Formal Name: State of Kuwait
Capitol: Kuwait City
Flag: 3 bands. Green over white over red. Black trapezoid on left side.
Size: 6,880 square miles (slightly smaller than New Jersey).
Population: 1,967,00 (1989), 225,00 Kuwait City.
Languages: Arabic, English
Gross National Product $17.3 billion (US) 1986
Paved Roads: 3,100km
Ports: Kuwait Port, Shuabia Port, Salmiyah Port
Airports: Kuwait International
*In 1899, the ruling family of Kuwait drew up an agreement allowing for British control of Kuwaiti foreign affairs in exchange for British protection from the Ottoman Empire. Following the collapse of the Turks in World War I, the British redrew the borders between Iraq and Kuwait, giving Iraq additional land but leaving several islands in the hands of the Kuwaitis. In 1961, Kuwait became an independent state, but Iraq claimed the territory and British troops were dispatched to protect the new Amir. In 1973 Iraq invaded a strip of coastline in Kuwait, but was forced to remove them due to international pressure.
During the 1980's, Kuwait aided the Iraqi government in their war with Iran. However, in July of 1990, Iraq accused Kuwait of overproduction of oil which was lowering prices and siphoning oil from the Rumayla oil field that stretches through both countries. On August 2, Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait and set in motion Operation Desert Shield/Storm.
Kuwait has been raped by the occupying forces of Saddam Hussein. Horror stories abound about looting and pillaging at the hands of the Iraqi Army and as they left the country in hasty retreat, they made sure to leave nothing of value to the advancing allied armies. The capital of Kuwait city was lit on fire with many of the buildings and factories totally gutted. Vehicles were burned, aircraft destroyed and thousands of Kuwaitis killed or taken hostage. In addition, of the 900oil wells in Kuwait, some 600were left on fire when the Iraqis retreated and others are booby-trapped with explosives. The rebuilding of Kuwait could take years and will cost billions of dollars. But the Kuwaitis seem prepared to make the effort. With over $100billion in overseas assets, and several billion more in oil revenues in the next decade, Kuwait should be financially capable of solving the complex task of reconstruction.
Not only does the infrastructure of Kuwait need to be repaired, but the political/social system is also going to be reexamined. Unlike most Arab countries, the people of Kuwait feel intense nationalism now that they know what it is like to lose their homeland. They also understand how valuable liberty is after living several months under Iraqi occupation. New demands for freedom will certainly be made of the Kuwaiti monarchy, and the promises of democratic reforms will have to be acted upon in the near future. In the early 1980's, the parliament was disbanded due to fear of non-Kuwaiti foreigners taking over too much power. The fate of these workers, and the parliament, will have to be reconciled quickly if Kuwait is to continue to receive the good will, and economic aid from the rest of the world.
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