In Western Asia, Kuwait is found on the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf. It borders with Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Kuwait's oil wealth and its geographical position have made it vulnerable to external threats (Assiri, 1990). Following its independence in June 1961, Kuwait was faced with a major foreign policy problem arising from Iraqi claims to Kuwait's territory. Iraq made an invasion threat to the country which was deterred by the U.K.'s ready response to the Amir's request for reinforcement. Before the United Nations, Kuwait presented its case, and its sovereignty was preserved. Later, the U.K. forces were withdrawn and substituted by troops from Arab League nations, which were also removed in 1963 at the request of Kuwait. On August 2, 1990, Kuwait was invaded and occupied by Iraq. Through U.S. efforts, a multinational coalition was formed, and, under UN support, military action against Iraq was initiated to liberate Kuwait.
Kuwait has a membership at the UN and some other specialized and related agencies. Regionally, Kuwait has an outstanding foreign policy that is characterized by neutrality. After liberation, Kuwait focused its foreign policy efforts on the development of ties to those states which had taken in the multinational coalition. These were the states that were given the key role in the reconstruction of Kuwait. On the other hand, the relationship between the country and those countries which had sided with Iraq such Jordan, Sudan, Yemen and Cuba was slow to recover. However, the Government of Kuwait has eliminated its previous policy of limiting the entry of workers originating from nations whose leaders supported Iraq in Gulf War. Since liberation from Iraq, Kuwait has made positive efforts to secure allies across the world, mostly members of the UN Security Council. In addition to the United States, arrangements on defense have been made between the country and the United Kingdom, France and Russia. Kuwait has continued to provide generous financial assistance to coalition operations in Iraq in kind. The state has also been actively supporting the political process in Iraq.
Despite economic reform policies in Kuwait being mainly based around the empowerment of the private sector, the discourse concerning economic policies rarely addresses the role of the country's existing business community in promoting or stalling such reforms (Herb, 2015). The private sector in the Gulf is viewed as politically passive, due to its state dependency. Kuwaiti merchants should, therefore, retain their political influence through formal and informal means, and are consequently able to shape economic policy-making according to their interests. Kuwait's Capital Market Authority reform shows that not all initiatives aimed at improving the business environment and liberalizing the economy are essential to the dominant private sector players. Therefore, the business community is a significant player that often uses its methods of political influence to halt and reverse specific economic reform policies. The International Monetary Fund praised the Kuwaiti government's efforts in tackling the impact of the drop in global oil prices through containing public spending. Kuwait's economic policy showed that the non-oil sector witnessed growth due to the continuing decline in public expenditure, Improving liquidity and a delay in the introduction of taxes drives consumer spending gains, while higher oil prices and infrastructure spending underpins fixed investment. Over the medium term, liberalizing reforms and a push to diversify the economy are expected to attract stronger Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) inflows.
Religious and Ethnic Groups
Almost three-quarters of the inhabitants of Kuwait are ethnically Arab, with only about half of the entire population being citizens of Kuwaiti. Among the citizens, nearly all are of Arab ethnic group. In the immigrant community, almost half of them are of Arab origin as well. Majority of the non-citizen, migrant workers in Kuwait, are from the Middle East, and a significant number of Persians and South Asians, including Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshi also. Muslim is the most practiced religion of Kuwait with about 85% of the people being Muslim. Of these Muslims, approximately 70% are Sunni and 30% Shia. The last 15% of the population subscribe to numerous religions, popularly Christian, Hindi, and Parsi. The constitution provides for absolute freedom of belief and religious practices. Although the law states Islam as the state religion, it requires jail terms for journalists accused of defaming any religion. The government does not indicate religion to the national identity or passports documents, except for birth certificates. On birth certificate documents issued to Muslims, the government, however, does not differentiate between Shia and Sunnis.
Diplomatic Position of the Country
Since its membership at the United Nations, Kuwait has been an active member and contributed significantly to the work of the United Nations working in tandem with the noble purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. Despite the size of the country, Kuwait has a multilateral experience and knowledge originating from its membership in various regional and international organizations. Notably, they include the Gulf Cooperation Council of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the League of Arab States and the Non-Aligned Movement (Tucker, Roberts & Zinni, 2010). As a result of these multilateral diplomacy dealings, Kuwait has gained vast experience in mediation between warring parties coupled with fostering partnerships in a state of multifaceted regional and international issues which have been detrimental to international peace and security. Furthermore, the state of Kuwait held a non-permanent seat in the primary United Nations organ primarily responsible for maintaining international peace and security.
The Relationship Between Kuwait and Members of UNSC
Since its admission to the UNSC, the State of Kuwait has been pursuing a peaceful and balanced policy in its relations with others. Kuwait operates from its firm conviction and belief in the importance of not resorting to the use or threat of force as a dispute settlement mechanism but instead resorting to dialogue to foster the values of tolerance and co-existence between the different cultures religions and civilizations. Kuwait maintains diplomatic and friendly relations with various countries and peoples of the world. These relations are based on the principles of mutual respect, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, respecting the sovereignty and shared interests, as well as supporting various international mechanisms to further economic, social, cultural and intellectual cooperation between countries and people (In & Malone, 2004).
The policy of the State of Kuwait has International recognition. This was manifested in 1990 when the whole world stood by and supported Kuwait when it was occupied by Iraq. The Security Council adopted historic resolutions that reinforced the legitimacy, credibility, authority and ability of the Security Council to preserve international peace and security while confronting serious violations of the United Nations Charter and international law. Kuwait's humanitarian role is one of the main pillars of Kuwaiti diplomacy, emanating from its belief in the importance of supporting the peoples and countries facing harsh conditions, as a consequence of natural or man-made disasters, such as wars and armed conflicts. Kuwait is strengthening its international and regional partnerships at the humanitarian level, through its continued support to a large number of organizations and international agencies specializing in the provision of humanitarian aid, foremost among which is the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Kuwait supports and encourages mediation efforts and endeavors to solve conflicts by peaceful means, and assist in building national and regional capabilities, with a view to achieving peace, stability and development in areas prone to the outbreak of conflicts. The country is working on activating the role of the Security Council, and enhancing its ways and methods of work by bringing more transparency and clarity to its working methods to become more capable and effective in facing up to the accelerated challenges the international community faces in order to overcome them.
In conclusion, Kuwait has made tremendous steps in improving its state towards fostering a good relationship between it and other countries majorly those at the UNSC. The recognition of freedom of religion and beliefs has seen the entrance of people from different parts of the world for work or business and thus helping spur economic growth and development. The UNSC is the world's remarkable multilateral international mechanism. It is the most legitimate, credible and neutral institution which has over decades demonstrated the ability to forestall destructive wars and maintain global peace and security. The admission of Kuwait to the UNSC has given them a platform to contribute to the main agendas advocated by the institution.
Assiri, A.-R. (1990). Kuwait's foreign policy: City-state in world politics. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press.
Fassbender, B. (1998). UN Security Council reform and the right of veto: A constitutional perspective. The Hague [u.a.: Kluwer.
Herb, M. (2015). The wages of oil: Parliaments and economic development in Kuwait and the UAE.
In Malone, D. M., & Malone, D. (2004). The UN Security Council: From the Cold War to the 21st century. Boulder, Colo: Lynne Rienner.
Tucker, S., Roberts, P. M., & Zinni, A. C. (2010). The encyclopedia of Middle East wars: The United States in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq conflicts. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
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