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Political Analysis

National Identity and Regime Security in Kuwait: The Amir’s Political Puzzle

Introduction

The latest political deadlock that crippled Kuwait is a canary in the coalmine. This is simply because Kuwait’s National Assembly (NA) is a gauge for public opinion and social currents, often expressed raucously as Arab Nationalists, Shi’a, Islamists and liberal politicians debate in parliament.[i] The NA embodies Kuwait’s exceptionalism and symbolizes deep, shared social beliefs about the right to expression and dissent. Desires to activate these beliefs correspond with a time when the Al-Sabah’s principal tool to diffuse popular mobilization is rapidly losing potency and capacity. Kuwaiti economic fundamentals are strained by the need to comprehensively prepare for the future, including the need to meet the soaring costs of creating a diversified economy.

Kuwait’s disparate opposition coalitions are starting to cooperate with one another on the basis of consensus on reforms that would walk back monarchical power.


Marking another critical area of change, Kuwait’s disparate opposition coalitions are starting to cooperate with one another on the basis of consensus on reforms that would walk back monarchical power. The crux of the issue is that the aims of the regime and the majority of Kuwaiti citizens are fundamentally at odds. While this has long been true in the context of political power, the extended and intense nature of the latest standoff is because times have changed – and this is precisely why timeworn tactics to diffuse tensions will not suffice to address Kuwait’s domestic political problems.

Since middle ground is often elusive, it is argued in this article that notwithstanding concessions made by the Al-Sabah to end the political impasses, the future will witness the start of the erosion of the regime’s legitimacy to rule with absolute authority. This is expected to trigger the regime to self protect and thereby oversee a rapid shift into a much more authoritarian state. This outcome would be based on the Constitution as it stands today. Article (54) states the Amir is the head of state, immune and inviolable. Article (83) stipulates the Amir has the right to initiate, sanction and promulgate laws, executive power he exercises through the Council of Ministers as per Article (51), (55) and (65) of Kuwait’s constitution. Fearing contagion, this choice would presumably have the backing from Kuwait’s Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners who would likely see it as a necessary move to uphold Kuwait’s national security and stability and their own. The alternative is that the regime blesses the start of the gradual erosion of its absolute authority toward a more democratic state, which is improbable.

Preserving a fragile status quo of balancing increasingly divergent views about Kuwait’s future is no longer a viable option.


Even with a glass ball, predicting the future is difficult. But, one thing is clear – limping along, and preserving a fragile status quo of balancing increasingly divergent views about Kuwait’s future is no longer a viable option. Indeed, recent crackdown on dissent and public questioning of regime legitimacy on social media may be a sign of what is to come as the Al-Sabah react to the seeming intractability of their popular calls for change. While local laws have always restricted freedom of speech in this area, levels of tolerance seem to ebb and flow with political sensitivities. The recent waves of arrests in Kuwait targeting those critical of the regime[ii] indicate that the Al-Sabah perceive a need to close ranks and leverage their executive power to preserve regime security.

Identities in Kuwait’s Political Landscape

Kuwait's Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, has died at the age of 91 in September 2020, ruled Kuwait since 2006 and had overseen its foreign policy for more than 50 years (CNN).

Since 2006, divisive politics have intensified inside Kuwait. On the one hand, this is due to the lingering effects of sectarian violence in Iraq and the subsequent Arab Spring being transmitted. On the other hand, it is caused by conflict between hadar and bedu families and tribes who both jostle for a say in Kuwait’s future while competing for short-term political and economic gains. Kuwait’s quasi-constitutional monarchy has continuously and precariously balanced its various social groups to preserve stability, yet the regime’s traditional approach of leveraging economic tools to manage popular contestation is under unprecedented threat. Mounting pressures forming at intersections of mounting political, social, financial and demographic structures are what really challenge the status quo.

Despite being a small power, Kuwait has long been a wealthy one due to its geography, which historically enabled it to leverage its port and today its rich hydrocarbon reserves. Since 1961, Kuwait’s ‘dinar’ diplomacy, as the political scientist Abdul-Reda Assiri memorably called it, has been a productive soft power foreign policy instrument. At home, its lavish social contract has largely secured political compliance by diluting efforts of those challenging the legitimacy of the Al-Sabah’s “supreme executive authority” within its unique parliamentary system.[iii] To maintain regime legitimacy since statehood, the Al-Sabah have also used Arab values and Islamic identities to influence the way regime power is exercised, which bought it time. However, old ideas of affiliation, patronage and ‘procured’ complacency are losing traction.

Tribal coalitions are now joining liberal forces such as trade unions and youth activists, and working with Islamists on some issues based on certain key shared goals.


Heterogeneous opposition forces are getting better at cooperating, a trend that will likely only improve. For the Al-Sabah, this trend is all the more troubling as opposition voices now include a growing presence of tribal figures that were traditionally loyal to the ruling family,
[iv] but have also begun pushing for electoral and parliamentary amendments.[v] Tribal coalitions are now joining liberal forces such as trade unions and youth activists,[vi] and working with Islamists on some issues based on certain key shared goals. Liberal groups such as the Democratic Forum (al-Manbar al-Dimuqrati) and the National Alliance (al-Tahaluf al-Watani) along with Islamist groups are asking for more equality with urban socio-economic elites, and this represents the headwinds of more calls for political participation and democratization. This agenda is where historically unaligned opposition forces find affinity. The ideational basis of their objectives enables them to expand even further to include other reform platforms such as youth and new grassroots movements, which in fact cross the tribal and urban dichotomy, such as the Civil Democratic Movement (CDM). An emerging social consensus about political (and economic) reform is what makes the parliamentary opposition a force to reckon with.

This is especially true since key tribal constituent participation in dynamic and evolving opposition forces appear increasingly unwilling to continue to function in customary loyalist “service MP” roles.[vii] Kuwait’s old political arrangement is thus breaking apart because of the demographic majority these typically rural (bedu) tribal members hold and because this group has become more educated and more exposed to the outside world over the past twenty years. This has made them less willing to accept payoff for unequal status in political decision-making power compared to urban dwellers (hadar).[viii] Islamists seized the opportunity to exploit tribal grievance and made political inroads by cultivating more sympathetic views toward political change-driven aspects of their political platform. Furthermore, Kuwait’s large youth population tend to hold more politically liberal views than their parents, influenced by social media and subtle shifts in thinking in part inspired by the Arab Spring.

The Shi’a, a large minority (roughly 30%) and generally an urban political grouping, are also indicating that they seek to play a larger political role and gain more respect for their rights. Nevertheless, their support for the established political order remains fairly entrenched due to fear of some segments of the Sunni majority, especially certain Islamist groups who call them apostates.[ix] However, their position is not set in stone as history illustrates. While the Shi’a opted not to join with the opposition following Kuwait’s 2012 elections, they set differences aside in 2014 to join the opposition in resisting Kuwait’s ratification of the Internal Security Pact (ISP) on the basis of Kuwait’s identity. The Pact was designed to enhance the exchange of information and cross-border controls against domestic opposition. It harmonized criminal laws, policing, intelligence, and established reciprocal renditions and other multilateral mechanisms to bolster the monarchies’ collective security.[x]

Powerfully attesting the political weight given to rights, Kuwait’s NA refused to ratify the ISP[xi] despite substantial pressure on the basis that it was anti-democratic, but more importantly anti-Kuwaiti. Editor-in-chief of the Kuwaiti daily, Alam Alyawm, Abdul-Hamid Da’as, said “We [Kuwaitis] support cooperation among GCC members, but we are sensitive on issues of freedoms and individuals’ rights [granted] according to the Kuwaiti constitution.”[xii] Bodour opined, “[Kuwaitis believed] signing [the ISP] indicated a desperate attempt to maintain the status quo, manoeuvre around the Kuwaiti constitution and disregard the political aspirations of the Kuwaiti people.”[xiii] This opinion characterizes the sentiment among Kuwaitis of all stripes about their exceptionalism.[xiv] However, Kuwait’s Shia arguably also detected heightened risk that they might be targeted through ISP mechanisms and this anxiety would have only strengthened their position against it.

New forms of pragmatism among Kuwait’s Shia might prove to be an underestimated element of new risks facing the regime.


However, historical cooperation on the ISP and recent forms of cooperation today signal a shift. Like many of Kuwait’s political blocs, new forms of pragmatism among Kuwait’s Shia might prove to be an underestimated element of new risks facing the regime. Their devotion may be less assured than it was historically, especially in light of the influence of Iranian regional gains and Shia empowerment in Iraq since 2005. True, claiming Kuwait’s Shia will bandwagon with others in the region is overly simplistic and discounts their track record of preserving their Kuwaiti identities above their religious affiliation.[xv] Yet, Kuwait’s Shia, many of whom maintain significant familial and business ties inside Iran, have shown sympathy for Iranian positions at times and participated in identity politics – a danger the Al-Sabah (and its Gulf neighbours) have long kept a good eye on.[xvi] Thus, since Kuwait’s internal stability has long been connected to its external environment, it may also be true that trends empowering Shia in the region may provide Kuwait’s Shia with some limited opportunity to assume more empowered positions in pursuit of their rights and political interests. While this is a factor to consider, it is important not to overstate the impact of Shia regional gains upon Kuwait’s internal political milieu. 

The Latest Conundrum

Kuwait's National Assembly (AP Photo).

Arab and Islamic identities strongly influence political affiliations in Kuwait and Kuwait’s identity constructs largely drive the oppositions’ calls for political reform. This is why many observers were surprised when the December 2020 parliamentary election in Kuwait saw its anti-establishment figures win. This led to competition for the speaker’s election. Due to infighting, opposition efforts failed, and the incumbent speaker, Marzouq Al-Ghanem, kept his position.[xvii] Instead of accepting defeat, hostility intensified. Calls were made for the elected speaker and the prime minister’s resignation despite it breaching existing parliamentary bylaws and state norms. Defiant, opposition members decided to block parliament meetings by occupying the minister’s seats to prevent deliberations and stop the convening of parliament. The approach effectively prohibited affairs of state from occurring for most of the first session of the legislative term. This political deadlock was happening alongside a worsening financial crisis in Kuwait that led to stark depletion in its general reserve fund because raising the public debt ceiling required a functioning parliament. Matters deteriorated to the point that the combination of low oil prices, a pandemic, and the burden of paying generous public sector salaries produced a deficit so substantial that ratings agencies downgraded Kuwait for the first time in its history.[xviii]

Since the 1960s, half of all Kuwaiti parliaments have been dissolved early, which indicates the regime’s willingness to use executive power.


Under Article (102) of Kuwait’s Constitution, the Amir has the power to dissolve parliament or re-appoint the government. Members of the opposition expected that the palace would eventually opt to dissolve parliament. This was based on past experience. It was dissolved unconstitutionally from 1976 until 1981 and again from 1986 to 1992, meaning that it failed to call new elections within sixty days of the dissolution. Since the 1960s, half of all Kuwaiti parliaments have been dissolved early,
[xix] which indicates the regime’s willingness to use executive power.[xx] However, by 1990 Kuwait’s constitutional suspension had caused an internal crisis, which triggered Jaber Al-Sabah to endorse the consultative National Council, ‘Majlis al-Watani’. In 2021, the opposition was banking on the Al-Sabah’s accommodation and hoped for an early election to be called, thereby providing them with an opportunity to elect a new speaker. However, that choice was not exercised which has left Kuwait at a crossroads whereby it could kick-start another legislative session notwithstanding the impasse, or it can call an early election now. In another election, the opposition may win again but that is not a guarantee because its tactical manoeuvring alienated it from some segments of Kuwaiti society. Yet, another election will not resolve the crisis anyhow because core issues remain unresolved. Temporary fixes indeed explain why parliament was dissolved again in 1999, 2006, 2008, and in 2009.[xxi]

In typical Kuwaiti fashion, one way forward now may take the form of a national dialogue aimed at resolving some problematic matters with the support of the Amir. A representative committee can be formed that includes members of the parliament, government, and the royal palace.[xxii] Evoking the principle of forgiveness in Islamic morality, the Amir has recently issued several amnesty decrees to lower tensions between Kuwait’s parliament (fully-elected) and government (Amir-appointed) so that vital economic reforms can proceed. Pardons were issued for activists Jamaan al-Harbesh, Mubarak Al-Waalan and Salem Al-Namlan,[xxiii] as well as Popular Action Bloc leader Musallam al-Barrak and exiled Faisal al-Muslim.[xxiv] It has also tolerated tribe-affiliated Bader Dahoum,[xxv] whose membership in parliament as part of the Thwabet al-Umma opposition coalition was controversially revoked by the Constitutional Court earlier in the year.[xxvi]

Since the entire story of the Al-Sabah’s legitimacy has been rooted in constitutive norms from the start, Kuwait’s identity, and the self-perceptions Kuwaitis hold, are at odds with the Al-Sabah’s utmost goal: regime security.


While pardons may suffice as a band-aid and allow parliament to reconvene, one thing is clear: like compromises made in the past, another compromise made by the ruling family now to pacify those calling for reform will only temporarily vent stress. Problems will return because the paradoxical question is unanswered. Namely, how can this regime retain its monarchical power when it must share it? For some helpful context, the Al-Sabah family came to power in in the 1750s[xxvii] specifically because of their governance approach, which stressed participation, consultation, consensus, and tolerance.[xxviii] Since the entire story of the Al-Sabah’s legitimacy has been rooted in constitutive norms from the start, Kuwait’s identity, and the self-perceptions Kuwaitis hold, are at odds with the Al-Sabah’s utmost goal: regime security. The contradiction at the heart of Kuwait’s political experiment will rise to the surface as the regime struggles to retain the legitimacy to continue to effectively rule with absolute power in a future most likely coloured by economic woes rather than surplus for the first time.

This is dangerous for several reasons. Like elsewhere in the region, finding an organized, professional, capable alternative to existing rule is a major problem and      Kuwait is no exception. Unsurprisingly, there is no real and credible alternative to the Al-Sabah, which implies that opposition forces and the regime will have to find a way to live together for now. Finding a compromise is the most practical way forward and there is no time to waste. Kuwait’s economic diversification imperatives are urgent and politically-induced delays undermine stabilizing economic reform projects.[xxix] Further, heightened sectarianism and general instability in Kuwait’s geographic periphery is likely to perpetuate turmoil inside Kuwait and Kuwait remains vulnerable to external interference because of its internal chaos.

Kuwait’s Carousel Keeps Turning

Indeed, like geography, history always matters. Kuwait’s political crisis today can be more deeply understood by viewing it as a continuum. The Al-Sabah’s historical social contract with citizens is that the norm of tolerance, which denotes pluralism in the form of an elected parliament, makes political association (and some dissent) constitutionally protected.[xxx] Pluralism, inclusion, and consensus have long underscored stability in Kuwait’s urban-tribal dichotomy. These principles also augmented regime security because the old patronage system was able to employ them to keep a lid on political activism.[xxxi] With this in mind, it is possible to locate how these ideals helped create today’s political deadlock by looking back into Kuwait’s history. This will help to illustrate both that Kuwait’s political woes now are little more than another expression of a story plot repeating itself and show that more of the same ‘deflect and pivot’ tactic is unlikely to continue to suffice. Trouble will keep brewing and intensify due to the nature of future forces challenging the regime and the nexus among its various elements.

Undeniably, today like the 1920s and 1930s were a difficult period for the Al-Sabah.[xxxii] Back then, the 1920 Battles of Hamdh and Jahra and the 1929 Battle of Injair[xxxiii] illustrated resurgent Saudi claims to Kuwait’s territory.[xxxiv] Ibn-Saud also coveted Kuwait’s wealth.[xxxv] When Kuwait refused to pay tax to Najd, Riyadh imposed an economic embargo on Kuwait in 1921 so its merchants would pressure Amir Ahmad (1921-1950) – and they did.[xxxvi] The 1920s is an early example of the link between Kuwait’s economic pressures and how they cause political instability. When Kuwait’s economy faltered due to the embargo, and pressure was added by the Great Depression and its pearling market crash,[xxxvii] the ruling family witnessed calls for greater political participation domestically.

The Amir’s political problems then extended from successive rulers following Mubarak’s (1896-1915) policy to breach traditional profit sharing, partnership and consultation rituals with the merchants to fund Kuwait’s development.[xxxviii]
Resentment about non-inclusive governance[xxxix] interacted with commercial tensions leading Kuwait’s merchant class to support the 1921 Palestinian revolt and demand the creation of a power-sharing Consultative Council. British Political Advisor, Harold Dickson recalls that families told Ahmad (1921-1950) “They would accept as their ruler only one who would assent to a council of advisors”.[xl] Ahmad agreed, and this resolved the crisis. However, he soon dissolved the council when internal conflicts erupted within it, which he argued threatened national stability.[xli] To placate elites, Ahmad created an advisory council to attenuate claims he ruled without popular participation.[xlii] The lesson that economic uncertainty quickly translated into domestic political activism was potent.

Internal threats reconstituted in the 1930s as secret meeting groups and clubs formed to demand popular participation. Merchants organized with dissident branches of the ruling family and political institutions such as the Kuwait municipality.[xliii] Their 1938 ‘Majlis Movement’ attempted to reclaim decision-making power.[xliv] Fearing contagion, Ibn-Saud dispatched forces to restore order in Kuwait.[xlv] As he did before, Ahmad agreed to meet the expectation that he was tolerant and inclusive so he established a legislative council.[xlvi] Yet, it too was quickly abandoned as proposals to limit Al-Sabah power emerged[xlvii] and the palace was able to claim that its exclusion of Bedouins and Shi’ites promised problems.[xlviii] Paradoxically, the unrepresented formed a coalition to support the Al-Sabah against the elite classes and the existence of internal splits and sectarian divides resulted in reinforcing the Al-Sabah family’s power. This will not be the case in the increasingly closer future, as the opposition has grown into a more inclusive, albeit heterogeneous, force.

Conclusion

The 2011-2014 popular mobilization called Karamat Watan (March of Dignity) is an indicator of what is to come.


The 1921 consultative and 1938 legislative councils are the foundation of Kuwait’s democratic approach that balances pluralism and regime security.[xlix] Arguably, the 2011-2014 popular mobilization called Karamat Watan (March of Dignity), which publicly challenged the Sabah family and forced Kuwait’s prime minister to resign for the first time ever, is an indicator of what is to come. Today, the same tensions are evident, but they are amplified by new socio-political and economic realities in Kuwait that fundamentally mean that the historic context has ended and a new one is setting in.

Even if there were enough economic capacity to uphold generous welfare schemes in the future (which is unlikely), longstanding solutions like this will not work – the people want more. Dissolving parliament, compromising or defying pressures are all options that have been played out before and they all ultimately lead the national storyline to repeat itself. This is where the real problem resides. Old patterns matter more today because they are interacting with a more complex set of phenomena than the traditional nuances of the unwritten contract underpinning the regime’s legitimacy to rule.

The regime is more than ever now being called to task by a new society and boisterous youth demands at a time when the state is dealing with consequences of inadequately preparing itself to navigate transitions to its non-hydrocarbon economic growth.


The regime will be unable to decompose the vision Kuwaitis have for themselves by means of financial schemes or superficial political concessions. The Al-Sabah must find a way to retain their legitimacy to rule when for centuries it has been pegged squarely to their role as the protector of Kuwait’s identity as an inclusive, liberal rights protector. It is a puzzle that requires acting outside conventional rubrics as citizens are calling for more rights than the family is willing to give more often and with more coordination. The regime is thus more than ever now being called to task by a new society and boisterous youth demands at a time when the state is dealing with consequences of inadequately preparing itself to navigate transitions to its non-hydrocarbon economic growth, and facing climate impacts. These domestic pressures coexist with external ones as the United States’ regional role looks set to shift, and actors in the region tumultuously attempt to reconfigure a balance of power. Indeed, it is the interconnections between Kuwait’s internal issues and the link between its internal and external conditions that present the biggest test yet to Kuwait’s dynastic system.

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[ii] Human Rights Watch. 2021. “Kuwait: Country Page”. Hrw.Org. https://www.hrw.org/middle-east/n-africa/kuwait#.
[iii] Herb, Michael. 2014. The Wages Of Oil: Parliaments And Economic Development In Kuwait And The UAE. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press; Herb, Michael. 2009. “A Nation Of Bureaucrats: Political Participation And Economic Diversification In Kuwait And The United Arab Emirates, 381”. International Journal Of Middle East Studies 41 (3): 375-395; Herb, Michael. 2004. “Princes And Parliaments In The Arab World”. The Middle East Journal 58 (3): 367-384, 375; Zaccara, Luciano. 2013. “Comparing Elections In Gulf Cooperation Council Countries After The Arab Spring: The United Arab Emirates, Oman, And Kuwait”. Journal Of Arabian Studies 3 (1): 80-101, 82; Diamond, Larry Jay. 2002. “Thinking About Hybrid Regimes”. Journal Of Democracy 13 (2): 21-35, 31.
[iv] Longva, A., 2006. Nationalism in Pre-Modern Guise: The Discourse on Hadhar and Badu in Kuwait. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 38(2), pp.171-187.
[v] Freer, C. and Leber, A., 2021. Defining the “Tribal Advantage” in Kuwaiti Politics. Middle East Law and Governance, pp.1-30.
[vi] Ghabra, S., 2014. Kuwait: At the Crossroads of Change or Political Stagnation. [online] Middle East Institute. Available at: <https://www.mei.edu/publications/kuwait-crossroads-change-or-political-stagnation&gt; [Accessed 25 November 2021].
[vii] Longva, A., 2006.
[viii] Smith Diwan, K., 2013. The Politics of Transgression in Kuwait. [online] Foreign Policy. Available at: <https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/04/19/the-politics-of-transgression-in-kuwait/&gt; [Accessed 25 November 2021].
[ix] Ghabra, S., 2014.
[x] Yom, Sean L. 2019. “Roles, Identity, and Security: Foreign Policy Contestation in
Monarchical Kuwait”. European Journal of International Relations, 1-25, p. 2; Bodour, Behbehani. 2016. “Surviving the Arab Spring: The Gulf Cooperation Council and the Case Study of Kuwait (2011–2012)”. PhD Dissertation, King’s College London, p. 358-374.
[xi] Ehteshami, A. 2015. “GCC Foreign Policy: From the Iran-Iraq War to The Arab
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[xii] Boghardt, Lori Plotkin. 2017. “How Kuwait is Surviving the Gulf Crisis”.
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[xv]  Wikileaks, ‘Update On Shi’a-Sunni Relations In Kuwait: Stable, Despite Rhetoric And Regional Tensions,’ Reference ID: 07KUWAIT257, SECRET//NOFORN, Embassy Kuwait, 20 February 2007.
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http://www.arabtimesonline.com/NewsDetails/tabid/96/smid/414/ArticleID/167532/reftab/36/t/Gulfstates-denounce-Iran-s-meddling-/Default.aspx;&nbsp;Kuwait Times Newspaper, ‘Kuwait busts Iran spy cell’, 2 May , 2010, Kuwait; http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=MTQwNDQxNjEwMg==;&nbsp;Al Watan Daily, ‘Death sentence to Kuwaiti, 2 Iranians, for belonging to Iranian spy ring’, Wednesday, 30 March, 2011. Kuwait; http://alwatandaily.kuwait.tt/ 
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[xviii] Abu Omar, Abeer, and Fiona MacDonald. 2021. “Kuwait Credit Rating Cut For Second Time In Two Years By S&P”. Bloomberg.Com. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-16/kuwait-credit-rating-cut-for-second-time-in-two-years-by-s-p.
[xix] Al Najjar, Ghanim. 2008. “Struggle Over Parliament In Kuwait”. Carnegie Endowment For International Peace. https://carnegieendowment.org/sada/20845.
[xx] Albloshi, Hamad H. 2019. “Monograph Series: The Shura Councils In The Persian Gulf”. Number 1: July 2019, Kuwait’s National Assembly: Roles And Dynamics. Department of Political Science, Kuwait University, 9-14; “Kuwait’s Political Crisis Deepens”. 2013. Policy Brief. European Parliament, Directorate-General For External Policies Policy Department, 7-8. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/briefing_note/join/2013/491461/EXPO-AFET_SP%282013%29491461_EN.pdf.
[xxi] Salameh, Mohammad Torki Bani, and Mohammad Kanoush Al-Sharah. 2011. “Kuwait’S Democratic Experiment: Roots, Reality, Characteristics, Challenges, And The Prospects For The Future”. Journal Of Middle Eastern And Islamic Studies (In Asia) 5 (3): 58-81; Alnajjar, Ghanim. 2000. “He Challenges Facing Kuwaiti Democracy”. Middle East Journal 54 (2): 242-258.
[xxii] Al-Rumaihi 2021, Op. Cit.
[xxiii] Reuters, 2021. Kuwaiti dissidents return home after emir’s pardon. [online] Fxempire.com. Available at: <https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/kuwaiti-dissidents-return-home-after-emirs-pardon-809231&gt; [Accessed 25 November 2021].
[xxiv] https://www.kget.com/news/world-news/kuwaits-exiled-opposition-returns-home-after-royal-pardon/?utm_source=pocket_mylist&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=final_results_confirm_cleric_sadrs_victory_in_iraq_vote&utm_term=2021-12-01
[xxv] Freer, C. and Leber, A., 2021. The ‘tribal advantage’ in Kuwaiti politics and the future of the opposition. [online] Brookings. Available at: <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2021/04/19/the-tribal-advantage-in-kuwaiti-politics-and-the-future-of-the-opposition/&gt; [Accessed 25 November 2021].
[xxvi] Kuwait News Agency, 2021. Speaker Announces Vacancy of Bader Al-Dahoum Seat. KUNA, [online] Available at: <https://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2968500&language=en#&gt; [Accessed 25 November 2021].
[xxvii] Al-Hatem, Abdullah Khaled. 1980. From Here Kuwait Began. Kuwait City: Dar Al-Qabas,10; Abu-Hakima, Ahmad Mustafa. 1965. History Of Eastern Arabia 1750-1800: The Rise And Development Of Bahrain And Kuwait. 1st ed. Khayats, 54.
[xxviii] Yom, Sean. 2019. “Roles, Identity, And Security: Foreign Policy Contestation In Monarchical Kuwait”. European Journal Of International Relations, 1-25.
[xxix] Martin, G., 2019. The Consequences of Some Angry Re-Tweets: Another Medium is the Message. Review of Middle East Studies, 53(2), 259-293.
[xxx] Yom, Sean L. 201, op. cit.; Tétrault, Mary Ann. 2000. Stories of Democracy: Politics And Society In Contemporary Kuwait. Columbia: Columbia University Press, 11.
[xxxi] Ghabraor, Shafeeq. 2014. “Kuwait: At the Crossroads of Change or Political Stagnation”. Washington, D.C.: Middle East Institute. https://www.mei.edu/publications/kuwait-crossroads-change-or-political-stagnation.[xxxii] Zahlan, Rosemarie Said. 1998. The Making of the Modern Gulf States: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates And Oman. Ithaca Press, 35-36.
[xxxiii] Dickson, Harold Richard Patrick. 1956. Kuwait and Her Neighbours. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 253-255; IOR/15/1/747. 1918. “J.H.B. Philby, “Report on the Najd Mission 1917-1918,” India Office Record.”
[xxxiv] Al-Nakib, Farah. 2012. “The Lost “Two-Thirds”: Kuwait’s Territorial Decline between 1913 And 1922”. JournaloOf Arabian Studies 2 (1): 19-37, 26; IO R/15/5/101, 1918. “Cox (Civil Commissioner, Baghdad) To Loch (Political Agent, Kuwait), 29 May 1918, India Office Records, London.”
[xxxv] IOR/15/5/101. 1918. “Cox (Civil Commissioner, Baghdad) to Loch (Political Agent,
Kuwait), 29 May 1918″; IOR/15/5/105. 1920. “More to Cox, 15 Oct. 1920.”
[xxxvi] IOR/15/5/25. 1920. “Dickson (Political Agent, Bahrain) to Cox, 6 Apr. 1920.”
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