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Kuwait News - History

Kuwait News - History

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In The News

Kuwait minister says not in oil rise talks

Kuwait marks 60 years of independence from Britain

File picture shows Kuwaiti children celebrating independence day. Although Kuwait was their protectorate, the British faced resistance during the rule of Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem, due to the fact that the ruling family and government tried to hinder the UK’s ambitions of controlling Kuwait’s internal affairs. Image Credit: AFP

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Kuwait City: On June 19, 1961, Kuwait gained independence from the British after being under their rule for 62 years. Back in 1899, the ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah, signed an agreement granting Britain the right to make Kuwait its protectorate.

Kuwait and Britain have a long, shared history, which has influenced Kuwait’s modern political and social scene. Although it broke free of the UK 60 years ago, Kuwait has still maintained a friendly relationship with Britain, which is its ally.

Islam is the official religion of Kuwait. Approximately 85% of Kuwaitis are Muslim of that number, 70% are Sunni and 30% are Shi'a, mostly of the Twelver school. Kuwait has tiny minorities of other religions among its citizens, as well. There are about 400 Christian Kuwaitis, and about 20 Kuwaiti Baha'is.

Among the guest workers and ex-pats, approximately 600,000 are Hindu, 450,000 are Christian, 100,000 are Buddhist, and about 10,000 are Sikhs. The remainder are Muslim. Because they are People of the Book, Christians in Kuwait are allowed to build churches and keep a certain number of clergy, but proselytizing is forbidden. Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists are not allowed to build temples or gurdwaras.

Kuwait News & Current Events

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.

Women Win Suffrage in Kuwait

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.

Women Continue to Make Inroads

In May 2009, three women are elected to parliament, becoming Kuwait's first female MPs. In October, court rulings further expand the rights of women, allowing them to get passports without the approval of their husbands and not requiring women MPs to wear Islamic headscarves.

In March 2011, the cabinet of Prime Minister al-Sabah resigned. Two months later, Emir Sheik Sabah approved a new government, which included six new ministers.

In June 2012, the emir accepted the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Sheik Jabir Mubarak al-Hamad al-Sabah, and on July 5, he reappointed Sheik Jabir as prime minister. Two weeks later, the cabinet was announced the only change was Nayef al-Hajraf as finance minister.

Opposition Boycotts Parliamentary Elections

The opposition boycotted parliamentary elections on December 1, 2012, claiming changes to voting laws prevented candidates from forming alliances. The boycott caused voter turnout to be only 39.7%. Two days later, Emir Sheik Sabah accepted Prime Minister al-Sabah's resignation. However, by December 5, 2012, Emir Sheik Sabah asked al-Sabah to put together a new government. A week later, al-Sabah announced a new cabinet, but the only major change was Mustafa al-Shamali as minister of finance.

After the elections on December 1, 2012, protesters gathered almost daily to voice their dissatisfaction. Emir Sheik Sabah denounced the protesters as anti-government factions. In a speech to welcome Prime Minister al-Sabah's new cabinet, Emir Sheik Sabah said, "We will not tolerate attempts from anyone to tear apart the unity of the nation."

The country's Constitutional Court dissolved parliament in June 2013 and ordered new elections, which were held under the laws denounced by the opposition. The election were held in July, and liberals, Islamists, and members of tribal groups fared well, while Shiites lost about half of their seats. Turnout was 52.5%, significantly higher than in the previous election.

Islamic Militants Attack Mosque

In an attempt to stop Houthi rebels from advancing further in Yemen, Saudi Arabia led a coalition of Arab states in an offensive on Houthi targets in late March 2015. Kuwait participated in the campaign.

A suicide bomber claiming to be connected to the Islamic State attacked a Shiite mosque in the capital of Kuwait City in June 2015, killing 27 people and injuring several hundred.

Kuwait News - History

USAF aircraft (F-16, F-15C and F-15E) fly over Kuwaiti oil fires, set by the retreating Iraqi army during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

The Beyan Palace Serves As The Official Residence Of The Emir Of Kuwait


The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab emirate bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and Iraq to the north and west. The name is a diminutive of an Arabic word meaning "fortress built near water." It has a population of 3.1 million and an area of 17,818 km². Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, with Kuwait City serving as the country's political and economic capital.

In 1990, Kuwait was invaded and annexed by neighboring Iraq. The seven month-long Iraqi occupations ended after a direct military intervention by United States-led forces. Nearly 750 Kuwaiti oil wells were set ablaze by the retreating Iraqi army resulting in a major environmental and economic catastrophe. Kuwait's infrastructure was badly damaged during the war and had to be rebuilt.

Kuwait has the world's fifth largest oil reserves and is the fourth richest country in the world per capita. Kuwait's oil fields were discovered and exploited in the 1930s. After it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961, the nation's oil industry saw unprecedented growth. Petroleum and petroleum products now account for nearly 95% of export revenues, and 80% of government income. Kuwait is regarded as the most developed country in the Arab League and a Major non-NATO ally of the United States.

Kuwait City (29°22'N 47°58'E29.367°N 47.967°E)

Constitutional hereditary emirate

Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah

17,818 km2 (157th) 6,880 sq mi


In 4th century BC, the Ancient Macedonians colonized the island, Failaka, on today's Kuwait coast under Alexander the Great and named it "Ikaros".

Recorded history of the State of Kuwait goes back to the year 1613. Tribes from central Arabia settled in Kuwait in the 17th-century after experiencing a massive drought in their native land. Kuwait used to be a major center for spice trading between India and Europe. By late 18th-century, most of the local people made a living selling pearls. In 1756, the people elected Sabah I bin Jaber as the first emir of Kuwait. The current ruling family of Kuwait, al-Sabah, are descendants of Sabah I.

During the rule of the Al-Sabah, Kuwait progressively became a center of trade and commerce. It now served as a hub of trade between India, the horn of Africa, the Nejd, Mesopotamia and the Levant. Up until the advent of Japanese pearl farming, Kuwait had one of the largest sea fleets in the Persian Gulf region and a flourishing pearling industry. Trade consisted mainly of pearls, wood, spices, dates and horses.

As the influence of the Ottoman Empire increased in the region, Kuwait was assigned the status of a caza of the Ottomans. After the signing of the Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913, then emir of Kuwait, Mubarak Al-Sabah, was diplomatically recognized by both the Ottomans and British as the ruler of the autonomous caza of the city of Kuwait and the hinterlands. The 1922 Treaty of Uqair set Kuwait's border with Saudi Arabia and also established the Saudi-Kuwaiti neutral zone, an area of about 5,180 km² adjoining Kuwait's southern border. Oil was first discovered in Kuwait in the 1930s and the government became more proactive in establishing internationally recognized boundaries. After World War I,

the Ottoman Empire was financially crippled and the invading British Indian Army invalidated the Anglo-Ottoman Convention, declaring Kuwait to be an "independent sheikdom under British protectorate"..

On 19 June 1961, Kuwait became fully independent following an exchange of notes between the United Kingdom and the then emir of Kuwait, Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah. The Gulf rupee, issued by the Reserve Bank of India, was replaced by the Kuwaiti dinar. The discovery of large oil fields, such as the Burgan field, triggered a large influx of foreign investments into Kuwait. The massive growth of the petroleum industry transformed Kuwait into one of the richest countries in the Arabian Peninsula and by 1952 the country became the largest exporter of oil in the Persian Gulf region. This massive growth attracted many foreign workers, especially from Egypt and India. Kuwait settled its boundary disputes with Saudi Arabia and agreed on sharing equally the neutral zone's petroleum reserves,

Onshore and offshore. After a brief stand-off over boundary issues, Iraq formally recognized Kuwait's independence and its borders in October 1963. During the 1970s, the Kuwaiti government nationalized the Kuwait Oil Company, ending its partnership with Gulf Oil and British Petroleum. In 1982, Kuwait experienced a major economic crisis after the Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash and decrease in oil price. However, the crisis was short-lived as Kuwait's oil production increased steadily to fill the gap caused by decrease in Iraq's and Iran's oil production levels following the events of the Iran–Iraq War. In 1983, a series of six bomb explosions took place in Kuwait killing five people. The attack was carried out by Shiite Dawa Party to retaliate Kuwait's financial support to Iraq during its war with Iran.

Kuwait had heavily funded Iraq's eight year-long war with Iran. After the war ended, Kuwait declined an Iraqi request to forgive its US$65 billion debt. An economic warfare between the two countries followed after Kuwait increased its oil production by 40 percent. Tensions between the two countries increased further after Iraq alleged that Kuwait was slant-drilling oil from its share of the Rumaila field.

On 2 August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded and annexed Kuwait. Saddam Hussein, then President of Iraq, deposed the emir of Kuwait, Jaber Al-Sabah, and installed Ali Hassan al-Majid as the new governor of Kuwait. After a series of failed diplomatic negotiations, the United States-led coalition of thirty-four nations fought the Persian Gulf War to remove the Iraqi forces from Kuwait. On February 26, 1991, the coalition succeeded in driving out the Iraqi forces, restoring the Kuwaiti emir to power. Kuwait paid the coalition forces US$17 billion for their war efforts.

During their retreat, the Iraqi armed forces carried out a scorched earth policy by damaging 737 oil wells in Kuwait, of which approximately 600 were set on fire. It was estimated that by the time Kuwait was liberated from Iraqi occupation, about 5 to 6 million barrels (950,000 m3) of oil was being burned in a single day because of these fires. Oil and soot accumulation had affected the entire Persian Gulf region and large oil lakes were created holding approximately 25 to 50 million barrels (7,900,000 m3) of oil and covering 5% of Kuwait's lan d area. In total, about 11 million barrels (1,700,000 m3) of oil was released into the Persian Gulf and an additional 2% of Kuwait's 96 billion barrels (1.53×1010 m3) of crude oil reserves were burned by the time the oil fires were brought under control. The fires took more than nine months to extinguish fully and it took Kuwait more than 2 years and US$50 billion in infrastructure reconstruction to reach pre-invasion oil output. Kuwait has since largely recovered from the socio-economic, environmental, and public health effects of the Persian Gulf War.

Politics of Kuwait

Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah

Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy and has the oldest directly elected parliament among the Arab states of the Persian Gulf . The head of state is the Emir or Sheikh, a hereditary office. A council of ministers, also known as cabinet ministers, aids the Prime Minister in his task as the head of Government of Kuwait which must contain at least one elected member of the Kuwaiti parliament, known as Majlis Al-Umma (National Assembly). The National Assembly has the power to dismiss the Prime Minister or any member of cabinet through a series of constitutional procedures. All cabinet ministers are answerable to the National Assembly.

The National Assembly consists of fifty elected members, who are chosen in elections held every four years. Government ministers are also granted membership in the parliament and can number up to sixteen excluding the fifty elected members. According to the Constitution of Kuwait, nomination of a new Emir or Crown Prince by the ruling Al-Sabah family has to be approved by the National Assembly. If the nominee does not win the votes of the majority of the assembly, the royal family must submit the names of three other candidates to the National Assembly, and the Assembly must approve one of them to hold the post. Any amendment to the constitution can be proposed by the Emir but it needs to be approved by more than two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly before being implemented. There have been several conflicts between the Emir, the government and the National Assembly over various policies.

The National Assembly was suspended from 1976 to 1981, from 1986 to 1991 and from May 1999 to July 1999 due to irresolvable conflicts between some members of the government and the Assembly. The Assembly was dissolved again in May 2009 by the Emir leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Sheik Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah and the rest of the Cabinet. Nationwide elections were held on May 16 2009.

More than two-thirds of those who reside in Kuwait do not hold Kuwaiti citizenship and thus cannot vote in Parliamentary elections. Additionally, prior to 2005, only 15% of the Kuwaiti citizen population was allowed to vote, with all "recently naturalized" citizens (i.e. those of less than thirty years' citizenship), and members of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces excluded. On 16 May 2005, Parliament permitted women's suffrage by a 35-23 vote, subject to official interpretation of Islamic law and effective for the 2006 parliamentary election.

The decision raised Kuwait's eligible voter population from 139,000 to about 339,000. In 2006, Kuwaiti citizens were estimated to be more than 960,000. In 2005, the former Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah announced the appointment of the first women as a cabinet minister, Massouma Mubarak. She was designated the post of Planning Minister and Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs. During the 2008 parliamentary elections, 27 of the 275 candidates were women. However, none of them won. In the parliamentary elections on 16 May 2009, 16 female candidates contested for 50 seats for a four-year term. Four female candidates won their seats and became Kuwait's first female lawmakers

Iraq invades Kuwait

On August 2, 1990, at about 2 a.m. local time, Iraqi forces invade Kuwait, Iraq’s tiny, oil-rich neighbor. Kuwait’s defense forces were rapidly overwhelmed, and those that were not destroyed retreated to Saudi Arabia. The emir of Kuwait, his family, and other government leaders fled to Saudi Arabia, and within hours Kuwait City had been captured and the Iraqis had established a provincial government. By annexing Kuwait, Iraq gained control of 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves and, for the first time, a substantial coastline on the Persian Gulf. The same day, the United Nations Security Council unanimously denounced the invasion and demanded Iraq’s immediate withdrawal from Kuwait. On August 6, the Security Council imposed a worldwide ban on trade with Iraq.

On August 9, Operation Desert Shield, the American defense of Saudi Arabia, began as U.S. forces raced to the Persian Gulf. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, meanwhile, built up his occupying army in Kuwait to about 300,000 troops. On November 29, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq if it failed to withdraw by January 15, 1991. Hussein refused to withdraw his forces from Kuwait, which he had established as a province of Iraq, and some 700,000 allied troops, primarily American, gathered in the Middle East to enforce the deadline.

At 4:30 p.m. EST on January 16, 1991, Operation Desert Storm, the massive U.S.-led offensive against Iraq, began as the first fighter aircraft were launched from Saudi Arabia and off U.S. and British aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. All evening, aircraft from the U.S.-led military coalition pounded targets in and around Baghdad as the world watched the events transpire on television footage transmitted live via satellite from Iraq. Operation Desert Storm was conducted by an international coalition under the supreme command of U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf and featured forces from 32 nations, including Britain, Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.

During the next six weeks, the allied force engaged in an intensive air war against Iraq’s military and civil infrastructure and encountered little effective resistance from the Iraqi air force or air defenses. Iraqi ground forces were helpless during this stage of the war, and Hussein’s only significant retaliatory measure was the launching of SCUD missile attacks against Israel and Saudi Arabia. Saddam hoped that the missile attacks would provoke Israel to enter the conflict, thus dissolving Arab support of the war. At the request of the United States, however, Israel remained out of the war.

Today in Kuwait's history

approved the decision and banned any other country from opening a post office in the country.

1967 -- Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh

Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

opened the chemical cement factory of the Kuwait Cement Company during the rule of Sheikh

1971 -- Kuwait established diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka . In 1982, the first Sri Lankan ambassador to Kuwait was appointed and in 1995 Kuwait Embassy in Sri Lanka was established.

1980 -- The constitution revising committee held its first meeting, attended by Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh

1986 -- Al-Ahmadi updated port refinery project was launched. Al-Ahmadi refinery opened in 1949 with a production capacity of 25,000 barrels per day to meet local needs for petrol, kerosene, and gasoline. The refinery was revamped several times reaching a total production rate of 420,000 barrels per day.

issued law 11/1995 on judicial arbitration in civil and commercial cases.

2002 -- Kuwait handball team won the Asian Cup, after claiming victory over Qatar with a 29/25 score, during the 10th asian tournament for handball held in Iran .

2003 -- Kuwait association for childcare in hospitals was established with an aim to raise awareness on childcare.

2005 -- Prime Minister Sheikh

laid the cornerstone of the university town in Al-Shedadiya which covers an area of 4.9 million square meters and includes two campuses, 14 colleges, a university hospital, and other service and administrative facilities costing 1.905 billion Kuwaiti dinars.

2007 -- The National Assembly discussed the quizzing of Health Minister Sheikh

which was requested by Members of Parliament Dr.

. The MPs accused the minister of being responsible of administrative and financial violations, mistreating experienced professionals, and casuing the decline of the health services. On the same day, ten MPs called for a vote of confidence and the government resigned on March fourth.

inaugurated a hospital for heart diseases in Al-Sabah health area. The four-storey hospital cost KD 18 million.

area in southern Kuwait was hit with an earthquake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale. The quake did not cause damage or casualties. (end) gta


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Kuwait, Arabic Al-Kuwayt, city and national capital, eastern Kuwait. The city lies on the southern shore of Kuwait Bay of the Persian Gulf. Its name is derived from the Arabic kūt (“fort”).

Kuwait city was founded at the beginning of the 18th century by a group of families who migrated to the coast from the interior of the Arabian Peninsula. The old mud-walled city, only about 5 square miles (13 square km) in area, made its livelihood by fishing, pearling, and trading with the Indian subcontinent and eastern Africa. It was long the only populated place of consequence in the country.

With the development of Kuwait’s petroleum industry after World War II, Kuwait city and the surrounding area, including the residential suburb of Ḥawallī, began to grow rapidly. The mud wall was torn down in 1957, and only three gates remain. The city rapidly became a flourishing administrative, commercial, and financial centre, with modern hotel and high-rise office buildings its banking facilities were among the largest in the Middle East. Kuwait city has many luxurious residences, as well as a number of parks and gardens tree-lined avenues carry heavy automobile traffic. Kuwait University opened in 1966 the city’s historical museum exhibits artifacts from Faylakah island.

When Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait (August 1990 to February 1991 during the Persian Gulf War, Iraqi forces systematically stripped Kuwait city of its food supplies, consumer goods, equipment, and other movable assets, and many of the city’s inhabitants fled the country. Kuwait city suffered considerable damage to buildings and infrastructure, but after the war Kuwaitis were able to return to their capital and much of the city was rebuilt. Pop. (2005 prelim.) city, 32,403 urban agglom., 1,810,000.

HISTORY Vault: Operation Desert Storm

Though the long-running war between Iran and Iraq had ended in a United Nations-brokered ceasefire in August 1988, by mid-1990 the two states had yet to begin negotiating a permanent peace treaty. When their foreign ministers met in Geneva that July, prospects for peace seemed bright. Two weeks later, however, Saddam Hussein delivered a speech in which he accused neighboring Kuwait of siphoning crude oil from their common border, claiming that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were conspiring to keep oil prices low in an effort to pander to Western oil-buying nations.

In addition to Hussein’s incendiary speech, Iraq had begun amassing troops on Kuwait’s border. Alarmed by these actions, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt initiated negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait, but Hussein broke off the negotiations after only two hours, and on August 2, 1990 ordered the invasion of Kuwait. Hussein’s assumption that his fellow Arab states would stand by him proved to be a miscalculation. Alarmed by these actions, two-thirds of the 21 members of the Arab League condemned Iraq’s act of aggression, and Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd, along with Kuwait’s government-in-exile, turned to the United States and other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for support.

Soldier deployed to Kuwait dies in noncombat incident

A soldier died Thursday in a noncombat incident at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, military officials said in a brief press release.

The soldier’s name and unit information is being withheld pending notification of their next of kin, the release stated.

The soldier was assigned to the anti-ISIS mission known as Operation Inherent Resolve at the time of death. The incident is under investigation, the release added, but no other details were provided.

Disclosure of the soldier’s death came the same day that the Pentagon announced another Army death related to missions in U.S. Central Command.

Louisiana National Guard soldier First Sgt. Casey Hart, 42, died Tuesday at Walter Reed Medical Center after he suffered a medical emergency at Al-Tanf Garrison, Syria, in early May.

The incident that took Hart’s life is under investigation, said Louisiana Guard spokesperson Maj. Noel Collins, who declined to provide further details.

Hart was assigned to the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, out of Lafayette, Louisiana. He also worked as a patrol officer for the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Watch the video: Kuwait History Briefly (June 2022).