Kuwait – geography
Kuwait curves over a major bay southwest of the Euphrates and Tigris’ deltas. The bay is located by ancient trade routes to and from Iraq and the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula. The country stretches 60-100 km from the coast into the desert; the borders of the neighboring states are drawn through completely barren areas. Before the oil discoveries in 1938, the small population subsisted as nomads, pearl fishermen and traders.
The climate is subtropical and extremely dry with very hot summers. The light rainfall falls from November to April, where it can also be quite cool. Spring and early summer are characterized by regular sandstorms, and in summer temperatures above 50 °C are not entirely uncommon. Kuwait has neither river water nor groundwater reservoirs for the water supply, which are instead handled by large, energy-intensive desalination plants.
The largest oil fields are located towards Saudi Arabia; it was not until 1966 that the two countries agreed on where the border should go, and the revenues from the border zone’s oil production continued to be shared between the two countries. Regarding this area, see neutral Zone.
Kuwait’s population rose from 152,000 in 1950 to 2 million. in 1989 corresponding to a doubling per. ten years. The Kuwaitis themselves contributed to the growth by giving birth to many children and by radically improving health conditions, but the bulk of the growth was due to immigration. As early as the end of the 1950’s, foreigners made up 45 per cent of the population and in 1989 61 per cent, corresponding to 1.3 million. people; they came to get work for a shorter or longer period of time. The largest group were stateless Palestinians, for whom Kuwait became a new homeland; however, only a few of them were granted citizenship due to the country’s restrictive laws.
- Countryaah: Do you know how many people there are in Kuwait? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density about this country.
After the Iraqi invasion in 1990, approximately 1/2 million. Kuwaiters and 800,000 guest workers out of the country within a few months, and several thousand were deported, killed or forced to change citizenship as part of Iraqi plans to incorporate Kuwait into Iraq. After the defeat of Iraq in February 1991, the population was estimated at 700,000, and in the months that followed, only a few Kuwaitis and guest workers returned; on the contrary, the deportations continued, but now launched by Kuwaiti security forces with the aim of getting rid of the Palestinians, who were accused of collaborating with the occupying forces.
It is estimated that before the occupation, there were 450,000 Jordanians and Palestinians in Kuwait. From 1992, the fleeing Kuwaitis began to return. The emirate’s stated goal was that the jobs of the guest workers should increasingly be taken over by the Kuwaitis themselves. However, this policy has failed and foreign workers are flocking back into the country. But instead of hiring Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians, they are now importing labor from South and East Asia; it is both cheaper and politically easier to manage.
The vast majority of the workforce is employed in the oil sector, in trade and finance and in the service sector in general. Agriculture and fisheries are disappearing.
The Kuwaiti royal family, along with the majority of the population, are Sunni Muslims and through family ties linked to Saudi Arabia. Other powerful families come from Iraq, and up to 30 percent of Kuwaitis are oriented toward Shia Muslim Iran through lineage or religion.
Kuwait has no problems financing its development. There is always a surplus on the trade balance and plenty of capital left over for public and private accounts and investments abroad. Exports are unilaterally characterized by oil, but unlike many other oil-exporting countries, Kuwait has not chosen to initiate a more versatile economic development through, for example, investments in other industries. Instead, the country seeks to secure its future through investment abroad. This strategy makes Kuwait dependent on stability and growth in the countries, but this dependence is hardly more risky than the current bond to stable oil prices, and it is probably small compared to the danger of losing solid values in Kuwait itself during a future war or invasion.
The Iraqi occupation can be seen as a test of the Kuwaiti survival strategy: in a short time, the Kuwaiti rulers and the majority of the citizens were able to bring themselves to safety in Saudi Arabia and from there continue and unimpededly dispose of Kuwaiti funds abroad. By contrast, it is hard on the bereaved values in Kuwait as 1/2 million. Iraqis looted homes, dismantled hospitals, schools and refineries and eventually set fire to half of the oil fields. Reconstruction after the war has happened quickly. As early as 1994, oil production was at pre-war levels; since 1992, it has more than doubled.
Kuwait – language
Official language is modern standard Arabic, which is also a written language and is used in the education system. The spoken language is Eastern Arabic; furthermore, the southern Arabic dialect Mahri is spoken by 15,000. The language situation is affected by the country’s many guest workers. Therefore, in addition to Farsi and Urdu, various South Asian languages are spoken as a minority language. English is widely used as a commercial language. For culture and traditions of Kuwait, please check animalerts.
Kuwait – religion
Of the Kuwaiti citizens, approximately 70% Sunni and approximately 30% Shia Muslims. Only very few Kuwaitis are Christians, and these few belong to different denominations. Since independence, there has been a special ministry for Islamic affairs, which is also responsible for the operation of the so-called awqaf, private foundations that conduct, for example, education or various forms of social work. Islamic legal traditions play a central role in private and family law.