Kuwait

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Coordenadas : 29 ° 30′N 47 ° 45′E / 29.500°N 47.750°E / 29.500; 47.750

Estado do Kuwait
دولة الكويت ( árabe )
Dawlat al-Kuwayt
Anthem:  an-Nashid al-Watani
Hino Nacional
Location of Kuwait (green)
Localização do Kuwait (verde)
Capital
e a maior cidade
Cidade do Kuwait 29 ° 22′N 47 ° 58′E
 / 29.367°N 47.967°E / 29.367; 47.967
Línguas oficiaisÁrabe [1]
Grupos étnicos
  • 57,65% árabe
  • 40,42% asiático
  • 1,02% africano
  • 0,39% europeu
  • 0,52% Outros
[2]
Religião
74,36% Islã (oficial)

18,17% cristianismo

7,47% Outros
Demônimo (s)Kuwaitiano
Governo Monarquia constitucional unitária ]] [3]
•  Emir
Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Sabah Khalid al-Sabah
Marzouq Ali al-Ghanim
LegislaturaAssembleia Nacional
Estabelecimento
1613
• Independência do Emirado de Al Hasa
1752
23 de janeiro de 1899
29 de julho de 1913
• Fim dos tratados com o Reino Unido
19 de junho de 1961
14 de maio de 1963
• Dia Nacional do Kuwait
25 de fevereiro de 1961
• Dia da Libertação do Kuwait
26 de fevereiro de 1991
Área
• Total
17.818 km 2 (6.880 sq mi) ( 152º )
• Água (%)
insignificante
População
• estimativa de 2019
4.420.110 Decrease [2] ( 127º )
• censo de 2005
2.213.403 [4]
• Densidade
200,2 / km 2 (518,5 / sq mi) ( 61º )
PIB  ( PPP )Estimativa para 2020
• Total
$ 303 bilhões [5] ( 57 )
• per capita
Decrease$ 67.891 [5] ( )
PIB  (nominal)Estimativa de 2018
• Total
$ 118,271 bilhões [5] ( 57 )
• per capita
$ 28.199 [5] ( 23º )
HDI  (2019)Decrease 0,806 [6]
muito alto  ·  64º
MoedaDinar do Kuwait ( KWD )
Fuso horárioUTC +3 ( AST )
Formato de datadd / mm / aaaa ( CE )
Lado de conduçãodireito
Código de chamada+965
Código ISO 3166KW
Internet TLD.kw
  1. Sucessão nominal dentro da Casa de Sabah .
  2. Emirado

Kuwait ( / k ʊ w t / ( escutar )About this sound ; [7] [8] árabe : الكويت al-Kuwayt , Golfo árabe pronúncia:  [ɪl‿ɪkweːt] ou[lɪkweːt] ), oficialmente o Estado do Kuwait ( árabe : دولة الكويت Dawlat al-Kuwayt ), é um país da Ásia Ocidental . Ele está situado no extremo norte da Arábia Oriental, na ponta do Golfo Pérsico , fazendo fronteira com o Iraque ao norte e a Arábia Saudita ao sul . O Kuwait tem uma extensão costeira de aproximadamente 500 km (311 milhas). [9] A maioria da população do país reside na aglomeração urbana da capital Kuwait City . [10] Em 2021About this sound, O Kuwait tem uma população de 4,67 milhões de pessoas, onde 1,45 milhões são kuwaitianos e 3,2 milhões são estrangeiros . [11]

Historicamente, o Kuwait foi um porto comercial estratégico entre a Mesopotâmia e a Índia . [12] As reservas de petróleo foram descobertas em quantidades comerciais em 1938. Em 1946, o petróleo bruto foi exportado pela primeira vez. [13] [14] De 1946 a 1982, o país passou por uma modernização em grande escala, em grande parte com base na receita da produção de petróleo. Na década de 1980, o Kuwait passou por um período de instabilidade geopolítica e crise econômica após a quebra do mercado de ações . Em 1990, o Kuwait foi invadido e, mais tarde, anexado a uma das governadorias do Iraque pelo Iraque sob Saddam Hussein. A ocupação iraquiana do Kuwait chegou ao fim em 1991, após a intervenção militar de uma coalizão militar liderada pelos Estados Unidos e vários outros países.

Kuwait é um emirado . O Emir é o chefe de estado e o Al Sabah é a família governante que domina o sistema político do país. A religião oficial do Estado do Kuwait é o Islã sunita Maliki . O Kuwait é um país em desenvolvimento com uma economia de alta renda apoiada pela sexta maior reserva de petróleo do mundo . O dinar do Kuwait é a moeda de maior valor no mundo. [15] O Kuwait é o quinto país mais rico do mundo em renda nacional bruta per capita . [16] Em 2009, o Kuwait tinha o maior Índice de Desenvolvimento Humano do mundo árabe.[17] [18] De acordo com o Human Rights First, Kuwait tem o maior número de apátridas em toda a região. [19] [20] [21]

O Kuwait foi classificado como "potência média em potencial " pelo Centro de Estudos Estratégicos de Haia. [22] O Kuwait é um membro fundador do GCC e um importante aliado não pertencente à OTAN dos Estados Unidos. O Kuwait também tem fortes laços econômicos com a China e a ASEAN . [23] [24] Em 2020, o governo do Kuwait experimentou seu primeiro déficit fiscal desde 1995, devido à queda dos preços do petróleo e à falta de diversificação econômica. [25] [26] Para ajudar a diversificar a economia, o Kuwait iniciou um plano de desenvolvimento nacional. [27] [28] Under the Belt and Road Initiative , [29]Kuwait e China têm muitos projetos de cooperação importantes, incluindo a cidade de Al Mutlaa e o porto de Mubarak Al Kabeer . [30] [31] [32] [33] [28]

História

Antiguidade

Após a inundação pós-glacial da bacia do Golfo Pérsico, os detritos do rio Tigre-Eufrates formaram um delta substancial, criando a maior parte da terra no atual Kuwait e estabelecendo o litoral atual. [34] Historicamente, o norte do Kuwait fazia parte da antiga Mesopotâmia . [12] Uma das primeiras evidências de habitação humana no sul do Kuwait data de 8.000 aC, onde ferramentas mesolíticas foram encontradas em Burgan. [35] Os habitantes neolíticos do Kuwait estavam entre os primeiros comerciantes marítimos do mundo. [36] Durante o período de Ubaid (6500 aC), o Kuwait foi o local central de interação entre os povos deMesopotâmia e Neolítico da Arábia Oriental , [37] [38] [39] [40] principalmente centrada em torno de Bahra 1 em Subiya . [41] [42] [43] Um dos primeiros barcos de junco do mundo foi descoberto no local H3 no norte do Kuwait, datando do período Ubaid. [44] Os mesopotâmicos estabeleceram-se pela primeira vez na ilha Kuwaitiana de Failaka em 2000 aC [45] [46] Os comerciantes da cidade suméria de Ur habitavam Failaka e administravam um negócio mercantil. [45] [46]A ilha tinha muitos edifícios de estilo mesopotâmico, típicos dos encontrados no Iraque, datados de cerca de 2.000 aC [45]

Em 4000 AC até 2000 AC, a baía do Kuwait foi o lar da civilização Dilmun . [47] [48] [49] [50] O controle de Dilmun da baía do Kuwait incluía o continente Akkaz , [47] Ilha Umm an Namil , [47] [51] e Ilha Failaka . [47] [50] Em seu pico em 2000 aC, o império Dilmun controlou as rotas comerciais da Mesopotâmia para a Índia e a civilização do Vale do Indo . O poder comercial de Dilmun começou a declinar após 1800 aC. A pirataria floresceu em toda a região durante o declínio de Dilmun. Depois de 600 aC, os babilônios adicionaram Dilmun ao seu império.

Moedas antigas encontradas na Ilha Failaka .

Durante a era Dilmun (cerca de 3000 aC), Failaka era conhecido como " Agarum ", a terra de Enzak , um grande deus da civilização Dilmun, de acordo com os textos cuneiformes sumérios encontrados na ilha. [52] Como parte de Dilmun, Failaka tornou-se um centro para a civilização do final do terceiro até meados do primeiro milênio aC. [52] Failaka foi colonizada após 2000 aC, após uma queda no nível do mar. [53] Após a civilização Dilmun, Failaka foi habitada pelos Kassitas da Mesopotâmia , [54] e estava formalmente sob o controle da dinastia Kassita da Babilônia . [54]Estudos indicam que vestígios de assentamento humano podem ser encontrados em Failaka, que remonta ao final do terceiro milênio aC e se estende até o século 20 dC. [52] Muitos dos artefatos encontrados em Falaika estão ligados às civilizações mesopotâmicas e parecem mostrar que Failaka foi gradualmente atraído para a civilização baseada em Antioquia . [55]

Sob Nabucodonosor II , Failaka estava sob controle babilônico . [56] Documentos cuneiformes encontrados em Failaka indicam a presença de babilônios na população da ilha. [57] Os reis babilônios estavam presentes em Failaka durante o período do Império Neo-Babilônico , Nabonido tinha um governador em Failaka e Nabucodonosor II tinha um palácio e templo em Falaika. [58] [59] Failaka também continha templos dedicados à adoração de Shamash , o deus do sol da Mesopotâmia no panteão da Babilônia. [59]

No século 4 aC, os antigos gregos colonizaram a baía do Kuwait sob Alexandre, o Grande , os antigos gregos nomearam o continente Kuwait Larissa e Failaka foi nomeado Ikaros . [60] [61] [62] [63] De acordo com Estrabão e Arriano , Alexandre, o Grande, chamou Failaka Ikaros porque se assemelhava à ilha do Egeu com esse nome em tamanho e forma. Alguns elementos da mitologia grega foram misturados com os cultos locais em Failaka. [64] "Ikaros" também era o nome de uma cidade importante situada em Failaka. [65]Os vestígios da colonização grega incluem um grande forte helenístico e templos gregos . [66]

Em 127 aC, o reino de Characene foi estabelecido em torno de Teredon, no atual Kuwait. Characene foi centrado na região que abrange o sul da Mesopotâmia, [67] moedas Characene foram descobertas em Akkaz, Umm an Namil e Failaka. [68] [69] Uma movimentada estação comercial parta existia na ilha Failaka. [70] A primeira menção registrada do Kuwait foi em 150 DC no tratado geográfico de Geografia do estudioso grego Ptolomeu . [71] Ptolomeu mencionou a Baía do Kuwait como Hieros Kolpos ( Sacer Sinus nas versões latinas). [71]Em 224 DC, o Kuwait tornou-se parte do Império Sassânida . Na época do Império Sassânida, o Kuwait era conhecido como Meshan , [72] que era um nome alternativo para o reino de Characene. [73] [74] Akkaz era um local partho - sassânida ; a religião Sassanid 's torre de silêncio foi descoberto no norte da Akkaz. [75] [76] [44] [51] [77]

Além das colônias partho- sassânidas, Akkaz também continha colônias cristãs. [77] [78] [51] Os assentamentos Nestorianos Cristãos floresceram em Akkaz e Failaka do século V até o século IX. [79] [78] As escavações revelaram várias fazendas, vilas e duas grandes igrejas que datam do século 5 e 6. [79] Os arqueólogos estão atualmente escavando locais próximos para entender a extensão dos assentamentos que floresceram nos séculos VIII e IX DC [79] Uma antiga tradição da ilha é que uma comunidade cresceu em torno de um místico cristão e eremita. [79]As pequenas fazendas e aldeias foram abandonadas. [79] Restos de igrejas nestorianas da era bizantina foram encontrados em Al-Qusur em Failaka. A cerâmica no local pode ser datada desde a primeira metade do século 7 até o século 9. [80] [81]

Em 636 DC, a Batalha das Correntes entre o Império Sassanid e o Califado Rashidun foi travada no Kuwait perto da cidade de Kazma . [82] [83] Na época, o Kuwait estava sob o controle do Império Sassânida. A Batalha das Correntes foi a primeira batalha do Califado Rashidun na qual o exército muçulmano procurou estender suas fronteiras.

Como resultado da vitória de Rashidun em 636 DC, a baía do Kuwait foi o lar da cidade de Kazma (também conhecida como "Kadhima" ou "Kāzimah") no início da era islâmica. [83] [84] [85] [86] [87] [88] [89] As fontes árabes medievais contêm várias referências à baía do Kuwait no início do período islâmico. [88] [89] [90] A cidade funcionava como um porto comercial e local de descanso para os peregrinos em seu caminho do Iraque para Hejaz. A cidade era controlada pelo reino de Al-Hirah no Iraque. [88] [91] [92] No início do período islâmico, a baía do Kuwait era conhecida por ser uma área fértil.[83] [93] [94]

A cidade kuwaitiana de Kazma era uma parada para caravanas vindas da Pérsia e da Mesopotâmia a caminho da Península Arábica. O poeta Al-Farazdaq nasceu na cidade kuwaitiana de Kazma. [95] Al-Farazdaq é reconhecido como um dos maiores poetas clássicos dos árabes. [95]

1521–1918: Fundação

Presença portuguesa no Golfo Pérsico, do século XVI ao XVIII.

Em 1521, o Kuwait estava sob controle português . [96] No final do século 16, os portugueses construíram um assentamento defensivo no Kuwait. [97] Em 1613, a cidade do Kuwait foi fundada como uma vila de pescadores habitada predominantemente por pescadores. Administrativamente, era um xeque, governado por xeques locais do clã Bani Khalid . [98] Em 1682 ou 1716, os Bani Utbah se estabeleceram na cidade do Kuwait, que nessa época ainda era habitada por pescadores e funcionava principalmente como uma vila de pescadores sob o controle de Bani Khalid. [99] [100]Algum tempo depois da morte do líder do Bani Khalid, Barrak Bin Urair, e da queda do Emirado Bani Khalid, os Utub foram capazes de tomar o controle do Kuwait como resultado de sucessivas alianças matrimoniais . [100]

No início do século XVIII, o Kuwait prosperou como uma cidade portuária marítima e rapidamente se tornou o principal centro comercial para o trânsito de mercadorias entre Bagdá , Índia, Muscat e a Península Arábica . [101] [102] Em meados de 1700, o Kuwait havia se estabelecido como a principal rota comercial do Golfo Pérsico para Aleppo . [103] Durante o cerco persa de Basra em 1775-79 , os mercadores iraquianos se refugiaram no Kuwait e foram parcialmente essenciais na expansão das atividades comerciais e de construção de barcos do Kuwait. [104] Como resultado, o comércio marítimo do Kuwait cresceu, [104]como as rotas de comércio indiano com Bagdá, Aleppo, Smyrna e Constantinopla foram desviadas para o Kuwait durante este tempo. [103] [105] [106] A Companhia das Índias Orientais foi desviada para o Kuwait em 1792. [107] A Companhia das Índias Orientais garantiu as rotas marítimas entre Kuwait, Índia e a costa leste da África. [107] Depois que os persas se retiraram de Basra em 1779, o Kuwait continuou a atrair o comércio de Basra. [108] A fuga de muitos dos principais mercadores de Basra para o Kuwait continuou a desempenhar um papel significativo na estagnação comercial de Basra até a década de 1850. [108]

Museu marinho na cidade do Kuwait. Demonstra a fundação do Kuwait como um porto marítimo para mercadores.

A instabilidade em Basra ajudou a promover a prosperidade econômica no Kuwait. [109] [110] No final do século 18, o Kuwait era um refúgio para os mercadores de Basra que fugiam da perseguição otomana . [111] Kuwait era o centro da construção de barcos no Golfo Pérsico, [112] seus navios eram famosos em todo o Oceano Índico . [113] [114] Kuwaitis também desenvolveu uma reputação como os melhores marinheiros do Golfo Pérsico. [101] [115] [116] No século 19, o Kuwait tornou-se importante no comércio de cavalos , [117] com remessas regulares em navios à vela.[117] Em meados do século 19, estimou-se que o Kuwait exportou uma média de 800 cavalos para a Índia anualmente. [109]

Na década de 1890, ameaçado pelo Império Otomano, o governante Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah assinou um acordo com o governo britânico na Índia (posteriormente conhecido como Acordo Anglo-Kuwaitiano de 1899 ) tornando o Kuwait um protetorado britânico . Isso deu à Grã-Bretanha acesso exclusivo e comércio com o Kuwait, enquanto negava às províncias otomanas ao norte um porto no Golfo Pérsico. O Sheikhdom do Kuwait permaneceu um protetorado britânico até 1961. [98]

Durante o reinado de Mubarak , o Kuwait foi apelidado de " Marselha do Golfo Pérsico" porque sua vitalidade econômica atraía uma grande variedade de pessoas. [118] [119] A população era cosmopolita e etnicamente diversa, incluindo árabes, persas, africanos, judeus e armênios . O Kuwait era conhecido por sua tolerância religiosa . [120]

Nas primeiras décadas do século XX, o Kuwait tinha uma elite bem estabelecida: ricas famílias de comerciantes ligadas pelo casamento e interesses econômicos compartilhados, há muito estabelecidos e urbanos, a maioria alegando descendência das 30 famílias Bani Utubi originais. [121] Os mais ricos eram os mercadores que adquiriam suas riquezas do comércio de longa distância, construção de navios e pérolas. [121] Eles eram uma elite cosmopolita que viajou extensivamente para a Índia, África e Europa, e educou seus filhos no exterior mais do que outras elites árabes do Golfo. [121] Visitantes ocidentais notaram que a elite do Kuwait usava sistemas de escritório europeus, máquinas de escrever e seguia a cultura europeia com curiosidade. [121]Os mais ricos estavam envolvidos no comércio geral. [121] As famílias de comerciantes do Kuwait de Al-Ghanim e Al-Hamad foram estimadas em milhões antes dos anos 1940. [121]

No início do século 20, o Kuwait declinou imensamente em importância econômica regional, [114] principalmente devido a muitos bloqueios comerciais e à depressão econômica mundial. [122] Antes de Mary Bruins Allison visitar o Kuwait em 1934, o Kuwait perdeu sua proeminência no comércio de longa distância. [114] Durante a Primeira Guerra Mundial , o Império Britânico impôs um bloqueio comercial contra o Kuwait porque o governante do Kuwait na época, Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah , apoiava o Império Otomano . [122] [123] [124] O bloqueio econômico britânico danificou fortemente a economia do Kuwait. [124]

1919-1945: após a Primeira Guerra Mundial

Em 1919, o xeque Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah pretendia construir uma cidade comercial no sul do Kuwait. Isso causou uma crise diplomática com Najd, mas a Grã-Bretanha interveio, desencorajando o xeque Salim. Em 1920, uma tentativa dos Ikhwan de construir uma fortaleza no sul do Kuwait levou à Batalha de Hamdh . A Batalha de Hamdh envolveu 2.000 lutadores Ikhwan contra 100 cavaleiros e 200 soldados de infantaria kuwaitianos . A batalha durou seis dias e resultou em pesadas, mas desconhecidas baixas em ambos os lados, resultando na vitória das forças de Ikhwan e levando à batalha de Jahra em torno do Forte Vermelho do Kuwait. A Batalha de Jahra aconteceu como resultado doBatalha de Hamdh . Uma força de três a quatro mil Ikhwan , liderada por Faisal Al-Dawish , atacou o Forte Vermelho em Al-Jahra, defendido por mil e quinhentos homens. O forte foi sitiado e a posição do Kuwait precária; se o forte tivesse caído, o Kuwait provavelmente teria sido incorporado ao império de Ibn Saud. [125] O ataque de Ikhwan foi repelido por um tempo, as negociações começaram entre Salim e Al-Dawish; o último ameaçou outro ataque se as forças do Kuwait não se rendessem. A classe mercantil local convenceu Salim a pedir ajuda às tropas britânicas, que apareceram com aviões e três navios de guerra, encerrando os ataques. [125] Após a Batalha de Jahra, os guerreiros de Ibn Saud, os Ikhwan, exigiu que o Kuwait seguisse cinco regras: expulsar todos os xiitas , adotar a doutrina Ikhwan , rotular os turcos de " hereges ", abolir o fumo, munkar e prostituição e destruir o hospital missionário americano. [126]

A Guerra Kuwait – Najd de 1919–20 estourou no rescaldo da Primeira Guerra Mundial . A guerra ocorreu porque Ibn Saud de Najd queria anexar o Kuwait. [122] [127] O conflito agudo entre Kuwait e Najd levou à morte de centenas de kuwaitianos. A guerra resultou em confrontos de fronteira esporádicos ao longo de 1919–1920.

Quando Percy Cox foi informado dos confrontos de fronteira no Kuwait, ele enviou uma carta ao governante do Arabistão, Sheikh Khazʽal Ibn Jabir, oferecendo o trono do Kuwait a ele ou a um de seus herdeiros, sabendo que Khaz'al seria um governante mais sábio do que o Família Al Sabah. Khaz'al, que considerava Al Sabah como sua própria família, respondeu: "Você espera que eu permita a demissão de Al Mubarak do trono do Kuwait? Você acha que posso aceitar isso?" [128] Ele então perguntou:

... mesmo assim, você acha que veio até mim com algo novo? A posição de Al Mubarak como governante do Kuwait significa que eu sou o verdadeiro governante do Kuwait. Portanto, não há diferença entre eu e eles, pois eles são como os meus filhos mais queridos e você sabe disso. Se outra pessoa tivesse vindo até mim com esta oferta, eu teria reclamado disso para você. Então, como você veio a mim com esta oferta, quando você está bem ciente de que eu e Al Mubarak somos uma alma e uma casa, o que os afeta, me afeta, seja o bem ou o mal. [128]

Após a Guerra Kuwait-Najd em 1919-20, Ibn Saud impôs um bloqueio comercial contra o Kuwait de 1923 a 1937. [129] O objetivo dos ataques militares e econômicos sauditas ao Kuwait era anexar o máximo possível do território do Kuwait . Na conferência de Uqair em 1922, as fronteiras do Kuwait e Najd foram definidas; como resultado da interferência britânica, o Kuwait não tinha representante na conferência de Uqair . Após a conferência de Uqair, o Kuwait ainda estava sujeito a um bloqueio econômico saudita e a invasões sauditas intermitentes .

Comemoração no Palácio Seif em 1944

A Grande Depressão prejudicou a economia do Kuwait, começando no final dos anos 1920. [129] O comércio internacional era uma das principais fontes de renda do Kuwait antes do petróleo. [129] Os mercadores kuwaitianos eram, em sua maioria, mercadores intermediários. [129] Como resultado do declínio da demanda europeia por produtos da Índia e da África, a economia do Kuwait sofreu. O declínio no comércio internacional resultou em um aumento no contrabando de ouro por navios do Kuwait para a Índia. [129] Algumas famílias de comerciantes do Kuwait ficaram ricas com esse contrabando. [130] A indústria de pérolas do Kuwait também entrou em colapso como resultado da depressão econômica mundial. [130]No auge, a indústria de pérolas do Kuwait liderou o mercado de luxo mundial, enviando regularmente entre 750 e 800 navios para atender ao desejo da elite europeia por pérolas. [130] Durante a depressão econômica, luxos como pérolas tinham pouca demanda. [130] A invenção japonesa de pérolas cultivadas também contribuiu para o colapso da indústria de pérolas do Kuwait. [130]

Em 1937, Freya Stark escreveu sobre a extensão da pobreza no Kuwait na época: [129]

A pobreza se instalou no Kuwait com mais intensidade desde minha última visita, cinco anos atrás, tanto por mar, onde o comércio de pérolas continua em declínio, quanto por terra, onde o bloqueio estabelecido pela Arábia Saudita agora prejudica os mercadores.

As tentativas de Faisal, rei do Iraque, de construir uma ferrovia para o Kuwait e instalações portuárias no Golfo foram rejeitadas pela Grã-Bretanha. Essas e outras políticas coloniais britânicas semelhantes fizeram do Kuwait um foco do movimento nacional árabe no Iraque e um símbolo da humilhação iraquiana nas mãos dos britânicos. [131]

Ao longo da década de 1930, o povo do Kuwait se opôs à separação do Kuwait do Iraque imposta pelos britânicos. [131] Em 1938, o "Movimento Kuwaitiano Livre" foi estabelecido por jovens kuwaitianos que se opunham ao domínio britânico e apresentaram uma petição solicitando que o governo iraquiano reunisse o Kuwait e o Iraque. [131] [132] Devido aos temores de um levante armado no Kuwait, o Al Sabah concordou com o estabelecimento de um conselho legislativo para representar o "Movimento Kuwaitiano Livre" exigindo a reunificação do Iraque e do Kuwait. [131] A primeira reunião do conselho em 1938 resultou em resoluções unânimes exigindo a reunificação do Kuwait e do Iraque. [131]

Em março de 1939, um levante armado popular irrompeu dentro do Kuwait para se reunir com o Iraque. [131] A família Al Sabah, junto com o apoio militar britânico, reprimiu violentamente o levante e matou e prendeu seus participantes. [131] O rei Ghazi do Iraque exigiu publicamente a libertação dos prisioneiros do Kuwait e advertiu a família Al Sabah para acabar com a repressão do "Movimento Kuwaitiano Livre". [131] [132]

1946–1982: Era de Ouro do Kuwait

Selo postal com o retrato da Rainha Elizabeth II , 1957.

Entre 1946 e 1982, o Kuwait viveu um período de prosperidade impulsionado pelo petróleo e sua atmosfera liberal. [133] [134] [135] No discurso popular, os anos entre 1946 e 1982 são referidos como a "Era de Ouro do Kuwait". [133] [134] [135] [136] Em 1950, um grande programa de obras públicas começou a permitir que os kuwaitianos desfrutassem de um padrão de vida moderno. Em 1952, o país se tornou o maior exportador de petróleo da região do Golfo Pérsico. Este crescimento massivo atraiu muitos trabalhadores estrangeiros, especialmente da Palestina, Índia e Egito - sendo este último particularmente político no contexto da Guerra Fria Árabe . [137] Em junho de 1961, o Kuwait tornou-se independente com o fim doO protetorado britânico e o xeque Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah tornaram - se Emir do Kuwait . O dia nacional do Kuwait , no entanto, é celebrado em 25 de fevereiro, aniversário da coroação do xeque Abdullah (originalmente comemorado em 19 de junho, data da independência, mas as preocupações com o calor do verão levaram o governo a mudá-lo). [138] Sob os termos da Constituição recém-redigida , o Kuwait realizou suas primeiras eleições parlamentares em 1963 . O Kuwait foi o primeiro dos estados árabes do Golfo Pérsico a estabelecer uma constituição e um parlamento.

Nas décadas de 1960 e 1970, o Kuwait era considerado o país mais desenvolvido da região. [139] [140] [141] Kuwait foi o pioneiro no Oriente Médio em diversificar seus ganhos com as exportações de petróleo. [142] A Autoridade de Investimentos do Kuwait é o primeiro fundo de riqueza soberana do mundo. Da década de 1970 em diante, o Kuwait obteve a pontuação mais alta de todos os países árabes no Índice de Desenvolvimento Humano . [141] A Universidade do Kuwait foi fundada em 1966. [141] A indústria do teatro do Kuwait era bem conhecida em todo o mundo árabe. [133] [141]

Nas décadas de 1960 e 1970, a imprensa do Kuwait foi descrita como uma das mais livres do mundo . [143] Kuwait foi o pioneiro no renascimento literário na região árabe. [144] Em 1958, a revista Al-Arabi foi publicada pela primeira vez. A revista se tornou a revista mais popular do mundo árabe. [144] Muitos escritores árabes mudaram-se para o Kuwait porque gozavam de maior liberdade de expressão do que em qualquer outra parte do mundo árabe. [145] [146] O poeta iraquiano Ahmed Matar deixou o Iraque na década de 1970 para se refugiar no ambiente mais liberal do Kuwait.

A sociedade kuwaitiana adotou atitudes liberais e não tradicionais nas décadas de 1960 e 1970. [147] Por exemplo, a maioria das mulheres do Kuwait não usava o hijab nas décadas de 1960 e 70. [148] [149]

1982-2015: Instabilidade, Guerra do Golfo e terrorismo

No início da década de 1980, o Kuwait passou por uma grande crise econômica após a quebra do mercado de ações Souk Al-Manakh e a queda no preço do petróleo . [150] [151] [152] [153]

Durante a Guerra Irã-Iraque , o Kuwait apoiou o Iraque. Ao longo da década de 1980, ocorreram vários ataques terroristas no Kuwait, incluindo os atentados de 1983 no Kuwait , o sequestro de vários aviões da Kuwait Airways e a tentativa de assassinato do Emir Jaber em 1985. O Kuwait foi um centro regional de ciência e tecnologia nas décadas de 1960 e 1970 até o início dos anos 1980; o setor de pesquisa científica sofreu significativamente com os ataques terroristas. [154]

Incêndios de petróleo no Kuwait causados pela retirada das forças iraquianas em 1991.

Após o fim da Guerra Irã-Iraque, o Kuwait recusou o pedido do Iraque de perdão de sua dívida de US $ 65 bilhões. [155] Uma rivalidade econômica entre os dois países ocorreu depois que o Kuwait aumentou sua produção de petróleo em 40 por cento. [156] As tensões entre os dois países aumentaram ainda mais em julho de 1990, depois que o Iraque se queixou à OPEP alegando que o Kuwait estava roubando seu petróleo de um campo perto da fronteira por perfuração oblíqua do campo Rumaila . [156]

Em agosto de 1990, as forças iraquianas invadiram e anexaram o Kuwait. Após uma série de negociações diplomáticas fracassadas, os Estados Unidos lideraram uma coalizão para remover as forças iraquianas do Kuwait, no que ficou conhecido como Guerra do Golfo . Em 26 de fevereiro de 1991, a coalizão conseguiu expulsar as forças iraquianas. Enquanto recuavam, as forças iraquianas executaram uma política de terra arrasada , incendiando poços de petróleo. [157] Durante a ocupação iraquiana, mais de 1.000 civis kuwaitianos foram mortos. Além disso, mais de 600 kuwaitianos desapareceram durante a ocupação do Iraque; [158] restos mortais de aproximadamente 375 foram encontrados em valas comuns no Iraque.

No início da década de 1990, o Kuwait expulsou aproximadamente 400.000 expatriados palestinos. [159] A política do Kuwait foi uma resposta ao alinhamento do líder palestino Yasser Arafat e da OLP com Saddam Hussein. O Kuwait também deportou milhares de iraquianos e iemenitas após a Guerra do Golfo. [160] [161]

Além disso, centenas de milhares de bedoon apátridas foram expulsos do Kuwait no início a meados da década de 1990. [162] [163] [160] [20] [161] Na Câmara dos Comuns do Reino Unido em 1995, foi anunciado que a família governante Al Sabah deportou 150.000 bedoon apátridas para campos de refugiados no deserto do Kuwait perto do Iraque fronteira com o mínimo de água, comida insuficiente e nenhum abrigo básico. [164] [163] As autoridades do Kuwait também ameaçaram assassinar o apátrida Bedoon. [164] [163] Como resultado, muitos dos apátridas Bedoon fugiram para o Iraque, onde ainda hoje permanecem apátridas. [165] [166]

Na época, a Human Rights Watch relatou o seguinte: [164]

"A totalidade do tratamento dado aos Bedoons equivale a uma política de desnacionalização dos residentes nativos, relegando-os a uma existência semelhante ao apartheid em seu próprio país. A política do governo do Kuwait de assédio e intimidação aos Bedoons e de negar-lhes o direito de residência legal, emprego, viagens e movimento, violam os princípios básicos dos direitos humanos... A negação da cidadania aos Bedoons claramente viola o direito internacional... " [164]

Em março de 2003, o Kuwait se tornou o trampolim para a invasão do Iraque liderada pelos Estados Unidos . Em 2005, as mulheres conquistaram o direito de votar e concorrer nas eleições. Após a morte do Emir Jaber em janeiro de 2006, o xeque Saad Al-Sabah o sucedeu, mas foi removido nove dias depois devido a sua saúde debilitada. Como resultado, o xeque Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah foi empossado como Emir. De 2006 em diante, o Kuwait sofreu um impasse político crônico entre o governo e o parlamento, o que resultou em várias remodelações e dissoluções do gabinete. [167] Isso prejudicou significativamente o investimento e as reformas econômicas no Kuwait, tornando a economia do país muito mais dependente do petróleo. [167]

De 2006 a 2009, o Kuwait teve a maior classificação no Índice de Desenvolvimento Humano do mundo árabe. [168] [169] [170] [171] O plano de desenvolvimento nacional do país, conhecido como Kuwait Vision 2035 , foi originalmente lançado em março de 2010, mas foi abandonado no final de 2011. [172] [173] [174] [ 175] A China concedeu à Autoridade de Investimentos do Kuwait uma cota adicional de $ 700 milhões em cima dos $ 300 milhões concedidos em março de 2012. [176] A cota é a mais alta a ser concedida pela China a entidades de investimento estrangeiro. [176] Em 2014 e 2015, o Kuwait foi classificado em primeiro lugar entre os países árabes no Global Gender Gap Report. [177] [178] [179]

Em março de 2014, David S. Cohen , então subsecretário do Tesouro para Terrorismo e Inteligência Financeira , acusou o Kuwait de financiar o terrorismo. [180] Desde o fim da Guerra do Golfo em 1991, as acusações de financiamento do terrorismo pelo Kuwait têm sido muito comuns e vêm de uma ampla variedade de fontes, incluindo relatórios de inteligência, funcionários do governo ocidental, pesquisas acadêmicas e jornalistas renomados. [181] [182] [183] [184] [185] [186] [187] [188] [189] [180] De 2014 a 2015, o Kuwait foi frequentemente descrito como a maior fonte mundial de financiamento do terrorismo , especialmente paraISIS e Al-Qaeda . [181] [182] [183] [189] [180] [187] [184] [185] Em 26 de junho de 2015, um atentado suicida ocorreu em uma mesquita muçulmana xiita no Kuwait. O Estado Islâmico do Iraque e do Levante assumiu a responsabilidade pelo ataque. Vinte e sete pessoas foram mortas e 227 pessoas ficaram feridas. Na sequência, uma ação foi movida acusando o governo do Kuwait de negligência e responsabilidade direta pelo ataque terrorista. [190] [191]

2016 – presente: crise econômica, COVID-19

Devido à queda dos preços do petróleo e à crise do coronavírus, o Kuwait tem enfrentado uma das piores crises econômicas de toda a região. [192] Historicamente, o mercado de projetos de infraestrutura do Kuwait tem tido um desempenho inferior ao seu potencial devido ao impasse político entre o governo e o parlamento. [193] [167] A cidade marítima de Sabah Al Ahmad foi inaugurada em meados de 2016. [194] [195] [196] [197] [198]

Nos últimos anos, o Kuwait investiu significativamente em suas relações econômicas com a China . [199] A China tem sido o maior parceiro comercial do Kuwait desde 2016. [200] [201] [202] [203] [204] Under the Belt and Road Initiative , Kuwait e China têm vários projetos de cooperação, incluindo Al Mutlaa City, que está atualmente sob construção no norte do Kuwait. [30] [31] [32] [205] [206] O Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway faz parte da primeira fase do projeto Silk City . [28]A ponte foi inaugurada em maio de 2019 como parte da Kuwait Vision 2035, [207] [208] que conecta a cidade do Kuwait ao norte do Kuwait. [207] [28] O Distrito Cultural Nacional do Kuwait compreende o Centro Cultural Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem , o Centro Cultural Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad , o Parque Al Shaheed e o Palácio Al Salam . [209] [210] [211] Em 2020, as viagens domésticas do Kuwait e os gastos com turismo foram de US $ 6,1 bilhões. [212]

A pandemia COVID-19 exacerbou a crise econômica do Kuwait. [213] A economia do Kuwait enfrentou um déficit orçamentário de $ 46 bilhões em 2020. [214] [215] [167] Em setembro de 2020, o príncipe herdeiro Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah do Kuwait tornou - se o 16º Emir do Kuwait e o sucessor do emir xeque Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, que morreu com 91 anos de idade. [216] Em outubro de 2020, o xeque Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah foi nomeado príncipe herdeiro. [217] Desde janeiro de 2021, o Kuwait vive sua pior crise política em muitas décadas. [218] [219] Kuwait foi rebaixado porA S&P Global Ratings duas vezes em menos de dois anos devido à queda nas receitas do petróleo e ao atraso nas reformas fiscais. [220] [221] O Kuwait está enfrentando uma crise de dívida iminente de acordo com várias fontes da mídia. [222] [223] [214] [167]

Geografia

Linha do horizonte da cidade do Kuwait , capital e maior cidade do Kuwait.
Uma imagem de satélite do Kuwait revela a topografia do deserto.
O Kuwait compartilha fronteiras terrestres com o Iraque e a Arábia Saudita e fronteiras marítimas com o Iraque, Arábia Saudita e Irã.

Localizado no canto nordeste da Península Arábica , o Kuwait é um dos menores países do mundo em termos de extensão territorial. Mentiras Kuwait entre latitudes 28 ° e 31 ° N , e longitudes 46 ° e 49 ° E . O Kuwait é geralmente de baixa altitude, com o ponto mais alto sendo 306 m (1.004 pés) acima do nível do mar . [3]

O Kuwait tem dez ilhas . [224] Com uma área de 860 km 2 (330 sq mi), o Bubiyan é a maior ilha do Kuwait e está conectada ao resto do país por uma ponte de 2.380 metros de comprimento (7.808 pés). [225] 0,6% da área de terra do Kuwait é considerada arável [3] com vegetação esparsa encontrada ao longo de sua costa de 499 quilômetros de comprimento (310 milhas). [3] A cidade do Kuwait está localizada na Baía do Kuwait , um porto natural de águas profundas.

O campo Burgan do Kuwait tem uma capacidade total de aproximadamente 70 bilhões de barris (11 bilhões de metros cúbicos) de reservas comprovadas de petróleo. Durante os incêndios de petróleo no Kuwait de 1991 , mais de 500 lagos de petróleo foram criados cobrindo uma área de superfície combinada de cerca de 35,7 km 2 ( 13+34  sq mi). [226] A contaminação do solo resultante devido ao acúmulo de óleo e fuligem tornou as partes leste e sudeste do Kuwait inabitáveis. Os resíduos de areia e óleo reduziram grandes partes do deserto do Kuwait a superfícies de semi-asfalto. [227] Os derramamentos de óleo durante a Guerra do Golfo também afetaram drasticamente os recursos marinhos do Kuwait. [228]

Clima

Devido à proximidade do Kuwait com o Iraque e o Irã, a temporada de inverno no Kuwait é mais fria do que em outros países costeiros da Península Arábica (especialmente Emirados Árabes Unidos, Qatar e Bahrein). O Kuwait também é menos úmido do que outras regiões costeiras da Península Arábica. A temporada de primavera em março é quente com tempestades ocasionais. Os ventos frequentes do noroeste são frios no inverno e quentes no verão. Os ventos úmidos do sudeste surgem entre julho e outubro. Os ventos quentes e secos do sul prevalecem na primavera e no início do verão. O shamal, um vento noroeste comum durante junho e julho, causa tempestades de areia dramáticas. [229] Os verões no Kuwait são alguns dos mais quentes do planeta. A temperatura mais alta registrada foi de 54 ° C (129 ° F) em Mitribah em 21 de julho de 2016, que é a temperatura mais alta registrada na Ásia.[230] [231]

O Kuwait emite muito dióxido de carbono por pessoa em comparação com a maioria dos outros países. [232] Em 2014, o Kuwait foi o quarto maior país do mundo em termos de emissões de CO 2 per capita, depois do Catar , Curaçao e Trinidad e Tobago, de acordo com o Banco Mundial. [233]

O acesso à biocapacidade no Kuwait é inferior à média mundial. Em 2016, o Kuwait tinha 0,59 hectares globais [234] de biocapacidade por pessoa em seu território, muito menos do que a média mundial de 1,6 hectares globais por pessoa. [235] Em 2016, o Kuwait usou 8,6 hectares globais de biocapacidade por pessoa - sua pegada ecológica de consumo. Isso significa que eles usam cerca de 14,5 vezes mais biocapacidade do que o Kuwait contém. Como resultado, o Kuwait tem um déficit de biocapacidade. [234]

parques nacionais

Atualmente, existem cinco áreas protegidas no Kuwait reconhecidas pela IUCN . Em resposta ao Kuwait se tornar o 169º signatário da Convenção de Ramsar , a reserva Mubarak al-Kabeer da Ilha Bubiyan foi designada como a primeira área úmida de importância internacional do país. [236] A reserva de 50.948 ha consiste em pequenas lagoas e pântanos salgados rasos e é importante como uma parada para aves migratórias em duas rotas de migração. [236] A reserva abriga a maior colônia de reprodução de tarambola-caranguejo do mundo . [236]

Biodiversidade

Atualmente, 442 espécies de aves foram registradas no Kuwait, das quais 18 se reproduzem no país. [237] O Kuwait está situado no cruzamento de várias das principais rotas de migração de pássaros e entre dois e três milhões de pássaros passam a cada ano. [238] Os pântanos no norte do Kuwait e Jahra tornaram-se cada vez mais importantes como refúgio para migrantes de passagem. [238] As ilhas do Kuwait são importantes áreas de reprodução para quatro espécies de andorinha- do- mar e cormorão socotra . [238]

Os ecossistemas marinhos e litorâneos do Kuwait contêm a maior parte do patrimônio de biodiversidade do país. [238] Vinte e oito espécies de mamíferos são encontradas no Kuwait; animais como gerboa, coelhos do deserto e ouriços são comuns no deserto. [238] Carnívoros grandes, como o lobo , o caracal e o chacal , não são encontrados. [238] Entre as espécies de mamíferos ameaçadas de extinção estão a raposa vermelha e o gato selvagem . [238] As causas da extinção da vida selvagem são a destruição do habitat e a extensa caça não regulamentada. [238] Quarenta espécies de répteis foram registradas, embora nenhuma seja endêmica do Kuwait.[238]

Água e saneamento

O Kuwait faz parte da bacia do sistema dos rios Tigre-Eufrates . [239] [240] [241] [242] [243] Várias confluências Tigre-Eufrates fazem parte da fronteira Kuwait-Iraque. [244] O Kuwait não possui atualmente nenhum rio permanente em seu território. No entanto, o Kuwait tem vários wadis , o mais notável dos quais é Wadi Al-Batin, que forma a fronteira entre o Kuwait e o Iraque. [245] O Kuwait também tem vários canais marinhos semelhantes a rios ao redor da Ilha Bubiyan , mais notavelmente Khawr Abd Allah, que agora é um estuário, mas uma vez foi o ponto onde o Shatt al-Arab desaguou no Golfo Pérsico. Khawr Abd Allah está localizado no sul do Iraque e norte do Kuwait, a fronteira Iraque-Kuwait divide a parte inferior do estuário, mas adjacente ao porto de Umm Qasr o estuário se torna totalmente iraquiano. Forma a costa nordeste da Ilha Bubiyan e a costa norte da Ilha Warbah . [246]

O Kuwait depende da dessalinização da água como fonte primária de água doce para consumo e uso doméstico. [247] [248] Existem atualmente mais de seis usinas de dessalinização. [248] O Kuwait foi o primeiro país do mundo a usar a dessalinização para fornecer água para uso doméstico em grande escala. A história da dessalinização no Kuwait remonta a 1951, quando a primeira planta de destilação foi comissionada. [247]

Em 1965, o governo do Kuwait contratou a empresa de engenharia sueca VBB ( Sweco ) para desenvolver e implementar um plano para um sistema moderno de abastecimento de água para a cidade do Kuwait. A empresa construiu cinco grupos de torres de água , trinta e uma torres no total, projetadas por seu arquiteto-chefe Sune Lindström , chamadas de "torres em cogumelo". Para um sexto local, o Emir do Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed , queria um design mais espetacular. Este último grupo, conhecido como Kuwait Towers , consiste em três torres, duas das quais também servem como torres de água. [249]A água da instalação de dessalinização é bombeada para a torre. As trinta e três torres têm capacidade padrão de 102.000 metros cúbicos de água. "The Water Towers" (Kuwait Tower e Kuwait Water Towers) foram agraciados com o Prêmio Aga Khan de Arquitetura (Ciclo de 1980). [250]

Os recursos de água doce do Kuwait são limitados às águas subterrâneas, água do mar dessalinizada e efluentes de águas residuais tratadas. [247] Existem três grandes estações de tratamento de águas residuais municipais. [247] A maior parte da demanda de água é atendida atualmente por meio de usinas de dessalinização de água do mar. [247] [248] O descarte de esgoto é feito por uma rede nacional de esgoto que cobre 98% das instalações do país. [251]

Governo

Sistema político

O Kuwait é um emirado com um sistema político de monarquia constitucional , [252] que às vezes é descrito como " semidemocrático ". [253] O emir é o chefe de estado. O sistema político consiste em um judiciário nomeado , um governo nomeado (dominado pela família governante Al Sabah ) e um parlamento eleito . A Constituição do Kuwait foi promulgada em 1962. [254] O Emir suspendeu inconstitucionalmente o parlamento duas vezes: em 1976 sob o xeque Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah e em 1986 sob o xeque Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah. [255] Os partidos políticos são ilegais no Kuwait.

A série de dados Polity [258] e Economist Democracy Index [259] categorizam o Kuwait como uma autocracia ( ditadura ). A Freedom House classifica o país como "Parcialmente Livre" na pesquisa Freedom in the World . [260] O Kuwait é regularmente caracterizado como um " estado rentista " no qual a família governante usa as receitas do petróleo para comprar a aquiescência política dos cidadãos; mais de 70% dos gastos do governo consistem em salários e subsídios do setor público. [261] O Kuwait tem a maior massa salarial do setor público na região do GCC, uma vez que os salários do setor público representam 12,4% do PIB.[214]

O Palácio Seif , a sede original do Governo do Kuwait.

Embora as mulheres do Kuwait superem os homens na força de trabalho, [262] a participação política das mulheres do Kuwait tem sido limitada. [263] As mulheres do Kuwait são consideradas entre as mulheres mais emancipadas do Oriente Médio. Em 2014 e 2015, o Kuwait foi classificado em primeiro lugar entre os países árabes no Global Gender Gap Report . [177] [178] [179] Em 2013, 53% das mulheres do Kuwait participavam da força de trabalho. [264] O Kuwait tem maior participação de cidadãs femininas na força de trabalho do que outros países do CCG. [262] [264] [265] De acordo com o Índice de Progresso Social , o Kuwait ocupa o primeiro lugar em progresso socialno mundo árabe e no mundo muçulmano e a segunda maior no Oriente Médio depois de Israel. [266] Kuwait está entre os países mais importantes do mundo árabe por expectativa de vida , [267] a participação da força de trabalho das mulheres , [262] [264] a segurança alimentar mundial , [268] e ordem e segurança escolar . [269]

O poder executivo é executado pelo governo. O Emir nomeia o primeiro-ministro, que por sua vez escolhe o gabinete de ministros composto pelo governo. Nas últimas décadas, numerosas políticas do governo do Kuwait foram caracterizadas como " engenharia demográfica ", especialmente em relação à crise dos bedoon sem Estado do Kuwait e à história de naturalização no Kuwait.

O Emir nomeia todos os juízes e muitos juízes são estrangeiros do Egito . O Tribunal Constitucional está encarregado de decidir sobre a conformidade das leis e decretos com a constituição. O Kuwait tem uma esfera pública ativa e uma sociedade civil com organizações políticas e sociais que são partidos em tudo, menos no nome. [270] [271] Grupos profissionais como a Câmara de Comércio mantêm sua autonomia do governo. [270] [271]

The legislative branch consists of the National Assembly, which has nominal oversight authority. As per article 107 of the Kuwait constitution, the Emir can dissolve the parliament so long as an election for a new assembly are held within two months of the dissolution.[272] Kuwait's lack of political stability has impacted the country's economic development and infrastructure.[273][167][221]

Ruling family

Article 4 of the Kuwait constitution stipulates that Kuwait is a hereditary emirate whose emir must be an heir of Mubarak Al-Sabah.[272] Mubarak had four sons, but an informal pattern of alternation between the descendants of his sons Jabir and Salem emerged since his death in 1915.[274] This pattern of succession had one exception before 2006, when Sheikh Sabah Al-Salim, a son of Salem, was named crown prince to succeed his half-brother Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem as a consequence of infighting and lack of consensus within the ruling family council.[274] The alternating system was resumed when Sheikh Sabah Al-Salim named Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed of the Jabir branch as his crown prince, eventually ruling as Emir for 29 years from 1977 to 2006.[274] On January 15 2006, Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed died and his crown prince, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah of the Salem branch was named Emir.[275] On January 23 2006, the National Assembly unanimously voted in favor of Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah abdicating in favor of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed, citing his illness with a form of dementia.[274] Instead of naming a successor from the Salem branch as per convention, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed named his half-brother Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed as crown prince and his nephew Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed as prime minister.[274]

The role of the National Assembly

Article 4 of the Kuwait constitution stipulates that the incoming Emir's choice of crown prince needs to be approved by an absolute majority of the National Assembly.[272] If this approval is not achieved, the emir is required to submit three alternative candidates for crown prince to the National Assembly which will select one of them.[272] This process has caused contenders for power to engage in alliance-building in the National Assembly, which has taken historically private feuding within the ruling family to the "public arena and the political realm."[274]

Succession rivalry and public feuds

Kuwaiti political scientist Mohammed Alwuhaib has argued that "members of the Al Sabah [have] interfered in and manipulated political and economic factions as a tool to weaken each other, with allegations of corruption a particularly common tactic."[276][274]

'Fake' coup video

In August 2011, supporters of Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah "discovered" documents that incriminated up to one-third of Kuwaiti politicians in what quickly became the largest political corruption scandal in Kuwaiti history.[277] By October 2011, 16 Kuwaiti politicians were alleged to have received payments of $350m in return for their support of government policy.[278]

In December 2013, allies of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad claimed to possess tapes purportedly showing that Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah and Jassem Al-Kharafi were discussing plans to topple the Kuwaiti government.[279][278] Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad appeared on local channel Al-Watan TV describing his claims.[280]

In April 2014 the Kuwaiti government imposed a total media blackout to ban any reporting or discussion on the issue.[281] In March 2015, Kuwait's public prosecutor dropped all investigations into the alleged coup plot and Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad read a public apology on Kuwait state television renouncing the coup allegations.[282] Since then, "numerous associates of his have been targeted and detained by the Kuwaiti authorities on various charges,"[278] most notably members of the so-called "Fintas Group" that had allegedly been the original circulators of the fake coup video.[278][283]

In December 2015, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad was convicted of "disrespect to the public prosecutor and attributing a remark to the country’s ruler without a special permission from the emir’s court," issuing a suspended six-month prison sentence and a fine of 1,000 Kuwaiti Dinar. In January 2016, the Kuwaiti appeals court overturned the prior ruling and cleared Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad of all charges.[284]

In November 2018, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad, along with four other defendants, were charged in Switzerland with forgery related to the fake coup video.[285] Shortly thereafter, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad temporarily stepped aside from his role at the International Olympic Committee, pending an ethics committee hearing into the allegations.[286][287] In August 2021, Sheikh Ahmed attended court alongside three of the other four defendants.[288][289] In September 2021, Sheikh Ahmed was convicted of forgery along with the four other defendants.[290][291] He denied wrongdoing and plans to appeal.[291]

'Army Fund' scandal

In November 2019, former deputy prime minister and minister of interior Sheikh Khaled Al Jarrah Al Sabah was dismissed from office after minister of defense Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah filed a complaint with the Kuwaiti Attorney General alleging embezzlement of 240 million Kuwaiti dinars ($794.5 million) of Kuwait government funds had taken place during Khaled's tenure as minister of defense.[292] In July 2020, the US Department of Justice filed an asset forfeiture claim against The Mountain Beverly Hills and other real property in the United States, alleging a group of three Kuwaiti officials, including Sheikh Khaled Al Jarrah, set up unauthorized accounts in the name of the country's Military Attache Office in London, known as the 'Army Fund.' They allegedly funded the accounts with over $100m of Kuwaiti public money and used it for their own purposes.[293] In March 2021, the Kuwaiti ministerial court ordered the detention of Khaled Al Jarrah, who was arrested and imprisoned.[294]

On April 13 2021, a Kuwaiti court ordered the detention of former prime minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on corruption charges related to the 'Army Fund.'[295] He is the first former Kuwaiti prime minister to face pre-trial detention over graft charges.[296] The crimes allegedly took place during Jaber Al-Sabah's 2001–11 term as defense minister.[295]

Foreign relations

Location of diplomatic missions of Kuwait:
  Kuwait
  Embassy

The foreign affairs of Kuwait are handled at the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The first foreign affairs department bureau was established in 1961. Kuwait became the 111th member state of the United Nations in May 1963. It is a long-standing member of the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council.

Before the Gulf War, Kuwait was the only "pro-Soviet" state in the Persian Gulf region.[297] Kuwait acted as a conduit for the Soviets to the other Arab states of the Persian Gulf, and Kuwait was used to demonstrate the benefits of a pro-Soviet stance.[297] In July 1987, Kuwait refused to allow U.S. military bases in its territory.[298] As a result of the Gulf War, Kuwait's relations with the U.S. have improved (major non-NATO ally) and it currently hosts thousands of US military personnel and contractors within active U.S. facilities. Kuwait is also a major ally of ASEAN and enjoys a close relationship with China while working to establish a model of cooperation in numerous fields.[299][300] According to Kuwaiti officials, Kuwait is the largest Arab investor in Germany, particularly with regard to the Mercedes-Benz company.[301]

Military

The Military of Kuwait traces its original roots to the Kuwaiti cavalrymen and infantrymen that used to protect Kuwait and its wall since the early 1900s. These cavalrymen and infantrymen formed the defense and security forces in metropolitan areas and were charged with protecting outposts outside the wall of Kuwait.

The Military of Kuwait consists of several joint defense forces. The governing bodies are the Kuwait Ministry of Defense, the Kuwait Ministry of Interior, the Kuwait National Guard, and the Kuwait Fire Service Directorate. The Emir of Kuwait is the commander-in-chief of all defense forces by default.

Legal system

Kuwait follows the "civil law system" modeled after the French legal system,[302][303][304] Kuwait's legal system is largely secular.[305][306][307][308] Sharia law governs only family law for Muslim residents,[306][309] while non-Muslims in Kuwait have a secular family law. For the application of family law, there are three separate court sections: Sunni (Maliki), Shia, and non-Muslim. According to the United Nations, Kuwait's legal system is a mix of English common law, French civil law, Egyptian civil law and Islamic law.[310]

The court system in Kuwait is secular.[311][312] Unlike other Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Kuwait does not have Sharia courts.[312] Sections of the civil court system administer family law.[312] Kuwait has the most secular commercial law in the Persian Gulf region.[313] The parliament criminalized alcohol consumption in 1983.[314] Kuwait's Code of Personal Status was promulgated in 1984.[315]

Administrative divisions

Kuwait is divided into six governorates: Al Asimah Governorate (or Capital Governorate); Hawalli Governorate; Farwaniya Governorate; Mubarak Al-Kabeer Governorate; Ahmadi Governorate; and Jahra Governorate. The governorates are further subdivided into areas.

Human rights and corruption

Human rights in Kuwait has been the subject of significant criticism, particularly regarding the Bedoon (stateless people).[20][162][316][160] The Kuwaiti government's handling of the stateless Bedoon crisis has come under significant criticism from many human rights organisations and even the United Nations.[317] According to Human Rights Watch in 1995, Kuwait has produced 300,000 stateless Bedoon.[21] Kuwait has the largest number of stateless people in the entire region.[162][318] Since 1986, the Kuwaiti government has refused to grant any form of documentation to the Bedoon including birth certificates, death certificates, identity cards, marriage certificates, and driving licences.[318][319] The Kuwaiti Bedoon crisis resembles the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar (Burma).[320] According to several human rights organizations, Kuwait is committing ethnic cleansing and genocide against the stateless Bedoon.[20][162][318]

On the other hand, human rights organizations have criticized Kuwait for the human rights abuses toward foreign nationals. Foreign nationals account for 70% of Kuwait's total population. The kafala system leaves foreign nationals prone to exploitation. Administrative deportation is very common in Kuwait for minor offenses, including minor traffic violations. Kuwait is one of the world's worst offenders in human trafficking. Hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals are subjected to numerous human rights abuses including involuntary servitude. They are subjected to physical and sexual abuse, non-payment of wages, poor work conditions, threats, confinement to the home, and withholding of passports to restrict their freedom of movement.[321][322] Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic vaccination rollout, Kuwait has been regularly accused of implementing an xenophobic vaccine policy toward foreign nationals.[323]

Various Kuwaitis have been jailed after they criticized the Al Sabah ruling family.[324] In 2010, the U.S. State Department said it had concerns about the case of Kuwaiti blogger and journalist Mohammad Abdul-Kader al-Jassem who was on trial for allegedly criticizing the ruling al-Sabah family, and faced up to 18 years in prison if convicted.[325] He was detained after a complaint against him was issued by the office of Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.[325]

Extensive corruption among Kuwait's high-level government officials is a serious problem resulting in political tensions between the government and the public.[326] In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2007, Kuwait was ranked 60th out of 179 countries for corruption (least corrupt countries are at the top of the list). On a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 the most corrupt and 10 the most transparent, Transparency International rated Kuwait 4.3.[327]

In 2009, 20% of the youth in juvenile centres had dyslexia, as compared to the 6% of the general population.[328] Data from a 1993 study found that there is a higher rate of psychiatric morbidity in Kuwaiti prisons than in the general population.[329]

Economy

Al Hamra Tower is the tallest sculpted tower in the world.
A proportional representation of Kuwait exports, 2019

Kuwait has a wealthy petroleum-based economy.[330] Kuwait is one of the richest countries in the world.[16][331][332][333] The Kuwaiti dinar is the highest-valued unit of currency in the world.[15] According to the World Bank, Kuwait is the fifth richest country in the world by gross national income per capita, and one of five nations with a GNI per capita above $70,000.[16] As a result of various diversification policies, petroleum now accounts for 43% of total GDP and 70% of export earnings.[203] The biggest non-oil industry is steel manufacturing.[334][335][336][337][338]

In the past five years, there has been a significant rise in entrepreneurship and small business start-ups in Kuwait.[339][340] The informal sector is also on the rise,[341] mainly due to the popularity of Instagram businesses.[342][343][344] In 2020, Kuwait ranked fourth in the MENA region in startup funding after the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.[345]

In 2019, Kuwait's main export products were mineral fuels including oil (89.1% of total exports), aircraft and spacecraft (4.3%), organic chemicals (3.2%), plastics (1.2%), iron and steel (0.2%), gems and precious metals (0.1%), machinery including computers (0.1%), aluminum (0.1%), copper (0.1%), and salt, sulphur, stone and cement (0.1%).[346] Kuwait was the world's biggest exporter of sulfonated, nitrated and nitrosated hydrocarbons in 2019.[347] Kuwait was ranked 63rd out of 157 countries in the 2019 Economic Complexity Index (ECI).[347]

Kuwait is widely considered the region's most oil-dependent country with the least amount of economic diversification.[167][221] According to the World Economic Forum, Kuwait is the least economically developed Gulf country.[348] Kuwait has the weakest infrastructure in the entire GCC region.[348][167]

In recent years, Kuwait has enacted certain measures to regulate foreign labor due to security concerns. For instance, workers from Georgia are subject to heightened scrutiny when applying for entry visas, and an outright ban was imposed on the entry of domestic workers from Guinea-Bissau and Vietnam.[349] Workers from Bangladesh are also banned.[350] In April 2019, Kuwait added Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Bhutan, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the list of banned countries bringing the total to 20. According to Migrant Rights, the bans are put in place mainly due to the fact that these countries lack embassies and labour corporations in Kuwait.[351]

Petroleum and natural gas

Despite its relatively small territory, Kuwait has proven crude oil reserves of 104 billion barrels, estimated to be 10% of the world's reserves. Kuwait also has substantial natural gas reserves. All natural resources in the country are state property.

As part of Kuwait Vision 2035, Kuwait aims to position itself as a global hub for the petrochemical industry.[352] Al Zour Refinery is the largest refinery in the Middle East.[353][354][355] It is Kuwait's largest environmental friendly oil refinery.[356][352] Al Zour Refinery is a Kuwait-China cooperation project under the Belt and Road Initiative.[357] Al Zour LNG Terminal is the Middle East's largest import terminal for liquefied natural gas.[358][359][360] It is the world's largest capacity LNG storage and regasification green field project.[361][362] The project has attracted investments worth US$3 billion.[363][364] Other megaprojects include biofuel and clean fuels.[365][366]

Steel manufacturing

Steel manufacturing is Kuwait's second biggest industry.[335] United Steel Industrial Company (KWT Steel) is Kuwait's main steel manufacturing company, the company caters to all of Kuwait's domestic market demands (particularly construction).[336][334][337][338] Kuwait is self-sufficient in steel.[336][334][337][338]

Agriculture

In 2016, Kuwait's food self-sufficiency ratio was 49.5% in vegetables, 38.7% in meat, 12.4% in diary, 24.9% in fruits, and 0.4% in cereals.[367] 8.5% of Kuwait's entire territory consists of agricultural land, although arable land constitutes 0.6% of Kuwait's entire territory.[368][369] Historically, Jahra was a predominantly agricultural area. There are currently various farms in Jahra.[370]

Finance

The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) is Kuwait's largest sovereign wealth fund specializing in foreign investment. The KIA is the world's oldest sovereign wealth fund. Since 1953, the Kuwaiti government has directed investments into Europe, United States and Asia Pacific. In 2021, the holdings were valued at around $700 billion in assets.[371][372] It is the 3rd largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.[371][372]

Kuwait has a leading position in the financial industry in the GCC.[373] The Emir has promoted the idea that Kuwait should focus its energies, in terms of economic development, on the financial industry.[373] The historical preeminence of Kuwait (among the GCC monarchies) in finance dates back to the founding of the National Bank of Kuwait in 1952.[373] The bank was the first local publicly traded corporation in the GCC region.[373] In the late 1970s and early 1980s, an alternative stock market, trading in shares of GCC companies, emerged in Kuwait, the Souk Al-Manakh.[373] At its peak, its market capitalization was the third highest in the world, behind only the United States and Japan, and ahead of the United Kingdom and France.[373]

Kuwait has a large wealth-management industry that stands out in the region.[373] Kuwaiti investment companies administer more assets than those of any other GCC country, save the much larger Saudi Arabia.[373] The Kuwait Financial Centre, in a rough calculation, estimated that Kuwaiti firms accounted for over one-third of the total assets under management in the GCC.[373]

The relative strength of Kuwait in the financial industry extends to its stock market.[373] For many years, the total valuation of all companies listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange far exceeded the value of those on any other GCC bourse, except Saudi Arabia.[373] In 2011, financial and banking companies made up more than half of the market capitalization of the Kuwaiti bourse; among all the GCC states, the market capitalization of Kuwaiti financial-sector firms was, in total, behind only that of Saudi Arabia.[373] In recent years, Kuwaiti investment companies have invested large percentages of their assets abroad, and their foreign assets have become substantially larger than their domestic assets.[373]

Kuwait is a major source of foreign economic assistance to other states through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, an autonomous state institution created in 1961 on the pattern of international development agencies. In 1974, the fund's lending mandate was expanded to include all developing countries in the world.

Health

Kuwait has a state-funded healthcare system, which provides treatment without charge to Kuwaiti nationals. There are outpatient clinics in every residential area in Kuwait. A public insurance scheme exists to provide reduced cost healthcare to expatriates. Private healthcare providers also run medical facilities in the country, available to members of their insurance schemes. As part of Kuwait Vision 2035, many new hospitals recently opened.[374][375][376] In the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kuwait invested in its health care system at a rate that was proportionally higher than most other GCC countries.[377] Under the Kuwait Vision 2035 healthcare strategy, the public hospital sector significantly increased its capacity.[375][374][376] Many new hospitals recently opened, Kuwait currently has 20 public hospitals.[378][375][374][376] The new Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Hospital is the largest hospital in the Middle East.[379] Kuwait also has 16 private hospitals.[374]

Science and technology

Kuwait has a growing scientific research sector. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Kuwait has registered 448 patents as of 31 December 2015,[380] Kuwait is the second largest patent producer in the Arab world.[380][381][382][383] In the early 2010s, Kuwait produced the largest number of scientific publications and patents per capita in the Arab world and OIC.[384][385][386][387][388] The Kuwaiti government has implemented various programs to foster innovation resulting in patent rights.[385][384] Between 2010 and 2014, Kuwait registered the highest growth in patents in the Arab world.[385][384][382] The WIPO Global Innovation Index found that Kuwait ranks relatively high for its innovation efficiency ratio (which shows how much innovation output a country is getting for its inputs).[389] Kuwait was ranked 78th in the Global Innovation Index in 2020, down from 60th in 2019.[390][391][392][393]

Kuwait was the first country in the region to implement 5G technology.[394] Kuwait is among the world's leading markets in 5G penetration.[394][395]

Space

Kuwait has an emerging space industry which is largely driven by private sector initiatives.[396]

Kuwait's first satellite

Kuwait's Orbital Space in collaboration with the Space Challenges Program[397] and EnduroSat[398] introduced an international initiative called "Code in Space". The initiative allows students from around the world to send and execute their own code in space.[399] The code is transmitted from a satellite ground station to a cubesat (nanosatellite) orbiting earth 500 km (310 mi) above sea level. The code is then executed by the satellite's onboard computer and tested under real space environment conditions. The nanosatellite is called "QMR-KWT" (Arabic: قمر الكويت) which means "Moon of Kuwait", translated from Arabic.[400]

QMR-KWT launched to space on 30 June 2021[401] on SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket and was part of the payload of a satellite carrier called ION SCV Dauntless David by D-Orbit.[402] It was deployed into its final orbit (Sun-synchronous orbit) on 16 July 2021.[403] QMR-KWT is Kuwait's first satellite.[401][404][400]

Um Alaish 4

Seven years after the launch of the world's first communications satellite, Telstar 1, Kuwait in October 1969 inaugurated the first satellite ground station in the Middle East, "Um Alaish".[405] The Um Alaish satellite station complex housed several satellite ground stations including Um Alaish 1 (1969), Um Alaish 2 (1977), and Um Alaish 3 (1981). It provided satellite communication services in Kuwait until 1990 when it was destroyed by the Iraqi armed forces during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.[406] In 2019, Kuwait's Orbital Space established an amateur satellite ground station to provide free access to signals from satellites in orbit passing over Kuwait. The station was named Um Alaish 4 to continue the legacy of "Um Alaish" satellite station.[407] Um Alaish 4 is member of FUNcube distributed ground station network[408] and the Satellite Networked Open Ground Station project (SatNOGS).[409]

Kuwait Space Rocket

The Kuwait Space Rocket (KSR) is a Kuwaiti project to build and launch the first suborbital liquid bi-propellant rocket in Arabia.[410] The project is divided into two phases with two separate vehicles: an initial testing phase with KSR-1 as a test vehicle capable of reaching an altitude of 8 km (5.0 mi) and a more expansive suborbital test phase with the KSR-2 planned to fly to an altitude of 100 km (62 mi).[411]

Mission Patch for Kuwait's Experiment in Space
TSCK experiment in space

Kuwait's Orbital Space in collaboration with the Kuwait Scientific Center (TSCK) introduced for the first time in Kuwait the opportunity for students to send a science experiment to space. The objectives of this initiative was to allow students to learn about (a) how science space missions are done; (b) microgravity (weightlessness) environment; (c) how to do science like a real scientist. This opportunity was made possible through Orbital Space agreement with DreamUp PBC and Nanoracks LLC, which are collaborating with NASA under a Space Act Agreement.[412] The students' experiment was named "Kuwait’s Experiment: E.coli Consuming Carbon Dioxide to Combat Climate Change".[413][414] The experiment was launched on SpaceX CRS-21 (SpX-21) spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) on 6 December 2020. Astronaut Shannon Walker (member of the ISS Expedition 64) conducted the experiment on behalf of the students.

National satellite project

In July 2021, Kuwait University announced that it is launching a national satellite project as part of state-led efforts to pioneer the country's sustainable space sector.[415][416]

Kuwait's literacy rate from 1975 to 2015.

Education

Kuwait had the highest literacy rate in the Arab world in 2010.[417] The general education system consists of four levels: kindergarten (lasting for 2 years), primary (lasting for 5 years), intermediate (lasting for 4 years) and secondary (lasting for 3 years).[418] Schooling at primary and intermediate level is compulsory for all students aged 6 – 14. All the levels of state education, including higher education, are free.[419] The public education system is undergoing a revamp due to a project in conjunction with the World Bank.[420][421]

Tourism

In 2020, Kuwait's domestic travel and tourism spending reached $6.1 billion (up from $1.6 billion in 2019) with family tourism a rapidly growing segment.[212] The WTTC named Kuwait as one of the world's fastest-growing countries in travel and tourism GDP in 2019, with 11.6% year-on-year growth.[212] In 2016, the tourism industry generated nearly $500 million in revenue.[422] In 2015, tourism accounted for 1.5 percent of the GDP.[423][424] Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City is one of Kuwait's biggest attractions.

The Amiri Diwan recently inaugurated the new Kuwait National Cultural District (KNCD), which comprises Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre, Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre, Al Shaheed Park, and Al Salam Palace.[210][209] With a capital cost of more than US$1 billion, the project is one of the largest cultural investments in the world.[210] The Kuwait National Cultural District is a member of the Global Cultural Districts Network.[425] Al Shaheed Park is the largest green roof project ever undertaken in the Arab world.[426] The annual "Hala Febrayer" festival attracts many tourists from neighboring GCC countries,[427] and includes a variety of events including music concerts, parades, and carnivals.[427][428][429] The festival is a month-long commemoration of the liberation of Kuwait, and runs from 1 to 28 February. Liberation Day itself is celebrated on 26 February.[430]

Transport

Kuwait has an extensive and modern network of highways. Roadways extended 5,749 km (3,572 mi), of which 4,887 km (3,037 mi) is paved. There are more than two million passenger cars, and 500,000 commercial taxis, buses, and trucks in use. On major highways the maximum speed is 120 km/h (75 mph). Since there is no railway system in the country, most people travel by automobiles.

A highway in Kuwait City.

The country's public transportation network consists almost entirely of bus routes. The state owned Kuwait Public Transportation Company was established in 1962. It runs local bus routes across Kuwait as well as longer distance services to other Gulf states. The main private bus company is CityBus, which operates about 20 routes across the country. Another private bus company, Kuwait Gulf Link Public Transport Services, was started in 2006. It runs local bus routes across Kuwait and longer distance services to neighbouring Arab countries.

There are two airports in Kuwait. Kuwait International Airport serves as the principal hub for international air travel. State-owned Kuwait Airways is the largest airline in the country. A portion of the airport complex is designated as Al Mubarak Air Base, which contains the headquarters of the Kuwait Air Force, as well as the Kuwait Air Force Museum. In 2004, the first private airline of Kuwait, Jazeera Airways, was launched. In 2005, the second private airline, Wataniya Airways was founded.

Kuwait has one of the largest shipping industries in the region. The Kuwait Ports Public Authority manages and operates ports across Kuwait. The country's principal commercial seaports are Shuwaikh and Shuaiba, which handled combined cargo of 753,334 TEU in 2006.[431] Mina Al-Ahmadi, the largest port in the country, handles most of Kuwait's oil exports.[432] Mubarak Al Kabeer Port in Bubiyan Island is currently under construction. The port is expected to handle 2 million TEU when operations start.

Demographics

Kuwaiti youth celebrating Kuwait's independence and liberation, 2011.

Kuwait's 2018 population was 4.6 million people, of which 1.4 million were Kuwaitis, 1.2 million are other Arabs, 1.8 million Asian expatriates,[2] and 47,227 Africans.[433]

Ethnic groups

Expatriates in Kuwait account for around 70% of Kuwait's total population. At the end of December 2018, 57.65% of Kuwait's total population were Arabs (including Arab expats).[2] Indians and Egyptians are the largest expat communities respectively.[434]

Religion

Kuwait's official state religion is Maliki Sunni Islam. The Al Sabah ruling family including the Emir, adhere to the Maliki madhhab of Sunni Islam. Most Kuwaiti citizens are Muslim; there is no official national census but it is estimated that 60%–70% are Sunni and 30%–40% are Shia.[435][436] The country includes a native Christian community, estimated to be composed of between 259 and 400 Christian Kuwaiti citizens.[437] Kuwait is the only GCC country besides Bahrain to have a local Christian population who hold citizenship. There is also a small number of Kuwaiti citizens who follow the Baháʼí Faith.[438][439] Kuwait also has a large community of expatriate Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs.[438]

Languages

Kuwait's official language is Modern Standard Arabic, but its everyday usage is limited to journalism and education. Kuwaiti Arabic is the variant of Arabic used in everyday life.[440] English is widely understood and often used as a business language. Besides English, French is taught as a third language for the students of the humanities at schools, but for two years only. Kuwaiti Arabic is a variant of Gulf Arabic, sharing similarities with the dialects of neighboring coastal areas in Eastern Arabia.[441] Due to immigration during its pre-oil history as well as trade, Kuwaiti Arabic borrowed a lot of words from Persian, Indian languages, Balochi language, Turkish, English and Italian.[442]

Due to historical immigration, Kuwaiti Persian is used among Ajam Kuwaitis.[443][444] The Iranian sub-dialects of Larestani, Khonji, Bastaki and Gerashi also influenced the vocabulary of Kuwaiti Arabic.[445] Most Shia Kuwaiti citizens are of Iranian ancestry.[446][447][448][449][450][451]

Culture

Kuwaiti popular culture, in the form of theatre, radio, music, and television soap opera, flourishes and is even exported to neighboring states.[452][453] Within the Gulf Arab states, the culture of Kuwait is the closest to the culture of Bahrain; this is evident in the close association between the two states in theatrical productions and soap operas.[454]

Television and theatre

Abdulhussain Abdulredha, the most prominent Kuwaiti actor.

Kuwait's television drama industry tops other Gulf Arab drama industries and produces a minimum of fifteen serials annually.[455][456][457] Kuwait is the production centre of the Gulf television drama and comedy scene.[456] Most Gulf television drama and comedy productions are filmed in Kuwait.[456][458][459] Kuwaiti soap operas are the most-watched soap operas from the Gulf region.[455][460][461] Soap operas are most popular during the time of Ramadan, when families gather to break their fast.[462] Although usually performed in the Kuwaiti dialect, they have been shown with success as far away as Tunisia.[463] Kuwait is frequently dubbed the "Hollywood of the Gulf" due to the popularity of its television soap operas and theatre.[464]

Kuwait is known for its home-grown tradition of theatre.[465][466][467] Kuwait is the only country in the Gulf Arab region with a theatrical tradition.[465] The theatrical movement in Kuwait constitutes a major part of the country's cultural life.[468] Theatrical activities in Kuwait began in the 1920s when the first spoken dramas were released.[469] Theatre activities are still popular today.[468] Abdulhussain Abdulredha is the most prominent actor.

Kuwait is the main centre of scenographic and theatrical training in the Gulf region.[470][471] In 1973, the Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts was founded by the government to provide higher education in theatrical arts.[471] The institute has several divisions. Many actors have graduated from the institute, such as Souad Abdullah, Mohammed Khalifa, Mansour Al-Mansour, along with a number of prominent critics such as Ismail Fahd Ismail.

Theatre in Kuwait is subsidized by the government, previously by the Ministry of Social Affairs and now by the National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters (NCCAL).[472] Every urban district has a public theatre.[473] The public theatre in Salmiya is named after Abdulhussain Abdulredha.

Music

Tabla player Ustad Munawar Khan at the 8th International Music Festival in Kuwait

Kuwait is the birthplace of various popular musical genres, such as sawt and fijiri.[474][475] Traditional Kuwaiti music is a reflection of the country's seafaring heritage,[476] which is known for genres such as fijiri.[477][478][474] Kuwait is widely considered the centre of traditional music in the Gulf region.[474] Kuwaiti music has considerably influenced the music culture in other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.[479][475] Kuwait pioneered contemporary Khaliji music.[480][481][482] Kuwaitis were the first commercial recording artists in the Gulf region.[480][481][482] The first known Kuwaiti recordings were made between 1912 and 1915.[483]

Kuwait is home to various music festivals, including the International Music Festival hosted by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL).[484][485] The Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre contains the largest opera house in the Middle East.[486] Kuwait has several academic institutions specializing in university-level music education.[487][488] The Higher Institute of Musical Arts was established by the government to provide bachelor's degrees in music.[489][487][488] In addition, the College of Basic Education offers bachelor's degrees in music education.[489][487][488] The Institute of Musical Studies offers music education qualifications equivalent to secondary school.[489][488][487]

Kuwait has a reputation for being the central music influence of the GCC countries.[490] Over the last decade of satellite television stations, many Kuwaiti musicians have become household names in other Arab countries. For example, Bashar Al Shatty became famous due to Star Academy. Contemporary Kuwaiti music is popular throughout the Arab world. Nawal El Kuwaiti, Nabeel Shoail and Abdallah Al Rowaished are the most popular contemporary performers.[491]

Arts

Kuwait has the oldest modern arts movement in the Arabian Peninsula.[492][493][494] Beginning in 1936, Kuwait was the first Gulf Arab country to grant scholarships in the arts.[492] The Kuwaiti artist Mojeb al-Dousari was the earliest recognized visual artist in the Gulf Arab region.[495] He is regarded as the founder of portrait art in the region.[496] The Sultan Gallery was the first professional Arab art gallery in the Gulf.[497][498]

Kuwait is home to more than 30 art galleries.[499][500] In recent years, Kuwait's contemporary art scene has boomed.[501][502][503] Khalifa Al-Qattan was the first artist to hold a solo exhibition in Kuwait. He founded a new art theory in the early 1960s known as "circulism".[504][505] Other notable Kuwaiti artists include Sami Mohammad, Thuraya Al-Baqsami and Suzan Bushnaq.

The government organizes various arts festivals, including the Al Qurain Cultural Festival and Formative Arts Festival.[506][507][508] The Kuwait International Biennial was inaugurated in 1967,[509] more than 20 Arab and foreign countries have participated in the biennial.[509] Prominent participants include Layla Al-Attar. In 2004, the Al Kharafi Biennial for Contemporary Arab Art was inaugurated.

Cuisine

Kuwaiti cuisine is a fusion of Arabian, Iranian, and Mesopotamian cuisines. Kuwaiti cuisine is part of the Eastern Arabian cuisine. A prominent dish in Kuwaiti cuisine is machboos, a rice-based dish usually prepared with basmati rice seasoned with spices, and chicken or mutton.

Seafood is a significant part of the Kuwaiti diet, especially fish.[510] Mutabbaq samak is a national dish in Kuwait. Other local favourites are hamour (grouper), which is typically served grilled, fried, or with biryani rice because of its texture and taste; safi (rabbitfish); maid (mulletfish); and sobaity (sea bream).

Kuwait's traditional flatbread is called Iranian khubz. It is a large flatbread baked in a special oven and it is often topped with sesame seeds. Numerous local bakeries dot the country; the bakers are mainly Iranians (hence the name of the bread, "Iranian khubuz"). Bread is often served with mahyawa fish sauce.

Museums

The new Kuwait National Cultural District (KNCD) consists of various cultural venues including Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre, Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre, Al Shaheed Park, and Al Salam Palace.[210][209] With a capital cost of more than US$1 billion, it is one of the largest cultural districts in the world.[210] The Abdullah Salem Cultural Centre is the largest museum complex in the Middle East.[511][512] The Kuwait National Cultural District is a member of the Global Cultural Districts Network.[425]

Several Kuwaiti museums are devoted to Islamic art, most notably the Tareq Rajab Museums and Dar al Athar al Islamiyyah cultural centres.[513][514] The Dar al Athar al Islamiyyah cultural centres include education wings, conservation labs, and research libraries.[515][516][517] There are several art libraries in Kuwait.[518][517][519] Khalifa Al-Qattan's Mirror House is the most popular art museum in Kuwait.[520] Many museums in Kuwait are private enterprises.[521][513] In contrast to the top-down approach in other Gulf states, museum development in Kuwait reflects a greater sense of civic identity and demonstrates the strength of civil society in Kuwait, which has produced many independent cultural enterprises.[522][513][521]

Sadu House is among Kuwait's most important cultural institutions. Bait Al-Othman is the largest museum specializing in Kuwait's history. The Scientific Center is one of the largest science museums in the Middle East. The Museum of Modern Art showcases the history of modern art in Kuwait and the region.[523] The National Museum, established in 1983, has been described as "underused and overlooked".[524]

Society

Kuwaiti society is markedly more open than other Gulf Arab societies.[525] Kuwaiti citizens are ethnically diverse, consisting of both Arabs and Persians ('Ajam).[526] Kuwait stands out in the region as the most liberal in empowering women in the public sphere.[527][528][529] Kuwaiti women outnumber men in the workforce.[262] Kuwaiti political scientist Ghanim Alnajjar sees these qualities as a manifestation of Kuwaiti society as a whole, whereby in the Gulf Arab region it is "the least strict about traditions".[530]

Media

The 372 m (1,220 ft) tall Kuwait Telecommunications Tower (leftmost) is the main communication tower of Kuwait.

Kuwait produces more newspapers and magazines per capita than its neighbors.[531][532] The state-owned Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) is the largest media house in the country. The Ministry of Information regulates the media industry in Kuwait. Kuwait's media is annually classified as "partly free" in the Freedom of Press survey by Freedom House.[533] Since 2005,[534] Kuwait has frequently earned the highest ranking of all Arab countries in the annual Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders.[535][536][537][538][539][540][541][542][543] In 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014, Kuwait surpassed Israel as the country with the greatest press freedom in the Middle East.[535][536][537][538][542] Kuwait is also frequently ranked as the Arab country with the greatest press freedom in Freedom House's annual Freedom of Press survey.[544][545][546][547][548][549][550]

Kuwait has 15 satellite television channels, of which four are controlled by the Ministry of Information. State-owned Kuwait Television (KTV) offered first colored broadcast in 1974 and operates five television channels. Government-funded Radio Kuwait also offers daily informative programming in several languages including Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and English on the AM and SW.

Literature

Kuwait has in recent years produced several prominent contemporary writers such as Ismail Fahd Ismail, author of over twenty novels and numerous short story collections. There is also evidence that Kuwaiti literature has long been interactive with English and French literature.[551]

Sport

Football is the most popular sport in Kuwait. The Kuwait Football Association (KFA) is the governing body of football in Kuwait. The KFA organises the men's, women's, and futsal national teams. The Kuwaiti Premier League is the top league of Kuwaiti football, featuring eighteen teams. The Kuwait national football team have been the champions of the 1980 AFC Asian Cup, runners-up of the 1976 AFC Asian Cup, and have taken third place of the 1984 AFC Asian Cup. Kuwait has also been to one FIFA World Cup, in 1982; they drew 1–1 with Czechoslovakia before losing to France and England, failing to advance from the first round. Kuwait is home to many football clubs including Al-Arabi, Al-Fahaheel, Al-Jahra, Al-Kuwait, Al-Naser, Al-Salmiya, Al-Shabab, Al Qadsia, Al-Yarmouk, Kazma, Khaitan, Sulaibikhat, Sahel, and Tadamon. The biggest football rivalry in Kuwait is between Al-Arabi and Al Qadsia.

Basketball is one of the country's most popular sports. The Kuwait national basketball team is governed by the Kuwait Basketball Association (KBA). Kuwait made its international debut in 1959. The national team has been to the FIBA Asian Championship in basketball eleven times. The Kuwaiti Division I Basketball League is the highest professional basketball league in Kuwait. Cricket in Kuwait is governed by the Kuwait Cricket Association. Other growing sports include rugby union. Handball is widely considered to be the national icon of Kuwait, although football is more popular among the overall population.

Ice hockey in Kuwait is governed by the Kuwait Ice Hockey Association. Kuwait first joined the International Ice Hockey Federation in 1985, but was expelled in 1992 due to a lack of ice hockey activity.[552] Kuwait was re-admitted into the IIHF in May 2009.[553] In 2015, Kuwait won the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia.[554][555]

In February 2020, Kuwait held for the first time a leg of the UIM Aquabike World Championship in front of Marina Beach City.[556]

International Olympic Committee Suspension

For many years, Kuwait was suspended from participating in international sports due to undue government interference and corruption. Since 2007, Kuwait has been suspended by FIFA three times for "political interference" and were allowed to participate in the 2011 Asian Cup qualifying campaign and other international competitions on a provisional basis.[557] Contrary to the road map established by FIFA and the AFC, the Al Sabah ruling family continued to interfere in sport elections. Elections were held on 9 October 2007 in direct violation of the FIFA Executive Committee's May 2007 decision to the contrary. As a consequence, the committee recommended to the FIFA Executive Committee that the Kuwait Football Association be unsuspended.[558] Kuwait's football federation board resigned days after world governing body FIFA unsuspended Kuwait.[559] The suspension was lifted after the federation said it will ratify new statutes to prevent government interference in the sport as demanded by FIFA. "Otherwise FIFA will immediately suspend the (federation) again," FIFA said in a statement.[560] The suspension was conditionally lifted and extended by the FIFA Congress in June 2009.[561] FIFA was closely monitoring the situation within Kuwait.[562]

The International Olympic Committee imposed a suspension on the Kuwait committee with effect from 1 January 2010 due to Kuwaiti government legislation that permits the state to interfere in elections of sporting organizations. The government had failed to meet the IOC's 31 December 2009 deadline for amending the legislation. As a result, Kuwait was barred from receiving IOC funding and Kuwaiti athletes and officials were banned from Olympic Games and Olympic meetings.[563]

At the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, the 2010 Asian Games, and the 2011 Asian Winter Games, Kuwaiti athletes competed as independent athletes in a team named "Athletes from Kuwait" (code: IOC) under the Olympic Flag.[564] On 14 July 2012 the suspension was lifted and Kuwaiti athletes were allowed to participate in the 2012 Summer Olympics under their own flag.[565]

On 16 October 2015, FIFA suspended Kuwait and all remaining results from AFC Asian Cup and FIFA World Cup qualification were added as forfeits while all Kuwaiti teams that were participating in international competitions were withdrawn.[566] Kuwait tried to get the suspension lifted at the 66th FIFA Congress but this was rejected and therefore from the earlier announcement on 27 April 2016, the hosting of the Gulf Cup of Nations tournament was moved to Qatar.[567] The suspension was eventually lifted on 6 December 2017 after Kuwait's adoption of a new sports law.[568]

The Kuwait Olympic Committee was again suspended on 27 October 2015 by the IOC to protect the Olympic movement in Kuwait from undue Kuwaiti government interference and corruption.[569] As a result of this suspension, participation by athletes from Kuwait at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro was allowed by the IOC in a special team named "Independent Olympic Athletes" (code: IOA) under the Olympic flag.[570] In response to the Olympics suspension, Kuwait filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the IOC.[571] The Kuwaiti government responded to the Olympics suspension in an official press release:

It's totally unacceptable that Kuwait is treated in this unfair way and barred from international sports activities without any appropriate probe being conducted. From the very beginning Kuwait did it its utmost to prevent the IOC suspension and showed a sincere desire to co-operate, but all to no avail. We sent a UN-sponsored delegation to Geneva to explain to the sports body that the Kuwaiti government by no means intervenes in sports activities. Kuwait has been left in an embarrassing position in sports circles where it is viewed as an outlaw.[571]

See also

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