Kuwait


Kuwait

Infobox Country
native_name = دولة الكويت
"Dawlat al-Kuwayt"
conventional_long_name = State of Kuwait
common_name = Kuwait





symbol_type = Coat of arms


national_anthem = "Al-Nasheed Al-Watani"
official_languages = Arabic
demonym = Kuwaiti
capital = Kuwait City
latd=29 |latm=22 |lats=11 |latNS=N |longd=47 |longm=58 |longs=42 |longEW=E
government_type = Constitutional hereditary emirate [Nominal.]
leader_title1 = Emir
leader_name1 = Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
leader_title2 = Prime Minister
leader_name2 = Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah
sovereignty_type = Independence
established_event1 = from the UK
established_date1 = June 19, 1961
area_rank = 157th
area_magnitude = 1 E10
area_km2 = 17,818
area_sq_mi = 6,880
percent_water = negligible
population_estimate = 3,399,637Kuwaiti Citizens approx. one million (1,054,598) and approx. two million (2,345,039) non-nationals (31/12/2007).]
population_estimate_rank = n/a
population_estimate_year = 2007
population_census =
population_census_year =
population_density_km2 = 131
population_density_sq_mi = 339
population_density_rank = 68th
GDP_PPP = US$130.1 billion (CIA)
GDP_PPP_rank = 56th [ [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2001rank.html CIA - The World Factbook - Rank Order - GDP (purchasing power parity) ] ]
GDP_PPP_year = 2007
GDP_PPP_per_capita = US$39,300 (CIA)
GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = 9th
HDI = increase 0.891
HDI_rank = 33rd
HDI_year = 2007
HDI_category = high
currency = Kuwaiti dinar
currency_code = KWD
country_code =
time_zone = AST
utc_offset = +3
time_zone_DST = (not observed)
utc_offset_DST = +3
cctld = .kw
calling_code = 965
The State of Kuwait ( _ar. دولة الكويت; IPA: [Ipa| [dawlatt̪ alkuwajt̪] ) is a sovereign Arab emirate on the coast of the Persian Gulf, enclosed by Saudi Arabia to the south and Iraq to the north and west. The name is a diminutive of an Arabic word meaning "fortress built near water." [ [http://www.arab.de/arabinfo/kuwaithis.htm Kuwait (History) - the name is a diminutive of an Arabic word meaning fortress built near water ] ] It has a population of 3.1 million and an area of 17,818 km². Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government and Kuwait City serves as its political and economic capital.

Kuwait has the world's fifth largest proven oil reserves [Oil & Gas Journal, January, 2007] and is the ninth richest country in the world per capita. [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2004rank.html CIA - The World Factbook - Rank Order - GDP - per capita (PPP) ] ] Kuwait's oil fields were discovered and exploited in the 1930s and after it gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961, the nation's oil industry saw unprecedented growth. Petroleum and petroleum products now account for nearly 95% of export revenues, and 80% of government income. [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ku.html CIA - The World Factbook - Kuwait ] ]

In 1990, Kuwait was invaded and annexed by neighboring Iraq. The seven month-long Iraqi occupation came to an end after a direct military intervention by United States-led forces. Nearly 700 Kuwaiti oil wells were set ablaze by the retreating Iraqi army resulting in a major environmental and economic catastrophe. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/01/03/sproject.irq.kuwait.oil.fires/index.html CNN.com - Kuwait still recovering from Gulf War fires - Jan. 3, 2003 ] ] Kuwait's infrastructure was badly damaged during the war and had to be rebuilt. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/country_profiles/791053.stm BBC NEWS World | Middle East | Country profiles | Country profile: Kuwait ] ]

History

The history of Kuwait goes back to the year 1612. [http://www.kuwait-info.com/sidepages/nat_history.asp] Tribes from central Arabia settled in Kuwait in the 18th-century after experiencing a massive drought in their native land. These tribes came to be known as the "Utub of Qurain". Qurain, as Kuwait was known before, became a major center for spice trading between India and Europe. By late 18th-century, most of the local people made a living selling pearls. Because of internal conflicts and rivalry with the other rivaling dynasties of the Arabian Peninsula, Benu Khaled's influence over Kuwait gradually waned and the Utub gained greater independence. In 1756, the Utub elected Sabah I bin Jaber as the first emir of Kuwait. [ [http://www.kuwait-info.com/sidepages/nat_history.asp Kuwait's History ] ] The current ruling family of Kuwait, al-Sabah, are descendants of Sabah I.

During the rule of the al-Sabah, Kuwait progressively became a center of trade and commerce. It now served as a hub of trade between India, the horn of Africa, the Nejd, Mesopotamia and the Levant. Up until the advent of Japanese pearl farming, Kuwait had one of the largest sea fleets in the Persian Gulf region and a flourishing pearling industry. Trade consisted mainly of pearls, wood, spices, dates and horses.

As the influence of the Ottoman Empire increased in the region, Kuwait was assigned the status of a "caza" of the Ottomans. After the signing of the Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913, then emir of Kuwait, Mubarak Al-Sabah, was diplomatically recognized by both the Ottomans and British as the ruler of the autonomous "caza" of the city of Kuwait and the hinterlands. [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35876.htm Kuwait (06/07) ] ] The 1922 Treaty of Uqair set Kuwait's border with Saudi Arabia and also established the Saudi-Kuwaiti neutral zone, an area of about 5,180 km² adjoining Kuwait's southern border. Oil was first discovered in Kuwait in the 1930s and the government became more proactive in establishing internationally recognized boundaries. After World War 1, the Ottoman Empire was financially crippled and the invading [British] forces invalidated the Anglo-Ottoman Convention, declaring Kuwait to be an "independent sheikdom under British protectorate".

On June 19, 1961, Kuwait became fully independent following an exchange of notes between the United Kingdom and the then emir of Kuwait, Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah. The Gulf rupee, issued by the Reserve Bank of India, was replaced by the Kuwaiti dinar. The discovery of large oil fields, such as the Burgan field, triggered a large influx of foreign investments into Kuwait. The massive growth of the petroleum industry transformed Kuwait into one of the richest countries in the Arabian Peninsula and by 1952, the country became the largest exporter of oil in the Persian Gulf region. This massive growth attracted many foreign workers, especially from Egypt and India. Kuwait settled its boundary disputes with Saudi Arabia and agreed on sharing equally the neutral zone's petroleum reserves, onshore and offshore. After a brief stand-off over boundary issues, Iraq formally recognized Kuwait's independence and its borders in October 1963. During the 1970s, the Kuwaiti government nationalized the Kuwait Oil Company, ending its partnership with Gulf Oil and British Petroleum. In 1982, Kuwait experienced a major economic crisis after the Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash and decrease in oil price. [ [http://www.stock-market-crash.net/souk.htm Kuwait’s Souk al-Manakh Stock Bubble ] ] However, the crisis was short-lived as Kuwait's oil production increased steadily to fill the gap caused by decrease in Iraq's and Iran's oil production levels following the events of the Iran–Iraq War. In 1983, a series of six bomb explosions took place in Kuwait killing five people. The attack was carried out by Shiite Dawa Party to retaliate Kuwait's financial support to Iraq during its war with Iran. [Shireen T. Hunter, "Iran and the World: Continuity in a Revolutionary Decade", (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990), p.117]

Kuwait had heavily funded Iraq's eight year-long war with Iran. After the war ended, Kuwait declined an Iraqi request to forgive its US$65 billion debt. [ [http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_213.shtml Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait; 1990 ] ] An economic warfare between the two countries followed after Kuwait increased its oil production by 40 percent.http://books.google.com/books?id=DejCbO1mvCYC&pg=PA156&dq=Kuwait+slant+drilling&sig=81dk_v5ZZ1F0oRhxuR6Fq7z61Qs] Tensions between the two countries increased further after Iraq alleged that Kuwait was slant drilling oil from its share of the Rumaila field. On 2 August, 1990 Iraqi forces invaded and annexed Kuwait. Saddam Hussein, then President of Iraq, deposed the emir of Kuwait, Jaber Al-Sabah, and installed Ali Hassan al-Majid as the new governor of Kuwait. [ [http://cns.miis.edu/research/iraq/almajid.htm CNS - The Significance of the "Death" of Ali Hassan al-Majid ] ] After a series of failed diplomatic negotiations, the United States-led coalition of thirty-four nations fought the Persian Gulf War to remove the Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The coalition successfully liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation on February 26, 1991. [http://ehistory.osu.edu/middleeast/CountryView.cfm?ID=115 Kuwait ] ] Kuwait paid the coalition forces US$17 billion for their war efforts.

During their retreat, the Iraqi armed forces carried out a scorched earth policy by damaging 700 oil wells in Kuwait, of which approximately 600 were set on fire.http://earthshots.usgs.gov/Iraq/Iraqtext] It was estimated that by the time Kuwait was liberated from Iraqi occupation, about 5 to convert|6|Moilbbl|m3 of oil was being burned in a single day because of these fires. [http://www.american.edu/TED/kuwait.htm Kuwait Ted Case ] ] Oil and soot accumulation had affected the entire Persian Gulf region and large oil lakes were created holding approximately 25 to convert|50|Moilbbl|m3 of oil [ [http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2003/0321kuwaitfire.html NASA - Top Story - 1991 KUWAIT OIL FIRES - March 21, 2003 ] ] and covering 5% of Kuwait's land area. In total, about convert|11|Moilbbl|m3 of oil was released into the Persian Gulf [ [http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/gulf.war/legacy/environment/index.html CNN.com In-Depth Specials - Gulf War ] ] and an additional 2% of Kuwait's convert|96|Goilbbl|m3 of crude oil reserves were burned by the time the oil fires were brought under control. [ [http://www.espionageinfo.com/Ke-Lo/Kuwait-Oil-Fires-Persian-Gulf-War.html Kuwait Oil Fires, Persian Gulf War - █ further reading: ] ] The fires took more than nine months to extinguish fully and it took Kuwait more than 2 years and US$50 billion in infrastructure reconstruction to reach pre-invasion oil output. [http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?sf=2813&art_id=qw104820750289B262&click_id=2813&set_id=1] Kuwait has since largely recovered from the socio-economic, environmental, and public health effects of the Gulf war.

Politics

Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy and has the oldest directly elected parliament in the Persian Gulf region. The head of state is the "Emir" or "Sheikh", a hereditary office. The Emir appoints a Prime Minister, who until recently was also the "Crown Prince". A council of ministers, also known as cabinet ministers, aids the Prime Minister in his task as the head of Government of Kuwait which must contain at least one elected member of the Kuwaiti parliament, known as Majlis Al-Umma (National Assembly). The National Assembly has the power to dismiss the Prime Minister or any member of cabinet through a series of constitutional procedures. All cabinet ministers are answerable to the National Assembly. [http://www.meepas.com/Kuwaitpoliticalsnapshot.htm meepas Kuwait country profile–Kuwait politics, Political snapshot ] ]

The National Assembly consists of fifty elected members, who are chosen in elections held every four years. Government ministers are also granted membership in the parliament and can number up to sixteen excluding the fifty elected members. According to the Constitution of Kuwait, nomination of a new Emir or Crown Prince by the ruling Al-Sabah family has to be approved by the National Assembly. If the nominee does not win the votes of the majority of the assembly, the royal family must submit the names of three other candidates to the National Assembly, and the Assembly must approve one of them to hold the post. Any amendment to the constitution can be proposed by the Emir but it needs to be approved by more than two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly before being implemented. [ [http://www.majlesalommah.net/enrun.asp?id=226 National Assembly - Kuwait ] ] There have been several conflicts between the Emir, the government and the National Assembly over various policies. The National Assembly was suspended from 1976 to 1981, from 1986 to 1991 and from May 1999 to July 1999 due to irresolvable conflicts between some members of the government and the Assembly.

Two-thirds of Kuwait's population do not have citizenship and thus cannot vote in parliamentary elections. Additionally, prior to 2005, only 15% of the Kuwaiti citizen population was allowed to vote, with all women, "recently naturalized" citizens (i.e. those of less than thirty years' citizenship), and members of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces excluded. On May 16, 2005, Parliament permitted women's suffrage by a 35-23 vote, subject to official interpretation of Islamic law and effective for the 2006 parliamentary election. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/17/international/middleeast/17kuwait.html?pagewanted=print Kuwait Grants Political Rights to Its Women - New York Times ] ] The decision raised Kuwait's eligible voter population from 139,000 to about 339,000. In 2006, Kuwaiti citizens were estimated to be more than 960,000. In 2005, the former Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah announced the appointment of first women, Massouma Mubarak, as a cabinet minister. She was designated the post of Planning Minister and Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs. [ [http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=17117 The Daily Star - Opinion Articles - Women's suffrage means deep change in Kuwaiti politics ] ] During the 2008 parliamentary elections, 27 of the 275 candidates were women. However, none of them won. [ [http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=217873&Sn=WORL&IssueID=31060 Gulf Daily News ] ]

Geography

Located in the north-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Kuwait is one of the smallest countries in the world in terms of land area. The flat, sandy Arabian Desert covers most of Kuwait. Kuwait is the only country in the world which has no natural lake or water reservoir. [ [http://www.canadiancontent.net/profiles/Kuwait.html Kuwait - Quick facts, statistics and cultural notes ] ] There is little difference in the country's altitude with the highest point in the country being 306 m above sea-level. It has nine islands, all of which with the exception of Failaka Island are uninhabited. [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-82709/Bubiyan Bubiyan (island, Kuwait) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] With an area of 860 km², the Bubiyan is the largest island in Kuwait and is connected to the rest of the country by a 2,380 m long bridge. [ [http://en.structurae.de/structures/data/index.cfm?ID=s0000613 Structurae [en: Bubiyan Bridge (1983) ] ] Sparse vegetation is found along its 499 km long coastline. Kuwait City is located on Kuwait Bay, a natural deep-water harbor.

The land area is considered arable. Kuwait has some of the world's richest oil fields with the Burgan field having a total capacity of approximately convert|70|Goilbbl|m3 of proven oil reserves. During the 1991 Kuwait oil fires, more than 500 oil lakes were created covering a combined surface area of about 35.7 km². [ [http://encarta.msn.com/sidebar_761594234/Kuwaiti_Oil_Lakes.html Kuwaiti Oil Lakes - Sidebar - MSN Encarta ] ] The resulting soil contamination due to oil and soot accumulation had made eastern and south-eastern parts of Kuwait uninhabitable. Sand and oil residue had reduced large parts of the Kuwaiti desert to semi-asphalt surfaces. The oil spills during the Gulf war also had drastically affected Kuwait's marine resources. [ [http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761563200_2/Kuwait_(country).html Kuwait (country) - MSN Encarta ] ]

Kuwait has a warm tropical climate. Summer, which last from April to September, is extremely hot and dry with temperatures easily crossing 55 °C (131 °F) in the desert station of Mitribah during daytime. [ [http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761563200/Kuwait_(country).html Kuwait (country) - MSN Encarta ] ] Winter season, from November through February, is cool with some precipitation and average temperatures around 13 °C (56 °F) with extremes from -2 °C to 27 °C. Annual rainfall averages less than 127 mm and occurs chiefly between October and April. [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-45144/Kuwait Kuwait :: Climate - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] The spring season in March is warm and pleasant with occasional thunderstorms. The frequent winds from the northwest are cool in winter and spring and hot in summer. Southeasterly winds, usually hot and damp, spring up between July and October; hot and dry south winds prevail in spring and early summer. The shamal, a northwesterly wind common during June and July, causes dramatic sandstorms.

Governorates

Kuwait is divided into six governorates ("muhafazat", sing. "muhafadhah"):
* Al Ahmadi
* Al Farwaniyah
* Al Asimah
* Al Jahra
* Hawalli
* Mubarak Al-Kabeer

The governorates are subdivided into districts.

The major cities are the capital Kuwait City and Jahrah (a thirty-minute drive northwest of Kuwait City). The main residential and business areas are Salmiya and Hawalli. The main industrial area is Shuwaikh within the Al Asimah Governorate. The main palace is the As-Seef Palace in the old part of Kuwait City where the Emir runs the daily matters of the country whilst the government headquarters are in the Bayan Palace and the Emir lives in Dar Salwa.

Economy

Kuwait is a highly industrialized country with a GDP (PPP) of US$138.6 billion [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/ku.html CIA - The World Factbook - Kuwait ] ] and a per capita income of US$39,300, making it the fourth richest country in the world. Kuwait's human development index (HDI) stands at 0.871, the second highest in Middle East, after Israel and the highest in the Arab world. With a GDP growth rate of 5.7%, Kuwait has one of the fastest growing economies in the region. According to the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom, Kuwait has the second-most free economy in the Middle East. [ [http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/country.cfm?id=Kuwait Index of Economic Freedom ] ] In March 2007, Kuwait's foreign exchange reserves stood at US$213 billion. [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jI7mKGXJeZVPX7byJfK3_jl1RU5Q AFP: Kuwait plans 77 billion dollar 'City of Silk' ] ] The Kuwait Stock Exchange, which has about 200 firms listed, is the second-largest stock exchange in the Arab world with a total market capitalization of US$235 billion. [ [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gMAVPh33JPeYgGbSc3XLOgTRcP6A AFP: Kuwaiti stocks end week on record high ] ] In 2007, the Kuwaiti government posted a budget surplus of US$43 billion. [ [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hb3ISwr0QiNj-lErPVrAAiHKphAg AFP: Kuwait posts record 72 billion dollar income ] ]

Kuwait has a proven crude oil reserves of 104 billion barrels (15 km³), estimated to be 10% of the world's reserves. According to the Kuwaiti constitution, all natural resources in the country and associated revenues are government property. [ [http://www.majlesalommah.net/enrun.asp?id=223 National Assembly - Kuwait ] ] Being a tax-free country, Kuwait's oil industry accounts for 80% of government revenue. Petroleum and petrochemicals accounts for nearly half of GDP and 95% of export revenues. Increases in oil price since 2003 has caused a surge in Kuwait's economy. [ [http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/summary_0198-219916_ITM Sparking the recovery: high oil prices are generating wealth for Kuwait and facilitating a massive construction programme. How is the country's electricity infrastructure placed to cope with the new demands that will be made upon it? - Journal, Magazine, Article, Periodical ] ] Kuwait's current oil production of 2.8 million bpd is expected to increase to 4 million bpd by 2020. [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/companyNews/idUSL0425775720080204 UPDATE 2-Kuwait keeps 2020 oil capacity aim despite problems Reuters ] ] To realize this production target, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation plans to spend US$51 billion between 2007 to 2012 to upgrade and expand the country's existing refineries. [ [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iwF-Yd3H2__0c-QDvThCQV8fhnaA AFP: Kuwait to spend $51 bln on oil development ] ] Other major industries include shipping, construction, cement, water desalination, construction materials and financial services. Kuwait's climate limits agricultural development. Consequently, with the exception of fish, it depends almost wholly on food imports. About 75% of potable water must be distilled or imported. The government is keen on decreasing Kuwait's dependence on oil to fuel its economy by transforming it into a regional trading and tourism hub. The planned US$77 billion "City of Silk" is the largest real estate development project in the Middle East. The Central Bank of Kuwait issues Kuwait’s currency, the Kuwaiti dinar. In December 2007, the dinar was the highest valued currency unit in the world. [Floating exchange rate data taken from [http://www.xe.com www.xe.com] on December 22, 2007.]

In 2007, estimated exports stood at US$59.97 billion and imports were around US$17.74 billion. Petroleum, petrochemical products, fertilizers and financial services are major export commodities. Kuwait imports a wide range of products ranging from food products and textiles to machinery. Kuwait's most important trading partners are Japan, United States, India, South Korea, Singapore, China, European Union and Saudi Arabia. Japan is the largest customer of Kuwaiti oil followed by India, Singapore and South Korea. [ [http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Kuwait/Oil.html Kuwait Energy Data, Statistics and Analysis - Oil, Gas, Electricity, Coal ] ]

Demographics

As of 2007, Kuwait's population was estimated to be 3 to 3.5 million people which included approximately 2 million non-nationals.cite web| url=http://www.arabtimesonline.com/arabtimes/kuwait/Viewdet.asp?ID=7168&cat=a |title= Kuwait population hits 2.992 m; Citizens up in number, down in percentage |author=Arab Times Online |accessdate=2007-10-07] Kuwaiti citizens are therefore a minority of those who reside in Kuwait. The government rarely grants citizenship to foreigners to maintain status quo. [ [http://www.justlanded.com/english/Kuwait/Tools/Just-Landed-Guide/Visas-Permits/Citizenship Kuwait Guide: Citizenship, Is it possible to become a national of Kuwait? As a foreigner, you won’t be grant ] ]

About 57% of the Kuwaiti population is Arab, 39% Asian (including people from South Asia), and 4% are classified Bidoon. Bidoons are a group of stateless Arab residents of Kuwait. Other large groups of expatriates include Assyrians, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Filipinos. In 2003, more than 400,000 Indian nationals lived in Kuwait,cite web| url=http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2003/03/21/stories/2003032101971700.htm |title=Special flight from Kuwait lands in Kochi |author=The Hindu: Business Line |accessdate=2007-10-07] making them the largest expatriate community there.cite web| url=http://www.kuwait-info.com/sidepages/embassy_services.asp |title=Kuwait Embassy Office, New Delhi, India, Services |author=Kuwait Information Office, New Delhi, India |accessdate=2007-10-07] After Kuwait was liberated from Iraqi occupation, most of the 400,000 Palestinians living in Kuwait were expelled because of their government's open support for the Iraqi forces. Only a few thousand Palestinians remain in Kuwait. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4089961.stm BBC NEWS Middle East | Abbas apology to Kuwait over Iraq ] ] The population of ethnic Armenians in Kuwait also shrank drastically following the events of the Iraq-Kuwait war.cite web| url=http://www.agbu.org/publications/article.asp?A_ID=111 |title=The Armenians of Kuwait: Rebuilding after the Gulf War |author=Armenian General Benevolent Union |accessdate=2007-10-07]

80% of Kuwait's population practices Islam. Despite Islam being a state religion, [ [http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2005/51603.htm http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2005/51603.htm] ] Kuwait has large communities of Christians (est. 300,000 to 400,000), Hindus (est. 300,000), Buddhists (est. 100,000), and Sikhs (est. 10,000).cite web| url=http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2006/71425.htm |title=Kuwait: International Religious Freedom Report 2006 |author=U.S. Department of State |accessdate=2007-10-07] Of the Muslims in Kuwait, 70% are Sunni and 30% are Shia Muslims. Kuwait's official language is Arabic, though English is widely spoken. Other important languages include Persian, Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Urdu,Bengali, and Filipino.

Culture

Being a highly cosmopolitan society, Kuwait has a diverse and vibrant culture. However, the influence of Islamic and Arab culture on its architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle is prominent. [http://www.kuwait-info.com/sidepages/culture_over.asp] The most distinctive characteristic of local Kuwaiti culture are the "diwaniyas", a large reception room used for social gatherings attended mostly by close family members. While the Islamic dress code is not compulsory, unlike neighboring Saudi Arabia, many Kuwaiti men prefer wearing "thawb", an ankle-length white shirt woven from wool or cotton while some women wear "abaya", black over-garment covering most parts of the body. This attire is particularly well-suited for Kuwait's hot and dry climate. [ [http://www.kuwaitiah.net/culture.html Kuwait Culture ] ] Western-style clothing is also fairly popular, especially among Kuwait's youth. Seafood has been the mainstay of the Kuwaiti diet for centuries. [ [http://www.amideast.org/offices/kuwait/saud/food.htm Kuwaiti Food ] ] The Arabs in the Persian Gulf region played a crucial role in the spice trade between India and Europe and spices have remained an important ingredient of Kuwaiti cuisine. Traditional Kuwaiti cuisine includes "Machboos" or "Kabsa" which borrows heavily from South Asian cuisine.

Before the discovery of oil, pearling formed a crucial part of Kuwait's economy. Pearl fishery, known as "ghaus", suffered decline after the advent of Japanese pearl farming.http://www.kuwait-info.com/sidepages/culture_heritage.asp] However, Kuwait's pearl industry laid the foundation of its rich maritime history. "Dhows", large wooden ships made from teak wood imported from India, became an indistinct part of Kuwait's maritime fleet and dhow building is still practiced in this Persian Gulf state. [ [http://www.kuwaitboom.com/history/eng_ver/eng_main.htm The Kuwaiti history by:QUSAY ALASWAD ] ] Kuwait's architecture is largely inspired by Islamic architecture. The most prominent landmark in country, the Kuwait Towers, were designed by Swedish architect Sune Lindström and are a unique blend of traditional minaret and modern architectural designs. The National Assembly of Kuwait, another famous landmark building, was designed by the famous Jørn Utzon and completed in 1972. Sawt is the most prominent style of Kuwaiti music and is performed by "'ud" (plucked lute) and "mirwas" (a drum), with a violin later supplementing the arrangement. The Bedouins are known for an instrument called the "rubabah", while the use of "oud", "tanbarah" (string instrument) and "habban" (bagpipe) are also widespread.cite web|accessmonthday=September 27 |accessyear=2005|title=Art and Craft|work=Kuwaitinfo.com|url=http://www.kuwait-info.com/sidepages/culture_artcraft.asp]

Transportation

Kuwait has an extensive, modern and well-maintained network of highways. Roadways extended 5,749 km, of which 4,887 km is paved. In 2000, there were some 552,400 passenger cars, and 167,800 commercial taxis, trucks, and buses in use. Since there is no railway system in the country, most of the people travel by automobiles. [http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Asia-and-Oceania/Kuwait-TRANSPORTATION.html Kuwait - Transportation ] ] The government plans to construct US$11 billion rail network which will include a city metro for its capital. [ [http://www.reuters.com/article/newIssuesNews/idUSL0455120120080204 Kuwait eyes $11 bln rail network, city metro Deals | IPOs | Reuters ] ] Bus services are provided by City Bus and state-owned Kuwait Public Transportation Corporation. [ [http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Middle_East/Kuwait/Transportation-Kuwait-BR-1.html Kuwait Transportation - Travel Guide - VirtualTourist.com ] ]

There are a total of seven airports in the country, of which four have paved runways. Kuwait International Airport serves as the principal hub for international air travel. State-owned Kuwait Airways is the largest airline in the country. In 2001, the airline carried 2,084,600 passengers on domestic and international flights. In 2004, the first private airline of Kuwait, Jazeera Airways, was launched. [ [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002594401_kuwait31.html The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: First flight for Kuwait's Jazeera Airways ] ] In 2005, the second private airline, Wataniya Airways of Kuwait was founded.

Kuwait has one of the largest shipping industries in the Persian Gulf region. The Kuwait Ports Public Authority manages and operates ports across Kuwait. [http://www.arab.net/kuwait/kt_kppa.htm] The country’s principal commercial seaports are Shuwaikh and Shuaiba which handled combined cargo of 753,334 TEU in 2006. [ [http://www.arabianbusiness.com/13916-kuwaits-ports-continue-to-break-records- Kuwait's ports continue to break records - Transportation - ArabianBusiness.com ] ] Mina Al-Ahmadi, the largest port in the country, handles most of Kuwait's oil exports. [ [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/mina-al-ahmadi.htm Mina Al Ahmadi, Kuwait ] ] Construction of another major port located in Bubiyan island started in 2005. The port is expected to handle 1.3 million TEU when operation starts in 2008. [ [http://www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/weekly01.asp?id=1159 Emerging Markets Economic Briefings ] ]

Education

Oil revenues have allowed Kuwait to build an extensive educational system, yielding a literacy rate of 83.5 percent. There are many private schools in Kuwait, including The English School,cite web| url=http://www.tes.edu.kw |title=Welcome |author=The English School, Kuwait |accessdate=2007-10-07] which was the first private school to open in Kuwait. Other private schools include the Fahaheel Al-Watanieh Indian Private School (Delhi Public School),Indian Educational School(Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan) Jabriya Indian School, Indian Community School,A'Takamul International School, Al-Bayan Bilingual School, The English Academy, Dasman Model School (Bilingual), Gulf Indian School, Carmel School (Kuwait),cite web| url=http://carmelschoolkwt.com/ |title= Carmel School, Kuwait; Profile |author=Carmel School |accessdate=2008-01-06] The British School of Kuwait, Kuwait English School, The Gulf English School, [http://www.abs.edu.kw The American Bilingual School] The American School of Kuwait,,cite web| url=http://www.ask.edu.kw |title=Welcome |author=American School of Kuwait |accessdate=2007-12-26] American International School, universal American school, and The New English School. All private schools offer different and competitive programs, and whilst each school strives to be the best at private education, different parents and expatriates naturally prefer different private schools. Public schooling is free and compulsory from the age of 5 to 18, and several private schools also teach this age group. Kuwait University is Kuwait's only public university. The medical school in particular, provides up-to-date training for students.Fact|date=October 2007 However, both the extensive library system at Kuwait University and the collection at the Kuwait National Museum (1957) were heavily damaged and looted during the Iraqi occupation in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Other universities in Kuwait include the American University of Kuwait, the Gulf University for Science and Technology, the Australian College of Kuwait, the Arab Open University (AOU) and the AUM.

The Gulf University for Science and Technology was the first private university established in Kuwait in 2002. It currently has two campuses in Hawalli and a third campus in Mishref where the Australian College of Kuwait is also located. The American University of Kuwait opened in 2004 with Dr. Shafeeq Al-Ghabra as founding president. The Australian College of Kuwait also opened in 2004 and there are more universities and colleges being discussed. [http://www.bhck.edu.kw Box Hill College Kuwait] , an Australian women's college, opened its doors in September 2007 in Abu Halifa. It is an accredited extended campus of Box Hill TAFE, Australia, and offers internationally recognized qualifications.

In September 2008, the American University of the Middle East will open in the suburb of Egaila. This will be followed by a satellite campus of Algonquin College in 2009.

Media

Kuwait has one of the most vocal and transparent media in the Arab World. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/country_profiles/791053.stm BBC NEWS Middle East | Country profiles | Country profile: Kuwait ] ] In 2007, Kuwait was ranked second in the Middle East after Israel in the freedom of press index. [ [http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=24025 Reporters sans frontières - Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index - 2007 ] ] Though the government funds several leading newspapers and satellite channels, [ [http://www.kuwait-info.com/sidepages/media_over.asp Kuwait Media overview ] ] Kuwaiti journalists enjoy greater freedom than their regional counterparts. State-owned Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) is the largest media house in the country. The Ministry of Information regulates all media and communication industry in Kuwait. [ [http://www.kuwait-info.com/sidepages/media_mininfo.asp Kuwait Media, Ministry of Information, Muhammad Abbas Abulhassan ] ]

In 1998, there were 6 AM and 11 FM radio stations and 13 television stations. In 2000, there were 624 radios and 486 television sets for every 1,000 people. In 2001, there were 165,000 Internet subscribers served by three service providers. [http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Asia-and-Oceania/Kuwait-MEDIA.html Kuwait - Media ] ] Kuwait has ten satellite television channels of which four are controlled by the Ministry of Information. State-owned Kuwait Television (KTV) offered first colored broadcast in 1974 and operates three television channels. Government-funded Radio Kuwait also offers daily informative programming in four foreign languages including Persian, Urdu, Tagalog and English on the AM and SW.

In 1998, Kuwait had eight major daily newspapers in circulation of which two were in English and six were in Arabic. In 2002, the "Arab Times" was the most popular English daily, followed by the "Kuwait Times". "Al-Anabaa", with a circulation of 106,800 copies, was the most widely read Arabic daily. A press law forbids insulting references to God and Islamic prophet Muhammad. Another law which made leading newspaper publishers eligible for hefty fines for criticizing the ruling family was lifted in 1992. Leading newspapers continue to impose self-restraint while being critical of the emir. [ [http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/spring06/eisa/media.html About Kuwait- Media ] ] However, no such restraint is observed while criticizing the government.

ee also

columns |width=250px |g

col1 =
* Communications in Kuwait
* Foreign relations of Kuwait
* Geography of Kuwait
* Human rights in Kuwait
* Kuwait Boy Scouts Association
* Kuwait Girl Guides Association
* Kuwaiti architecture
col2 =
* Kuwaiti Family Committee
* List of Kuwaiti companies
* List of Kuwaitis
* Madinat al-Hareer
* Military of Kuwait
* Gulf War
* Postal history and stamps
* Transportation in Kuwait

References

External links

*

[http://www.kuwaitfridaymarket.com/ Kuwait Online Market

]
* [http://www.ekyp.com/ Kuwait Yellow Pages Guide]
* [http://www.da.gov.kw/eng/ The Office of the Amir of Kuwait]
* [http://www.travelfirst.com/sub/kuwaitair.html Kuwait Airways]
*
*
*

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  • Kuwait — Persian Gulf country, named for its capital city (said to have been founded in current form 1705), which is from Arabic al kuwayt, dim. of kut, a word used in southern Iraq and eastern Arabia for a fortress like house surrounded by a settlement… …   Etymology dictionary

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