In what must be a first, a court in Kuwait has sentenced seven people to death and another 15 to prison terms for aiding and abetting terrorism. Today's sentences were handed to people that had connived with a Saudi suicide bomber who killed 27 people in Imam Sadiq Mosque in Kuwait City on June 26. More than 230 others were injured...
Given its tiny size (1.215 million population and 290 sq. miles of territory), Bahrain would not warrant a second glance yet its un-elected, tribal rulers rub shoulders with leaders at the world stage. Originally from Kuwait, the Khalifah family moved to Bahrain displacing Banu ‘Utbah nearly 200 years ago.
Kuwait is often described as a democracy, because of the fact that it has a constitution (introduced a year after it gained its independence from Britain in 1981) and an elected parliament. But neither the constitution nor parliament has been able to prevent the ruling family, the House of al-Sabah, from monopolising power and controlling the Emirate's oil-wealth;
Kuwait’s role as a launch-pad and base for US-led troops operating in Iraq is coming to haunt the Gulf emirate. A string of gun-battles between government troops and militants planning to target American troops in the country, as well as oil facilities, has pushed Kuwait closer to the brink.
Kuwait lurched deeper into political crisis on June 24, when the country’s parliament began to question Dr Youssef al-Ibrahim, finance minister and minister of planning and managerial development, about allegations that he mismanaged the state’s finances.
August 2 was the 11th anniversary of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Eleven years later, the consequences of the invasion continue to cloud the political landscape in the Middle East, as proven by Washington’s doggedness in sounding the drums of war against Baghdad.
On June 4, when members of the United Nations security council failed to reach agreement on a new sanctions plan proposed by the US and Britain, they decided to extend by one month, instead of the usual six months, the programme under which Iraq can sell oil to raise funds to buy food and to pay “reparations” to western governments.
Iraq won a significant political victory on July 4, when the US and Britain were forced to abandon their ‘smart sanctions’ proposals and agree to a five-month extension of the ‘oil-for-food’ programme.
Like autocratic rulers everywhere, nothing is more loathsome to Kuwait’s ‘royal’ family than accountability. Another mainstay of autocratic rule is a determination to avoid relinquishing key positions of power.
It was the sort of drama that makes for good press copy, and of course the international press was there to watch it. As the result was announced, hundreds of men applauded, while a “Muslim fundamentalist” reportedly screamed that Kuwaitis don’t want women’s rights.
Over 3,000 Egyptian migrant workers in Kuwait were rounded up by police and packed off to desert internment camps at the end of last month, following two days of street troubles on October 30-31.
Shaikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah, the amir of Kuwait, dissolved the country’s Parliament on May 4, shortly before the 50-member body was to vote on a no-confidence motion against Ahmad al-Kulaib, the Minister of Justice, Endowments and Islamic Affairs.
Over the past few months, Iran and Saudi Arabia have edged closer toward warmer relations after nearly two decades of acrimony, tension and hostility. Tangible signs of improved ties between Tehran and Riyadh include the numerous visits of Iranian and Saudi officials to each other’s countries...
Some things seem resistant to change in Kuwait, with the autocratic ways of governance foremost among them. Last month’s reshuffle of the Kuwaiti cabinet to avoid an imminent parliamentary no-confidence vote is the latest dramatic episode highlighting the persistence of the ruling Al-Sabah family...