The Persian Gulf region is renowned for being the heart of the industrialized world, as it provides it with the natural resources (oil and gas) it needs to keep its economic machine active. It is made up of people and countries with their own aspirations, hopes and challenges.
The most frequently cited model for the future is that of Dubai, the city which has achieved amazing economic success. But, another less publicized model is that of Kuwait. Current events in Kuwait could serve as an example of what the future holds for Gulf countries.
Social mobility, the dynamic social interaction, the presence of an active parliament and a developed judiciary, not to forget a strong and independent media and an active civil society are some of the characteristics of present-day Kuwait. The country is moving from a culture of diwaniya to that of modern state institutions. Kuwait has in the past faced numerous political, economic and social challenges and continues to do so, differently than other countries in the region.
Lately, Kuwait has given women their full political rights, according to Islamic Shariaa. The country weathered a political storm and emerged stronger, buy relying on wisdom and building strong state institutions. There are many lessons to be learned by other Arab countries and specifically Gulf countries. The political and social turmoil currently being witnessed in Kuwait is different to the situation prior to Saddam’s invasion. Nowadays, Kuwaitis have a more developed national sense and a new generation has hopes for a bright future.
Gulf countries, which represent the future of the entire Arab world, given the weight of their decisions and practices, ought to closely observe developments in Kuwait . The issue goes beyond the financial capabilities of Gulf countries and their economic might. Their real wealth resides in individuals and their aspirations. The challenge will be how to attain a balance between the different components of society: the economy, individuals, their rights and obligations. With the economic success that Dubai has achieved, it appears that Kuwait is the key to discover the map of the future.