Student: Reem Behbehani
Basically, the political structure in Kuwait is based on the Constitution. "Kuwait is a fully Independent Arab State with a democratic style of government, where sovereignty rests with the nation, which is the source of power." As defined by the constitution, the system of government is based on the separation of powers, although cooperation is required by the Constitution. The legislative authority is vested in the Amir and the National Assembly (Majlis Al Umma), while executive power is vested exclusively in the Amir and his Cabinet; Deputy Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. The Amir of Kuwait holds "real" power over almost all issues. Frankly, he could even dismiss this conference. The Constitution of the State of Kuwait is composed of 183 articles divided into five chapters: 1- The State and the System of Government. 2- The basic components of Kuwait Society. 3- General rights and duties. 4- Authorities. 5- General and provisional statutes.
The Constitution of the State of Kuwait is based on the democratic principles. It combines the positive aspects of both presidential and parliamentary systems prevalent in advanced democratic countries. The pillars of the Constitution are the sovereignty of the State, public freedom and equality before the law.
On 11/1/1962, the will of Kuwait’s Amir, the deceased Shaykh Abdullah Al Salem Al-Sabah, corresponded with that of people’s representatives and validated the draft constitution as the representatives draw it without any correction to its articles. The constitution came into force on 29/1/1963 when the first Kuwaiti National Assembly met.
The Constitution also divides the State of Kuwait into 5 administrative regions (Muhafathat); Al Ahmadi, Al Jahra, Al Kuwait, Farwaniya., Hawali. Also, the existing government, follows the pattern of the executive branch described in the Constitution, where only the Al Sabah family has the right to rule the country. For his highness the Amir Shaykh Jabir Al Ahmad Al Sabah is holding the position of Chief of State. While Head of Government is Prime Minister and Crown Prince Sa’ad Al Abdulla Al Sabah. And in the position of Deputy Prime Minister is Salem Al Sabah.
In addition, the origins of the Al Sabah family allows them to hold this position, for they are the first nomads whom settled in Kuwait, early in the eighteenth century. Then they were chosen by the people to be the country’s leaders.
In the old days, Kuwait’s natural resources were limited to fish and pearls. Fortunately, oil was discovered in Kuwait in 1938 by the Kuwait Oil Company. However, it wasn’t exported until 1946 due to the World War II. Gladly, ever since that time, Kuwait has depended on the production of oil rather than fish and pearls, which boosted the economy in the area. Clearly, the change forced the country into signing different agreements and joining several unions or groups, for Kuwait became one of the first active members of OPEC. In addition, considering the climate and geography in Kuwait, agriculture and farming cannot possibly be well-depended-upon resources. However, Kuwait did progress in that field over the years.
The fact that Kuwait is an Arabic country in the Middle East makes most of its population follow the religion of Islam. However, there are people of different religions and ethnic groups in Kuwait, such as Christians and others. As mentioned earlier, the country’s neighbors and place on the map, play a major role in building its culture. For the surrounding Arabic environment and the closeness to Saudi Arabia, which is the source of the Islamic religion, has a direct effect on the people’s beliefs and religion.
Accordingly, the most important part of the Kuwaiti society remains the family, where the old values and traditional virtues are retained and cherished. Kuwaitis speak Arabic, but English is widely understood, especially in politics, commerce and industry. Islam forbids the consumption of pork or alcohol, and so these items are illegal in Kuwait.
In the eighteenth century, Kuwait sought the help of the UK due to the fact that it wasn’t capable of defending itself against intruding neighbors or handling its foreign relations. However, in 1961, Kuwait got its independence from the UK. Certainly, over the years and with the development of technology, the defense in Kuwait grew stronger. Unfortunately, in 1990, during the Gulf War the Kuwaiti population was rather disappointed and put down by its defense level. Accordingly, it requested the help of troops from the US, UK, France, etc. Gladly, the defense in Kuwait is gradually regaining the people’s trust.
Also, Kuwait is now almost fully dependent on The US forces. Therefore, enemies of Kuwait, who are able to threaten or attack it at anytime, wouldn’t be able to do so in fear from the American response. Furthermore in this topic, the military branches in the country are divided into: the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Police Force and National Guard. At the age 18, young men, who have brothers and are physically capable of joining the army, are expected to subscribe for joining the army.
Kuwait shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. To the southeast lies the Persian Gulf, where Kuwait has sovereignty over nine small islands but only one of them is inhabited (Failaka). In short, Kuwait is a flat desert. Its highest point is a hill which is 1000ft high. Most of the land area in the country is below 660ft in elevation. The soil in Kuwaiti deserts does not lend itself to agriculture. Less than 9% of the land is cultivable and water comes almost only from desalination plants. Kuwait enjoys a dry climate with considerable differences in temperature. Summer months (May-October) have very high temperatures, but humidity is less than other Gulf states. Annual rainfall is from 1 to 7in, falling mostly in winter months.
Views on World Problems:
Kuwait’s main weakness is the fact that its a small country in a imperfect positioning on the world map. This of course brings up the problem of invasions and sudden attacks. However, this problem is partially solved because of Kuwait’s wealth, which is a strong factor that provides the region with forces that will back up Kuwait. Also, Kuwait has relatively strong influence on world problems. It has large influence on issues regarding the Middle East and the Gulf. For it is a recognizable member in the GCC. Also it is a member of the United Nations, and in all cases, Kuwait truly tries to take side in arguments and/or problems based on honest views and strong disapproval of injustice or despotism.
The economy of Kuwait is based almost exclusively on oil. By law, 10% of all petroleum income has been deposited in a special reserve fund to provide for the future generations when oil revenues are exhausted.
During the 1990 invasion, a great deal of Kuwaiti wealth was taken to Iraq, and so Kuwait experienced a depression in its overall economy. Kuwaiti government-in-exile, however, retained control of the country’s very substantial overseas assets. Fortunately. Kuwait was able to restore to its pre-war condition in about 2 years. Also, in a move to stimulate private investment, the government paid off household debts, increased government salaries, and compensated for war damage.
However the discovery of oil in the 1930s changed the economy drastically: Previously, it had been dependent upon the pearl trade. In 1946 oil started to be exported, and that boosted the Kuwaiti overall market. Kuwait became independent in 1961 and was immediately threatened with invasion by Iraq, which claimed the territory on the basis of old Ottman provincial boundaries. Britain sent troops into Kuwait and Iraq backed down.
There things remained until 1990, when Iraq shamelessly and unexpectedly invaded and occupied the country. In 1991 Kuwait was liberated by the help of the UN. Substantial political and demographic changes have occurred in Kuwait as a result of the Iraqi occupation. In 1992 the population dropped to barely a third of its level before the invasion, although that changed with the return of Kuwaitis and foreign nationals. Although memories of the Iraqi occupation remain vivid, life has slowly returned to normal, particularly after the Iraqi recognition of Kuwait’s sovereignty in October 1994. In 1996 the government began a privatization program, selling more assets than any other Arab country, with a resulting boom on Kuwait’s stock exchange.
Kuwait is in favor of creating laws and restrictions that limit the number of refugees in a country, as well as a limit to the rights they have there, for it’ll have a significant impact on the world. These laws will also help in solving economical problems that some countries have due to the funds they give to refugees. In addition, this process will certify that the funds given to refugees are not abused by the refugees, but instead utilized usefully.
This problem is one of the major concerns in Iran. Given that refugees from all over the world go to Iran, especially Iraq, Iran has the highest rate of refugees. Over the years, the refugees issue greatly developed from a minor concerns into a catastrophe that interferes with Iran’s future criteria and plans.
Kuwait is strongly in favor of having regional organizations. It sees that the role of regional organizations in settling international conflict is very crucial to world peace, because these organizations would limit sudden attacks of neighbors, such as the case in 1990, when Iraq attacked Kuwait. The presence of these regional organizations allows more settled and flexible relations between countries in the region. These regional organizations would play a major role in the progress of international relations and world peace. Also, it would work on solving minor problems to prevent them from augmenting.
Kuwait agrees that the growth and implementation of information technology on global communication plays a significant role in a countries development. Therefore, all countries, including the "small and weak", should be provided global communication technology, so that they would be more aware of their surroundings. This could be achieved by forming regional organizations that aim for providing member countries global communication technology.
Question Of: The role of regional organizations in settling international conflict.
Defining regional organizations as a group of persons united for the welfare of a particular region.
Recalling The Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in 1990, a sudden attack from a neighbor who knows that there weren’t powerful armed forces that could back up the GCC and prevent his attack.
Deeply Concerned with the national conflicts taking place in countries such as Yugoslavia and Indonesia, which may develop into international conflicts and effect the world.
Affirming that regional organizations are crucial to the peace of, not only the countries in the region, but also of other countries in the world.
Taking Into Account that the presence of such organizations strongly prevents international conflicts, and remain of weak organizations, such as the GCC, could not help member countries.
Recalling the failure of GCC in helping Kuwait reclaim its independence during the Gulf War.
Referring to the goals of the Arab League, a regional organization, "its stated purposes are to strengthen ties among the member states, coordinate their policies, and promote their common interests", which in correspondence will diminish international conflicts in the specified region.
Alarmed By the international conflicts in different regions around the world.
Deeply Disturbed by the quarrels taking place in Yugoslavia and Indonesia, which could be prevented by regional organizations.
Pointing Out that international conflicts could cause wars which increase the problem of refugees and leads to economical crises, resulting in political serious conflicts that effect the world as a whole.
1. Congratulates a number of regional organizations such as: NATO, Red Cross, Arab League, European Union and United Service Organization, etc. for their outstanding achievements in solving international conflicts.
2. Expecting that the formation of strong regional organizations would work for the welfare of the region and prevent international conflicts by strengthening the relations between member countries.
3. Strongly Condemns those nations that refuse the formation of regional organizations, for their absence will definitely cause minor conflicts to develop into major ones and cause wars.
4. Asks that the UN to provide regional organizations with financial funds to form ones that are backed up by powerful armed forces, for they will compensate this by eliminating the chances of eventuating wars that could increase the world’s concern of the refugees issue and reflect negatively in the world’s economy.
5. Requests that regional organizations would be backed by armed forces that ascertain the maintenance of peace in the region.
6. Further Requests that regional organizations become fully responsible of aiding the defense in member countries, especially in times of war.
7. Further Resolves that the UN should create effective laws that would force the organizations to act upon any violations or attacks, in favor of the member country.