Foreign policy and defense
The small, militarily weak Kuwait has always
been in a vulnerable position and it has therefore been
important for the country to try to maintain good
relations with more powerful countries in the region:
Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Several times the country
has been forced to buy territorial security by sharing
its oil riches. At the same time, wealth and generosity
have led the country to play a role in the Arab world
that is disproportionate to its modest size and
Kuwait was driving when the oil exporting countries'
organization Opec in the 1970s pushed up oil prices. The
country was also in 1981 and founded the Gulf States
Cooperation Organization GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council),
which includes neighboring countries Saudi Arabia,
Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Kuwait for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Kuwait has actively supported the Palestinians in the
conflict with Israel. However, the involvement of the
Palestinians slowed significantly after Iraq's invasion
of Kuwait in 1990, when PLO leader Yasir Arafat openly
supported Iraq. After that, relations with the
Palestinians were long bad and were only normalized in
2004, when then-Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas (later
Palestinian President) visited Kuwait and publicly
For a long time, relations were cold to countries
that did not distance themselves from the Iraqi invasion
of Kuwait, but in 1999 relations with Jordan, Sudan and
Yemen were normalized.
In order to strengthen the defense following Iraq's
invasion and the 1990-1991 war, Kuwait entered into a
defense cooperation agreement with the United States,
which led Kuwait's liberation, and the United States has
had troops throughout the country ever since the war,
albeit in reduced numbers. Ali al-Salim Air Base is one
of the most important in the region of the United States
and Kuwait is one of NATO's military alliance's most
important and closest partners in the area of the
Persian Gulf. Discussions have been held within the GCC
to form a "Gulf States' NATO", to which even the
kingdoms of Morocco and Jordan would be invited, but so
far the project has fallen on the various interests of
the individual countries.
Kuwait's defense budget amounted to 5.1 percent of
gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, according to the
Peace Research Institute Sipri. At about that level,
military spending has been around for a few years, but
the proportion has increased if compared with the
situation in line with the so-called Arab Spring. In
2011, several dictators in the Arab world were
overthrown and several civil wars erupted.
Arms purchases are mainly made from the USA, for
example Patriot Robots 2020.
Kuwait supported the US-led terrorist alliance formed
after the terrorist attacks against the United States on
September 11, 2001. The country also supported the war
against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that year.
Ahead of the planned attack on Iraq in March 2003, the
US expanded its military activity and presence in
Kuwait, which served as a transit area when US troops
were taken home from Iraq and later Afghanistan. Kuwait
has also backed the 2014 US fight against the Islamic
State (IS) extreme Islamist movement. At the same time,
groups in Kuwait have been funding the Islamists.
Along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,
Kuwait has supported governments in neighboring
countries financially when they appear to be under
pressure from popular protest waves. In 2018, both
Jordan and the Sunni Muslim royal house in Bahrain
received such support packages.
In 2004, Kuwait and Iraq reestablished their
diplomatic relations for the first time since 1990, but
only in July 2008 did Kuwait appoint an ambassador to
Baghdad; In 2010, an Iraqi ambassador to Kuwait was
appointed. Kuwait has actively participated in the
reconstruction of Iraq.
Kuwait's relationship with Iran is usually better
than many other GCC countries, although there are grits
from time to time. Kuwait relies on good relations with
Iran and has supported the country's right to develop a
nuclear program for peaceful purposes. Even more
important, however, is the relationship with Saudi
Arabia, which has often been supported by Kuwait in its
foreign policy. Among other things, Kuwait has taken
part in the Saudi-led attacks against the Shiite Muslim
Shire rebels in Yemen, which began in March 2015. Since
Saudi Arabia broke its ties with Iran in early 2016,
Kuwait has also reduced its diplomatic presence in
Tehran. In the summer of 2017, Kuwait announced that 15
Iranian diplomats must leave the country as a result of
a verdict against members of an alleged terrorist cell
with links to Iran (see Calendar).
With Turkey there is an agreement on certain
cooperation in the field of defense (see Calendar).
FACTS - DEFENSE
11 000 men (2017)
The air Force
2,500 men (2017)
2,000 men (2017)
Military expenditure's share of GDP
5.8 percent (2017)
Military spending's share of the state budget
11.3 percent (2017)
The government is leaving again
The government resigns after some MPs tried to answer Nasir for failing to
fulfill his office; the revolting members believe that corruption with state
funds has increased during Nasir's tenure.
Islamist successes in recent elections
The campaign before the election is dominated by financial issues. Islamists,
both Sunnis and Shi'ites, win 26 of the 50 seats. Liberal candidates get seven
seats. None of the 27 women who are candidates are elected. Sheikh Nasir is
again commissioned to form a government.
The government is retiring
The government resigns after a dispute with Parliament, which wanted to raise
the salaries of civil servants. Parliament is dissolved and new elections
announced in May.