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Kuwait from above, Dec. 24, 2008 (Flickr photo by lin84 licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0).

Pushing the Limits: The Changing Rules of Kuwait’s Politics

Thursday, March 17, 2016

In 2016, Kuwait faces a combination of domestic and regional challenges arising from looming uncertainty over succession, the decline in international oil prices and the threat from radical groups such as the so-called Islamic State. Each of those issues has the potential to bring an end to the relative political stability that Kuwait has enjoyed since its most recent legislative election in July 2013.

The risk for Kuwait’s ruling officials is that the intervening years of political calm have masked, but not resolved, many of the underlying socio-political and economic triggers of discontent that surfaced in 2011 and 2012 and could yet recur. Moreover, the Kuwaiti government has, in its domestic politics, increasingly echoed the authoritarian tendencies of other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states—behavior that clashes with the relative political openness that historically distinguished Kuwait from its regional neighbors. ...

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