Kuwait. At the Arab League summit in Lebanon in March, Iraq pledged to respect Kuwait’s independence and not repeat the 1990 invasion., 1991.
According to Countryaah website, national day of Kuwait is every February 25. Kuwait on November 3 ordered the Qatar-based TV channel al-Jazira to close its office. The motive was said to be lack of objectivity, but was considered to be dissatisfied with the reporting of extensive barriers in connection with a US-led maneuver near the Iraq border.
In October, one American soldier was killed and another wounded during a military exercise. The perpetrators, two Kuwaitis, were killed. The deed was attributed to the al-Qaeda terror network. A mentally ill Kuwaiti policeman shot two US soldiers in November.
Women demonstrated in February for voting rights and also went to court. In March, the Constitutional Court decided not to consider the matter and sentenced them to pay the costs.
Emir Jabir al-Ahmad as-Sabah returned to Kuwait on January 15 after being cared for almost four months in London following a stroke. He underwent an eye surgery in August.
An important dimension of Kuwaiti politics, which has been the basis of the last elections, is the constitutional conflict between the emir and the royal family on the one hand and the nationally elected National Assembly on the other. While parliament is elected, the government – with the prime minister – is appointed by the emir and is seen as loyal to him. Thus, criticism of the government may also be indirect criticism of the monarch. An important part of the political system in Kuwait is that members of parliament can ask critical questions to ministers. This includes questions about the ability of government members to govern the country. In recent years, criticism has also been linked to abuse of power, especially corruption.
The growing opposition comes from several groups, including the traditionally conservative tribal community, and especially from younger – also younger elected officials who have contributed to a new counterbalance to the loyal political elite. They have also challenged economic policy and questioned, among other things, various disparities, including economic ones, by central politicians, including Prime Minister Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah. This led to the emir in 2009 dissolving parliament and writing new elections.
After demonstrations with protests aimed at possible portrayal of political freedom in December 2010, new democratic actions emerged in 2011. The opposition between the opposition in parliament and the government was then sharpened. Like other countries during the Arab Spring, protesters walked the streets in Kuwait as well. There were several strikes and demonstrations demanding the introduction of constitutional monarchy. A demand was made that the Prime Minister had to leave. The crisis escalated when protesters stormed the parliament, after which the prime minister resigned and the emir re-dissolved the national assembly.
This culmination of the democracy revolt is called ‘The Kuwaiti Spring’. As in other Arab countries, youth played an active role, contributing to the first mobilization in February 2011, also called ‘the spring of the people’. Youth from tribal communities and bidun played a key role in the protests, including through independent youth organizations. Both religious and secular organizations from several sections of society participated, gathering around demands for the removal of the prime minister, the change of government and the fight against corruption. As a result of persistent protests, the prime minister resigned. This was the first time such a shift had taken place as a result of popular political pressure in countries affiliated to the Gulf Council (GCC). Parliament was then disbanded.
The authorities met the demands of democracy with increased public funding, which was also directed directly at the individual citizen in the form of paid money or food vouchers, although it was officially stated that the measures were part of Kuwait’s 50 years mark as an independent state. Opponents who participated in actions in 2011–2012 have also been arrested in recent years; among them also several MPs.