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Political Kuwait before and after oil - Essay Example

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Kuwait as an oil rich but small country is flanked by powerful or large states, including Iran to the East, Iraq to the north, while to the south is Saudi Arabia. First exploited in the early to mid 1930s, Kuwait’s petroleum industry was further developed following the end of…
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Political Kuwait before and after oil
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Download file to see previous pages Prior to the discovery of oil in Kuwait, their political structure was that different political classes were indebted to one another. This included the pearl divers, the captains, the merchants, the international merchants, and the ruling family, including the Sheikh. The entire political and governance structure was supported by debt that could not be rapid due to its amount. This, however, changed with discovery of oil as the government began to distribute wealth deliberately among all its recognized citizens. Kuwait also became a welfare state, while money was also funneled into the private sector through land purchases from the government at inflated prices (Slot 106). This worked to wipe out almost all debts owed by citizens.
Prior to the discovery of oil, the Sheikh in Kuwait carried out all the executive functions of government, including the arbitration of disputes, using customary rules. Those disputes that he felt were covered under Sharia law were sent to the judges, although this was only to allow him make an informed and just decision (Slot 102). For this reason, it was important that the ruler availed himself to the people through open Majlis that enabled them to present grievances and disputes directly to the ruler. However, with the discovery of oil, government work expanded rapidly to include numerous agencies as required. The machinery of government diversified to include the Supreme Council that was constituted by various heads of government agencies. The Supreme Council became almost like a Politburo in that it reflected sharing of power among individuals linked to the ruling family, while the Amir’s continued absence from its sittings gave it a level of independence despite his continued chairmanship. In a further change to political structure away from the centralized figure of the Amir, the Organizing Body was formed to reform government ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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