/ kuːweɪt /
Množina reči Kuwait je Kuwaits.
Koweit · Kuwait · Kuwait City · State of Kuwait · capital of Kuwai
Country in SW Asia, bounded N and NW by Iraq, E by the Persian Gulf, and S and SW by Saudi Arabia.
The 1962 constitution was partly suspended by the emir 1976, but reinstated 1980. The national assembly was dissolved and major parts of the constitution again suspended 1986. In 1990 the constitution was reinstated and a new assembly elected 1992.
The constitution vests executive power in the hands of the emir, who governs through an appointed prime minister and council of ministers. There is a single-chamber national assembly of 50 members, elected by restricted suffrage for a four-year term. Women do not have the vote. Political parties are not permitted and, despite the appearance of constitutional government, Kuwait is, in effect, a personal monarchy.
The region was part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire from the 16th century; the ruling family founded the sheikdom of Kuwait 1756. The ruler made a treaty with Britain 1899, enabling it to become a self-governing protectorate until it achieved full independence 1961.
discovery of oil
Oil was first discovered 1938, and its large-scale exploitation began after 1945, transforming Kuwait City from a small fishing port into a thriving commercial center. The oil revenues have enabled ambitious public works and education programs to be undertaken. Sheik Abdullah al-Salem al-Sabah took the title of emir 1961 when he assumed full executive powers. He died 1965 and was succeeded by his brother, Sheik Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah. He, in turn, died 1977 and was succeeded by Crown Prince Jabir, who appointed Sheik Saad al-Abdullah al-Salem al-Sabah as his heir apparent. In 1986 Sheik Jabir suspended the national assembly after it had criticized his government's policies. In Jan 1990 prodemocracy demonstrations were dispersed by the police.
Kuwait used its considerable wealth not only to improve its infrastructure and social services but also to attempt to secure its borders, making, for example, substantial donations to Iraq, which in the past had made territorial claims on it. It has been a strong supporter of the Arab cause generally.
During the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War, Kuwait was the target of destabilization efforts by the revolutionary Iranian government. Some Shiites conducted a terrorist bombing campaign as part of an effort to incite the Shiite minority in Kuwait; 17 were arrested 1983 and their freedom was the demand in several hijacking incidents that followed. In 1987 Kuwait sought US protection for its tankers in the wake of attacks on Gulf shipping. Several Kuwaiti tankers were reflagged, and the US Navy conducted convoys through the Gulf. Iranian missiles also struck Kuwaiti installations, provoking fears of an expansion of the conflict. Kuwait released two of the convicted bombers Feb 1989.
On 2 Aug 1990 President Saddam Hussein of Iraq reactivated the long-standing territorial dispute and invaded and occupied the country. The emir and most of his family escaped to Saudi Arabia. With more assets outside than in Kuwait, the government in exile was able to provide virtually unlimited financial support to Kuwaitis who had fled and to countries willing to help it regain its territory. On 28 Feb 1991, US-led coalition forces liberated Kuwait. By March 1991 peace negotiations began as part of the effort to restabilize the entire Middle East. In April 1991 the reshuffling of the cabinet provoked criticism from prodemocracy campaigners for leaving power in the hands of the Sabah family.
aftermath of the war
About 600 oil wells were sabotaged by the invading Iraqis; smoke from burning oil created a pall over the whole country. It was not until Nov 1991 that Kuwait was able to extinguish all the fires. Palestinian guest workers who had remained in Kuwait were subjected to reprisals by returning Kuwaitis for alleged collaboration with the Iraqis, and of 350,000 Palestinians in Kuwait before the invasion, only 80,000 remained in 1992.
revival of national assembly
In Oct 1992 opposition candidates won a majority of the seats (30) in Kuwait's national assembly in the first parliamentary elections since 1986. Islamic candidates made significant gains, filling 19 of the opposition seats. Less than 14% of the population was eligible to vote with the franchise restricted to Kuwaiti men over 21.
In Jan 1993 incursions by Iraq into Kuwait were halted after a series of US-led air strikes against Iraqi missile and radar sites. Iraqi troops massed near the border Oct 1994, arousing fears of another invasion, but prompt action by the US-led international community removed the threat and secured a formal recognition of Kuwait by the Iraqi government.
1. A seaport on the Persian Gulf and capital of Kuwait; Also called: Koweit, capital of Kuwait.
2. An Arab kingdom in Asia on the northwestern coast of the Persian Gulf; a major source of petroleum; Also called: Koweit.