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r, increased need for labour with economic expansion and reconstruction after the Iraqi invasion drew new labour from Asia, after which immigrants made up at least a third of Kuwait’s population increase. The Bedouin is another component of Kuwaiti society, such as the Mutair, the Awazim, and the Ajman, who are well represented in the Kuwaiti assembly and cabinet (p.596). They continue to retain their tribal values despite increased urbanization and integration.
Traditionally perceived as government allies, Bedouins been granted welfare benefits and citizenship, although latter developments have seen some sections become critical of government. Another component is made up of the Shiites from KSA, Bahrain, and Iran that makes up a substantial minority and whose resistance to Iraqi invasion despite religious affiliations improved their standing in Kuwaiti society (p.597). Another component, the Bidun, never attained formal citizenship documents, thus is referred to as stateless. Their fate is still not settled and attempts to gain citizenships have been repressed by the government. Merchants also play role in society and, although their political role was undermined by the discovery of oil, their economic role is still significant in financial institutions and Kuwaiti privatization efforts (p.598). Finally, Islamists are an increasingly powerful component force in Kuwaiti society, despite the manifest Sunni-Shiite religious divide.
From this discussion, it is evident that the Islamist component has the biggest role to play in Kuwait’s political future. This trend was started by co-option into government to fight the nationalist threat in the assembly, as well as the increasingly prominent role of the Bedouin. It continued with the capture of 36% of representative seats in the assembly in 1999 (p.599). Despite Sunni/Shiite division on the basis of tactics and priorities, their unity in attempting to change certain aspects of Kuwait’s society means that this
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