Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

In Memory of Invasion: Internal Division Greatest Threat to Kuwait | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A U.S. soldier watches as a statue of Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein falls in central Baghdad, April 9, 2003. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Kuwait- On August 2, 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait perplexing the Arab world and changing the balance of power in the Middle East. But after 26 years, Kuwait is still facing challenges though the threat of foreign invasion is unlikely. Major challenges are represented in terrorism and social division.

Kuwait had to pay a high cost for being both a wealthy and a weak country that is easily influenced by the struggles in the Gulf region. For example, Iraq’s threats in the 1960s to annex Kuwait before invading it in 1990 and displacing the Kuwaiti people.

On June 26, 2015, Kuwait survived a sectarian riot when Imam al-Sadeq Mosque was targeted by a suicide attack that killed 27 people and injured 227 others. Also a huge terrorist cell possessing weapons and explosives linked to Iran was discovered.

Currently, the country is facing a series of economic challenges including a budget deficit of USD20 billion in the 2015 fiscal year, which led the government to adopt austerity measures, in addition to a drop in the national income as a result of a slump in oil revenues.

“We learnt little from the invasion experience,” Dr. Ibtihal al-Khatib, an instructor at Kuwait University, told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Kuwait, in the meantime, is suffering internal division influenced by foreign incidents that are allowing sectarian-based alignments to form.”

Twenty six years have passed and Kuwaiti people have not succeeded yet in solving one of the biggest humanitarian dilemmas- the case of the Bedoon, or the stateless. “250,000 Bedoon live in Kuwait and are failing to integrate in the society,” added Khatib.

She continued: “Kuwait has always been a pioneer with regards to the democratic experience. Yet this experience severely deteriorated in the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion.”

Constitutional law expert Dr. Mohammed al-Faili told Asharq Al-Awsat that developing the parliamentary system is the upcoming challenge looming in Kuwait’s horizon.