revolutionized the
sheikdom's economy and made it a valuable asset to Britain. In
1941 on the same day as the German invasion of Russia (June 22)
the British took total control over Iraq and Kuwait.
 By early 1961, the British had withdrawn their special court
system and the Kuwaiti Government began to exercise legal
jurisdiction under new laws drawn up by an Egyptian jurist. On
June 19, 1961, Kuwait became fully independent following an
exchange of notes with the United Kingdom.
 The 1962 Constitution gives executive powers to the Emir as the
Head of State. Legislative powers are entrusted to the National
Assemby (Majlis Al-Umma) which is elected every four years.
The Emir exercises his executive powers through the Council of
Ministers. The Constitution gives the Emir the right to dissolve
the National Assembly and the Emir has exercised this
prerogative four times (in 1976, 1986, 1999 and 2006)
 Kuwait enjoyed an unprecedented period of prosperity under
Amir Sabah al-Salim Al Sabah, who died in 1977 after ruling for
12 years.
 Under his rule, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement
dividing the Neutral Zone (now called the Divided Zone) and
demarcating a new international boundary. Both countries share
equally the Divided Zone's petroleum, onshore and offshore.
 After that time country was transformed into a highly developed
welfare state with a free market economy.
 Kuwait's troubled relationship with neighboring Iraq formed the
core of its foreign policy from late 1980s onwards. Its first major
foreign policy problem arose when Iraq claimed Kuwaiti
The Gulf Wars - Kuwait
 The reasons of Gulf Wars were that ;
1. Kuwait started to lower oil price after Iran- iraq war. Thus,
caused to decrease the oil revenues of Iraq.
2. Kuwait refused to erase the dept of Iraq which was given to the
Iraq by Kuwait during the Iran- Iraq War.
 During late July of 1990 Saddam built up his military forces on
the border with Kuwait. At 1:00 a.m. on 02 August, three Iraqi
divisions of the elite Republican Guard rolled over the border.
Resistance was nearly non-existent.
 In spite of its often unstable nature, most of the world was
shocked by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwiat.
 Iraq justified the move primarily on the grounds that Kuwait was
once a part of Iraq and should be again.
 it was also a power play by Iraq, an effort to annex some of the
worlds richest oil fields.
 Once the Republican Guard had secured all of the strategic
points in the country, it moved to the Kuwait/Saudi border. The
Saudis were alarmed.
 King Fahd of Saudi Arabia recognized his situation as dire and
immediately requested aid from his most powerful friend and
ally, the United States.
 President Bush promptly ordered the deployment of U.S. ground
and air forces to Saudi territory. U.S. Navy ships were also
deployed to the region. "Desert Shield’’ operation started.
 US had tramendous benefits from that operation.
 Iraq had been vigorous in developing weapons of mass
destruction. There was no question that they had chemical
weapons. More ominously, they showed no compunction about
using their chemical weapons. (Halapje massacre).
 Saddam Hussein's move into Iraq was so alarming that it
galvanized most of the nations in the region to send troops to
Saudi Arabia to help oppose the Iraqi build up.
 United Nations felt compelled to condemn Iraq and to request
an immediate withdrawal of troops from Kuwait.
 The United Nations would eventually authorize allied use of
force in order to forcibly expel Iraq from Kuwait.
 On 30 January 1991 the 15th Iraqi Mechanized Infantry Brigade
attacked across the border a small town,Al-Khafji, in Saudi
 Operation Desert Shield was meant to defend Saudi Arabia, but
in January of 1991 President Bush, advised by Collin Powell and
the Joint Chiefs of Staff determined to go on the offensive and
take the war to the Iraqis.
 Air War - Operation Desert Storm started.
 As is usual in modern war, the first objective of the allied force in
Saudi Arabia was to gain air superiority.
 The air campaign against Iraq was launched 16 January 1991, the
day after the United Nations deadline for Iraqi withdrawal from
Kuwait expired.
 In an effort to demonstrate their own air offensive capability, on
24 January the Iraqis attempted to mount a strike against the
major Saudi oil refinery in Abqaiq.
 After harsh air attack of allied forces the Iraqi forces were
 By late February the Coalition forces were ready to kick off the
ground campaign.
 As coalition forces moved to completely cut off the last avenue of
Iraq’s retreat from Kuwait, Allied leaders, including George Bush
and Collin Powell determined that the Allied objective had been
all but accomplished.
 At the end Iraq lost the game..
 The results of war;
It strengthened the US position in the Middle East.
It proved that U.S. technology and U.S. military doctrine is a
potent force when applied to the world stage.
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia got rid of fear of Iraq invasion.
It was seen that all other Middle East countries were opposed to
relatively powerfull Iraq in the region.
This war also encouraged Saddam to proceed production of
chemical and nuclear weapons.
It promoted a relatively powerful Iran in the Middle East.
Lastly, this war promted the Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to help
US during the US-Iraq War.
Kuwait has spent more than five billion dollars to repair oil
infrastructure damaged during 1990–1991.
Foreign Relations of Kuwait
 Iraq
On April 25, 2007, Kuwaiti lawmaker Saleh Ashour called in a
statement for reopening Kuwait's embassy in Baghdad and for
strongly supporting the government in Baghdad. İt was said that it
is too early to reopen the Kuwaiti embassy in Baghdad and that this
issue should wait until security situations improve.
 Saudi Arabia
Although Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are strong allies and cooperate
within OPEC and the GCC, Riyadh disputes Kuwait's ownership of
the Qaruh and Umm al Maradim islands.
 Yemen
As a member of the UN Security Council in 1990 and 1991, Yemen
abstained on a number of resolutions concerning the Iraqi invasion
of Kuwait and voted against the "use of force resolution." Kuwait
responded by canceling aid programs, cutting diplomatic contact,
and expelling thousands of Yemeni workers.
 İndia
Kuwait is India's second largest supplier of crude oil and non-oil
bilateral trade was over one billion US dollars in 2008.
 Pakistan
After the end of the first Gulf War in 1991 Pakistani army engineers
were involved in a programme of mine clearance in the country.
Kuwait was also the first country to send aid to isolated mountain
villages in Kashmir after the quake of 2005, also offering the largest
amount of aid in the aftermath of the quake ($100m).
 United States
Strategic cooperation between the United States and Kuwait
increased in 1987 with the implementation of a maritime
protection regime that ensured the freedom of navigation through
the Persian Gulf for 11 Kuwaiti tankers that were reflagged with U.S.
The U.S.-Kuwaiti strategic partnership intensified dramatically
again after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
Kuwait and the United States worked on a daily basis to monitor
and to enforce Iraq's compliance with UN Security Council
resolutions, and Kuwait has also provided the main platform for
«Operation Iraqi Freedom» since 2003.
Kuwait also is an important partner in the ongoing U.S.-led
campaign against international terrorism, providing assistance in
the military, diplomatic, and intelligence arenas and also
supporting efforts to block financing of terrorist groups.
 Turkey
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkey describes the current
relations at "outstanding levels". Bilateral trade between the two
countries is around 275 Million dollars. The two countries have
recently signed fifteen agreements for cooperation in tourism,
health, environment, economy, commercial exchange and oil.