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Kuwait is situated northeast of Saudi Arabia at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, south of Iraq. It is slightly larger than Hawaii. The low-lying desert land is mainly sandy and barren. Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy, governed by the al-Sabah family.
Kuwait is believed to have been part of an early civilization in the 3rd millennium B.C. and to have traded with Mesopotamian cities. Archeological and historical traces disappeared around the first millennium B.C. At the beginning of the 18th century, the 'Anizah tribe of central Arabia founded Kuwait City, which became an autonomous sheikdom by 1756. 'Abd Rahim of the al-Sabah became the first sheik, and his descendants continue to rule Kuwait today. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the sheikdom belonged to the fringes of the Ottoman Empire. Kuwait obtained British protection in 1897 when the sheik feared that the Turks would expand their hold over the area. In 1961, Britain ended the protectorate, giving Kuwait independence, but agreed to give military aid on request. Iraq immediately threatened to occupy the area, and the British sent troops to defend Kuwait. Soon afterward, the Arab League sent in troops, replacing the British. Iraq's claim was dropped when the Arab League recognized Kuwait's independence on July 20, 1961. Historically, Kuwait followed a neutral and mediatory policy among Arab states.
Oil was discovered in Kuwait in the 1930s, and proved to have 20% of the world's known oil resources. Since 1946 it has been the world's second-largest oil exporter. The sheik, who receives half of the profits, devotes most of them to the education, welfare, and modernization of his kingdom. In 1966, Sheik Sabah designated a relative, Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, as his successor. By 1968, the sheikdom had established a model welfare state, and it sought to establish dominance among the sheikdoms and emirates of the Persian Gulf.
In July 1990, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein blamed Kuwait for falling oil prices. After a failed Arab mediation attempt to solve the dispute peacefully, Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, set up a pro-Iraqi provisional government, and drained Kuwait of its economic resources. A coalition of Arab and Western military forces drove Iraqi troops from Kuwait in a mere four days, from Feb. 23–27, 1991, ending the Persian Gulf War. The emir returned to his country from Saudi Arabia in mid-March. Martial law, in effect since the end of the Gulf War, ended in late June. The U.S. sent 2,400 troops to the country in Aug. 1992, ostensibly as part of a training exercise, though it was widely interpreted as a show of strength to Saddam Hussein. Iraqi “training” maneuvers near the Kuwaiti border in Oct. 1994 renewed fears of aggression in the country. A Kuwaiti appeal brought the quick deployment of U.S. and British troops and equipment.
In 1999, the emir gave women the right to vote and run for parliament, but later that year Parliament defeated the ruler's decree. Kuwaiti society has grown increasingly conservative under the influence of Islamic fundamentalists. In 2003, traditionalists won a sweeping victory in parliamentary elections. The emir and crown prince (who served as prime minister) were elderly and ailing; in July 2003, the country's de facto leader, foreign minister Sheik Sabah, replaced the crown prince as prime minister.
In May 2005, Kuwait abandoned its 1999 ban on women's suffrage, and in June a woman was appointed to the cabinet. In April 2006, women voted for the first time. In Jan. 2006, the emir, Sheik Jabir, died. His cousin, Crown Prince Sheik Saad, briefly became the nation's ruler, but he was forced to abdicate because of extreme ill health. The prime minister, Sheik Sabah, was then nominated and unanimously confirmed by Parliament as emir. Sheik Sabah named his brother, Sheik Nawaf, as crown prince, and his nephew, Sheik Nasser, as prime minister.
Prime Minister Sheik Nasser Muhammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah dissolved the opposition-led parliament in March 2008 and called for new elections. In May's parliamentary elections, radical Islamists took more than half of the body's 50 seats. No women were elected to Parliament. Prime Minister Sabah and his cabinet resigned in November in a dispute with Parliament over the visit to Kuwait by a controversial Iranian cleric. The emir reappointed Sabah in December, and he formed a new government in Jan. 2009, composed largely of previous cabinet members.
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 02:56:15 -0700
KUWAIT, July 19, (KUNA): The national carrier, Kuwait Airways Company (KAC), has successfully obtained two aviation security certificates necessary for air-cargo or mail carrier operation into the European Union. In a press statement, the KAC stated ...
Arab Times Kuwait English Daily
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 07:48:45 -0700
Ukraine and its four diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE further add and promote tourist and business traffic. ... Korean Air said it rerouted cargo and passenger flights in early March as the situation in Crimea deteriorated.
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 22:03:45 -0700
United Nations: The UN agency assisting Palestinian refugees has said that over 100,000 internally displaced people are seeking safety in its facilities amid deteriorating security conditions in the Gaza Strip as it appealed for USD 60 million for ...
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 01:48:45 -0700
Vitol Asia offered the best price for the cargo among eight firms that competed for the tender, a BPC official said, after the tender opened on Monday. Last week state-owned BPC postponed the lifting of the cargo to Aug. 16-18 from Aug. 3-5 due to low ...
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 02:33:45 -0700
These are 1,087 ton ships that can carry 350 tons (or up to five tanks or 24 cargo containers). The LCU 2000 has the same size crew but can stay at sea for up to 27 days. The army stations some of them overseas (Kuwait, Japan) to help move cargo from ...
Sat, 12 Jul 2014 09:18:45 -0700
[USPRwire, Wed Jul 16 2014] Kuwait's ports have struggled to recover the volumes they enjoyed prior to the global economic downturn, but BMI expects that growth will continue over the medium term. If there are continued instances of industrial unrest ...
USPRwire (press release)
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:37:30 -0700
DUBAI: Upon the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the cargo plane, Boeing 747, which was dispatched to Gaza carrying 114 metric tonnes of aid, landed at ...
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 14:22:30 -0700
Captain Stapleton was master of the S.S. Cape Girardeau, a 605 foot C5 break bulk cargo vessel, during Operation Desert Storm in 1990-1991, which was designed as part of a plan to send troops to defend Kuwait. “The Cape Girardeau had a major role for ...