Kuwait, since 1991

Liberation . Following the Iraqi invasion and ocupation of Kuwait (August 2nd 1990), the United Nations General Assembly passed a series of resolutions condemning the invasion and demanding the restoration of Kuwaiti sovereignty (Resolution 661, August 6th and 9th etc.). Iraq was perceived as a threat to other countries in the region, most notably Saudi Arabia. Operation Desert Shield, the build-up of a massive U.S. force with the task to defend the Saudi oil fields (and which could be used as a strike force against Iraq) was begun. Meanwhile the UN placed an embargo on Iraq and demanded the termination of the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait.
When, by January 17th 1991, Iraq had given no indication of an intention to comply with the demands to withdraw from Kuwait, Operation Desert Shield was turned into Operation Desert Storm. The U.S. force was joined by troops from Kuwait (which had managed to leave Kuwait in the early days of the invasion), Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the UAE, and by troops from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
On January 17th 1991 the Gulf War began with precision air strikes against Iraqi targets; on February 20th the campaign to liberate Kuwait by ground forces and to invade Iraqi territory began. Iraq agreed to a ceasefire on February 22nd.

Foreign Policy . The government of Kuwait, which returned from exile in March 1991, continued to pursue a foreign policy in line with that purasued prior to the Iraqi invasion in August 1990. Kuwait was an active member of the UN, the Arab League, OPEC and the GCC.
While the bulk of the coalition troops was withdrawn, the U.S. maintained bases in Kuwait. While Kuwait maintained good relations with most countries in the world (many of which contributed to the campaign of ending the oil fires ignited by Iraqi forces during their withdrawal), relations with Iraq remained tense. In 1994 Iraq recognized the independence of Kuwait and withdrew her claims to the hitherto disputed islands of Bubiyan and Warbah.
Iraq remained a diplomatic pariah; Kuwait played a prominent role as a location from where the oil embargo against Iraq, Iraqi disarmanent, the no fly zones imposed on Iraq were monitored. In 2003 the territory of Kuwait was used as a base from where the forces of the Coalition of the Willing launched the invasion of Iraq (Iraq War); Kuwait did not contribute troops to the coalition.

Administration . Emir Jaber al Ahmad al Jaber as Sabah returned from exile in Saudi Arabia in March 1991. He died in 2006; his successor Saad al Abdullah as Salim as Sabah was deposed and simultaneously abdicated after only two weeks on the throne. He was succeeded by Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber as Sabah.
Following the liberation, the Emir of Kuwait found himself under pressure to implement the democracy formulated in the constitution of 1963, and to introduce further democratic reforms. Martial law was lifted, and elections to the National Assembly held in 1992. In 2005 women's suffrage was introduced.

The Economy . Upon liberation, Kuwait showed the scares of six months of occupation. Upon withdrawal, Iraqi forces deliberately had destroyed the oil industry facilities, and set the oil fields on fire. Land mines placed around the (now burning) oil wells made it difficult to approach the fires; the magnitude and intense heat of the fires proved a challenge to fire fighters and engineers. The fires were extinguished in 1992. More than 5 billion US Dollars were spent in the campaign to terminate the fires, clean up the mess and restore the oil industry facilities.
In 1991 Kuwait produced 9.7 million metric tons of crude petroleum, in 1992 53.6 million metric tons, by 1993 production was back to normal (94.5 million metric tons, IHS p.364). The rise in oil prices since 2003 has resulted in a considerable increase of Kuwait revenues.
Kuwait joined the WTO in 1995.
In 2003 the GCC countries entered into a customs union ( Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE).

Social History . The Statesman's Yearbook of 1992-1993 gives the estimated population of Kuwait in 1990 (pre-invasion) as 2.04 million (p.868). The 1985 census counted 1,697,301, of whom c.60 % were foreigners. Jan Lahmeyer gives a population of 1.4 million for 1992; the census of 1995 counted 1.576 million; for 2000 the population was estimated at 1.973 million.
In 2005 Kuwait introduced women's suffrage.

Cultural History . Kuwait athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. In 2000 a Kuwaiti marksmen won the country's first medal - bronze in men's double trap shooting.

Articles Gulf War (of 1991), Kuwaiti Oil Fires, Bubiyan, 2003 Invasion of Iraq, Jaber al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah, Saad al Abdullah as Salim as Sabah, Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber as Sabah, Iraq War of 2003), Kuwait at the 1992 Summer Olympics, Kuwait at the 1996 Summer Olympics, Kuwait at the 2000 Summer Olympics, Kuwait at the 2004 Summer Olympics, Gulf Cooperation Council, from Wikipedia
Kuwait Timeline, from BBC News
Operation Desert Shield, from Global Security
Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, from Global Security
Gulf War : Liberation, from Kuwait Information
DOCUMENTS Kuwait Statesmen : World Statesmen, by Ben Cahoon
Historical Population Statistics, Kuwait, from Population Statistics posted by Jan Lahmeyer
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Article Kuwait, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1991 pp.411, 638, 1992 pp.385-386, 637, 1993 pp.387-388, 646, 1994 pp.387, 647, 1995 pp.433, 647, 1996 pp.433, 647, 1997 pp.443, 645, 2002 pp.454, 651 [G]
Article : Kuwait, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1991-1992 pp.791-795, 1992-1993 pp.868-872, 1993-1994 pp.861-865, 1994-1995 pp.854-858, 1995-1996 pp.851-854, 1996-1997 pp.797-800, 1997-1998 pp.807-810, 1998-1999 pp.865-869, 2000 pp.991-995, 2001 pp.967-971, 2002 pp.1007-1012, 2003 pp.1009-1014, 2004 pp.1015-1020, 2005 pp.1022-1026, 2006 pp.1020-1024 [G]
Entry : State of Kuwait, Cabinet, p.57; Background Notes, pp.782-787, in : Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook, 2003 [G]
Article : Kuwait, in : Americana Annual 1992 pp.314-315, 1993 pp.312-313, 1994 pp.311-312 [G]
Entry : Kuwait, pp.630-633 in : IMF, International Financial Statistics Yearbook 2001 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 12th 2007

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz