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Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy

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Congressional rept.

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Kuwait has been pivotal to all the U.S. interventions in the Persian Gulf region since the 1980s because of its location, its role as the object of past Iraqi aggression, and its close cooperation with the United States. Kuwait remains a key to the U.S. ability to act militarily in the northern Persian Gulf region now that all U.S. forces have left Iraq. Kuwait s relations with the post-Saddam government in Iraq have warmed significantly in recent years through resolution of many of the territorial, economic, and political issues from the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Although the threat from Iraq has abated, Kuwait is increasingly suspicious of Iranian intentions in the Gulf, aligning Kuwait with U.S. efforts to contain Iranian power in the Gulf. Still, Kuwait maintains relatively normal economic and political relations with Iran so as not to provoke it to take military action or to provide material support to pro-Iranian elements inside Kuwait. Regional issues were the focus of meeting between the Amir of Kuwait and President Obama on September 13, 2013, during the Amir s visit to Washington, DC. Domestically, Kuwait s political system has been in turmoil since 2006, taking the form mostly of opposition by many parliamentarians to the political dominance of the Al Sabah family but also broadening to visible public unrest in 2012-13. The disputes have produced repeated constitutional dissolutions of the National Assembly, which trigger new elections, the latest of which were held on July 27, 2013. The July elections followed a six-month period of significant public protests that challenged the Sabah regime s unilateral alteration of election rules to shape the prior elections December 1, 2012 to its advantage. The July 2013 elections produced a progovernment Assembly more amenable to working with the ruling family, apparently ushering in a period of renewed legislative and governmental action on longstanding issues.

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  • Government and Political Science

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