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The History of Kuwait and Iraq's Political Relationship

The research paper using your skills of analysis and critical thinking in political science is a standard UMUC requirement?

The title of the research is “How Kuwait is a danger to world peace”. The relationship between the two countries (Iraq and Kuwait) has been through many highs and lows which are mainly driven by their national interests. Kuwait has always seen Iraq as a political heavyweight and when in 1980 a war broke between Iran and Iraq, Kuwait chooses to be on a neutral stance. But all efforts to mediate and reach a settlement were in vain and Kuwait was targeted with missiles which ominously threatened the stability and security of the country. Kuwait grew suspicious of Iran and announced its material, moral and political support to Iraq which resulted in direct tensions between Kuwait and Iran. The situation of support and friendship between Iraq and Kuwait however changed in 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Even after a decade later the tensions between the two countries are plagued with increasing levels of religious militarism and sectarianism. Many statements regarding “astounding success” of peaceful talks between the two countries are spreading recently but even after that there is a constant absence of confidence as Kuwait is fearful of Iraq post the invasion in 1990. Issues like Iraq asking Kuwait for compensation are just adding to the tensions that already exist between the two countries.

In the 1990’s Kuwait was being ruled by Emirate which is a similar to sultanate or monarchy. It is a government in which Emir has the supreme power. He is the ruler of the state. He may be a sovereign or an absolute overload with limited powers. Kuwait was invaded by Iraq on 2nd August, 1990 and then the monarchy that was ruling the country was deposed. In their place a puppet ruler with the name “Alaa Hussein Ali” was appointed as the head of the new “Provisional Government of Free Kuwait”. The Emirate of Kuwait along with a major portion of the army was annexed. The ruling family was the Al Sabah family. Even after months of tensions between the two countries the Kuwait government was not alert and were caught unaware of the attack. The Dasman palace was attacked by the Iraqi troops but the Emir of Kuwait named Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah had fled the country with his family.

Iraq was being ruled by Saddam Hussein who was a dictator. Dictatorship is a form of government in which a small clique or ruler holds the solemn and absolute power. His powers are not limited by laws or constitution. He made spurious claims on the Kuwaiti land. Many claim that he had made a decision to invade Kuwait months prior to the actual invasion and accusation of the slant drilling. After the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq was under an international debt of 80 billion US dollars. Along with that Iraq had a 14 billion dollar individual debt from Kuwait. Saddam Hussein asked the UN to dismiss the debts as in he said that Iraq had prevented the Arab countries from an imminent Iranian invasion. (Pollack, 2002)But neither Kuwait nor the UN supported Iraq, this fueled the invasion of Kuwait as Iraq was not in a condition to repay any of its debts. Many believe that the invasion was motivated by the fact that Iraq wanted to claim the oil reserves of Kuwait. Saddam Hussein later tried to justify the invasion by claiming that Kuwait was a part of Iraq that was carved off by the British imperialism. (Gause, 2005)

Iraq's Invasion of Kuwait in 1990

The governance type in Iraq at present is Parliamentary democracy. It is a multi party system where the executive power is held by the Prime Minister who is the head of the government. The President has a council of representatives and holds the legislative power. The chief of state or the current President of the country is President Fuad Masum.The present Prime Minister of Iraq is Haider al-Abadi who is the executive authority and has appointed a council of ministers who acts as the government or cabinet. The local government is based on subdivisions of governorates and regions. Both governorates and regions are given additional power and are given broad autonomy. The additional powers such as internal security forces including guards, police and security forces are provided to the regions and governorates. But recent research has proven that the Iraqi government is one of the most corrupt Governments in the Entire Middle East. (Gregory, 2004)

The type of governance in Kuwait at present is a constitutional one with a parliamentary system. The chief of state is Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah and the prince is Nawafal-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah. The head of the government is the Prime Minister who is Jabir Al-Mubarak al-Hamad al-Sabah. The Emir is a position that is held by people from a same family as it is a hereditary position. It is the Emir who appoints the Prime Ministers and other ministers. Over the past few years in Kuwait there is an increasing presence of oppositions with many street protests against the ruling family being held by young people. Many claim that Kuwait has a dysfunctional politics that is coming to its end as it may not even survive till its term ends. There is factionalism that is within the ruling family that is blamed for the confrontations. People blame the Emir and the ruling family as the government is formed by ministers that are from the same family with only a few new additions every now and then. (Herb, 1999)They are chosen on the basis of pleasing the key alliances and the current parliament. The opposition whereas consists of activists Salafis, Tribal populists, some leftists and youth movements which have been plagued with the erratic decision making and internal divisions. The ruling government is being benefitted by this internal strife and has always encouraged defections. The desire for stability by the citizens is also benefitting the government as many citizens fear of consequences like Syria, Libya and Egypt. Still the divided and weakened opposition has not collapsed yet. They regularly call for constitutional amendments that many Kuwaitis are not ready or prepared to follow.

Iraq

The sectarian rivalry along with the conflict that is going on at present in Iraq has made it a regional crisis that has many global implications. Shia and Sunni populations are quarrelling from the past few years. But with the rapid advance of ISIS that is a Sunni Muslim Militant group has completely changed the power balance in the country. (Curwin, 2014) This group is not only threatening the integrity and security of Iraq but on a wider prospect threatening many other countries on a global level. It is an emerging humanitarian crisis as Iraq is heading in the same direction as Syria if the international community takes no action. The conflicts are not localized as many extremists from North America, Europe and Eurasia are flooding the conflict affected areas to support ISIS. This is a security crisis as these individuals are then bringing the skills acquired through these conflict zones to their origin country. These extremists are being trained by ISIS commandos to spread terror in their origin country.

Current Political Landscape and Governance Types in Kuwait and Iraq

The situation is highly uncertain as it is complex and volatile and any outcomes which occur can lead to loss of human lives and investment. Some of the commercial implications are that the environment and living conditions will deteriorate not only in Iraq but in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Jordan. The arms industry that has its ties globally into many developed countries like US will receive a boost in their sales with weapons like automatic rifles and drones. These weapons of destruction can be used against anyone irrespective of their origin and country of residence. The capital use will detract from growth and will be subjected towards fighting these forces. Intra regional trade, tourism, remittances and investment jobs will be adversely affected. Energy prices will increase as a major portion of the world’s supply of oil is coming from Iraq. The increase in violence and destruction is causing the severe constraint on commercial activity in Iraq. Tourists and migrant labour flow has decreased not only in Iraq but even in neighbouring countries like Lebanon and Jordon. Many countries that have strong ties with Iraq are experiencing fall in oppurtunities of profits and cash flow. On a global level the increasing oil prices are a major concern and with the present situation we can expect a “Iraq” premium to be added soon. Due to the present disruption and attacks from ISIS on refineries are causing oil shortage locally. There is a constant shortage of electricity, heating oil and petrol. This civil war is costing Iraq as well as others countries.

Kuwait

Kuwait as country is dependent on the export of the petroleum products and oil for the stabilization of its economy. Kuwait is the second smallest OPEC country but it is the 10th largest producer of petroleum products. But recently due to diminishing foreign investment and delays in many projects the country has struggled to boost its supply. There is a ban on the foreign ownership of its revenues or resources but the government is trying to increase foreign participation through service and technical contracts. The majority of the crude oil that the country produces is exported to the Asian markets. The country is taking steps to establish itself as a regional center for excellence in areas of trade, finance and energy. The government is supporting social programs and projects to streamline global trade and infrastructure projects. It is not all about growth in Kuwait as recently the country has been a topic of discussion in the international forum due to its relationship to the terror funding of many groups. Many believe that Qatar economic and military help to many of the Syrian and Iraq terror groups are the reason of the heightened terror presence. Gerald Mueller a German development minister accused Qatar of funding ISIS. There are no present evidences suggesting that ISIS or any other terror group is getting funding from Qatar but many of the powerful individuals of the country have a soft corner for the terrorists. According to a wikileaks document Qatar has the worst record when it comes to counter terrorism cooperation with the United States of America. Qatar is being complicit on the rise of Jihadi groups. Kuwait is being continuosly accused of funding terror groups and torturing, beating and curtailing the rights of its citizens. They openly refuse to ban Revival of Islamic Heritage Society that is a charity set up by a Al-Qaida bankroller. Many high profile Kuwaitis openly support and finance terror groups like Al Nusra. The crimes relating to human rights are also in news from Kuwait where people are beheaded for crimes like sorcery. At one end where the Saudi Arab countries are giving 100 million to the UN program for anti terror whereas on the other hand Saudi donors are at the top for funding Sunni terror groups worldwide.

Conclusion

As a political scientist in my opinion Kuwait poses an international threat to US as they are up to their necks in complicity with terror groups and terrorism as a whole. Qatar has surfaced out as the hub for terror funding but even after the increasing international pressure the generous supporters of these terrorists are not stopping. This small oil state is channeling huge amounts of money that is laundered and disguised a humanitarian charity. It is the financial Mecca for the Sunni terror groups. These groups like ISIS are posing a threat to not only US but the entire world and they are getting their power from Kuwait. Many like Soren Esperson who is the speaker for Danish People party accuses Qatar to officially support the Islamic state. The US treasury department has regularly published documents showing transactions between Qatar and the terrorists. These terror groups are then using this money to train foreign terrorists in Turkey and Syria. They are then sent back to their origin country to spread terror. Qatar is openly supporting this so called “holy war” as they supply arms as well as financial aid to these terror groups.

References

Curwin, D. (2014). ‘ISIS in Iraq: A Regional Crisis with Global Implications’. Human Security Centre Policy Brief , 2-5.

Gause, F. G. (2005). "The International Politics of the Gulf". International Relations of the Middle East , 263–274.

Gregory, D. (2004). The Colonial Present: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq. Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Herb, M. (1999). All in the Family: Absolutism, Revolution, and Democracy in Middle Eastern Monarchies. US : Suny press.

Pollack, K. M. (2002). Arabs at war: Military Effectiveness (1948–91). London: University of Nebraska Press.

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