Since the Bush I White House (whose national security affairs advisor, Brent Scowcroft, was a former board member of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s Santa Fe International subsidiary) used the U.S. high-technology war machine to bring the Al-Sabah dynasty back into power in Kuwait in 1991, the pace of political democratization within Kuwait has been slow. As late as March 8,, 2006, for instance, even the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Kuwait for 2005 described the political situation in Kuwait under the Al-Sabah Dynasty’s rule in the following way:
“Kuwait is a constitutional, hereditary emirate ruled by the al-Sabah family, which governs in consultation with prominent families and the elected National Assembly. The 1962 constitution grants the emir executive and legislative authority and permits dissolution of the elected National Assembly by decree.
“Kuwait has a population of 2.9 million residents, approximately 970 thousand of whom are citizens. During the July 2003 parliamentary elections, the electorate consisted of approximately 143 thousand male citizens, and there were no political parties….The government and the opposition reportedly bought votes…
“Following the 2003 elections, the emir appointed a new prime minister whose authority the crown prince previously held. The prime minister appoints all officials in the executive branch…
“The constitution provides for some judicial independence; however, the emir appoints all judges, and the Ministry of Justice must approve the renewal of most judicial appointments.
“While civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces, there were some instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of government authority.
“The government improved its human rights record by granting women the right to vote; however, serious problems remained. The following human rights problems were reported: no right to change the government; abuse of and alleged torture of detainees; official impunity; poor prison conditions in certain facilities; restricted civil liberties--freedoms of speech, press, assembly and association; limited freedom of religion and of movement; corruption; violence and discrimination against women, especially noncitizens; abuse of noncitizen domestic workers; unresolved legal status of bidoon Arabs; and restricted worker rights.
“On May 16 , the National Assembly approved legislation to grant women the right to vote and seek elected office; however, women were not eligible to vote in the June 2  municipal council elections because the annual February voter registration period had passed.”
Next: Kuwait Inc.’s Special Influence in the U.S.A. Historically—Part 1
James and the Twenty-Seven Bicycles
6 years ago