Calculating "Collateral Damage"

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER169

Early reports of casualties in Iraq provided only a scattershot picture of damage to residential areas and loss of civilian life, not a clear sense of scope or scale. Only on February 11, after four weeks of intense bombing, did Iraqi officials acknowledge that civilian deaths were in the range of 5,000-7,000. Then, on February 13, two US “smart bombs” smashed into a Baghdad bomb shelter, incinerating hundreds of women and children gathered there.

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A Scarred Society

by Ann Lesch
published in MER172

Friday, May 24

Muhammad al-Saqr on Kuwait's Press

published in MER180

Muhammad al-Saqr has been editor-in-chief of the Kuwaiti daily al-Qabas since 1983. Although he has a business background, the paper’s reputation for balance and accuracy has grown under al-Saqr’s leadership. Al-Saqr was detained and interrogated a week before he received a Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists on October 21, 1992 in New York. Avner Gidron, CPJ’s Research Associate for the Middle and North Africa, interviewed him the next day.

How do people in the Arab world get news they can trust?

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Women's Organizations in Kuwait

by Haya al-Mughni
published in MER198

Women’s groups, like all voluntary associations in Kuwait, are controlled and funded by the state. They have elected boards, written constitutions and paid memberships. Law 24 of 1962 governing the activity of associations -- partially amended in 1965 and still in force -- gives the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor full control and power over voluntary associations. The Ministry has the power to refuse to license an association, to dissolve its elected board or to terminate an association if it determines the group not to be beneficial to society as a whole or not to be abiding by its constitution.

The End of the Counterrevolution?

The Politics of Economic Adjustment in Kuwait

by Yahya Sadowski
published in MER204

Over the last 50 years, a massive infusion of petrodollars enabled the new monarchies of the Gulf to engage in impressive experiments in counterrevolution. During the 1970s, King Faysal of Saudi Arabia attempted to preserve the traditional social hierarchy of his country by modernizing without industrializing. A decade earlier, the Shah of Iran staged a preemptive strike against demands for change by launching his own “white revolution.” Yet the most successful counterrevolution in the Gulf was the massive and successful program of the Sabah dynasty in Kuwait to preserve its power by building the region’s first modern welfare state.

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Guilty Bystanders

by Pete Moore
published in MER257

The Iran-Iraq war was fought entirely within the boundaries of the two combatant nations, but it was nonetheless a regional war. The war machine of Saddam Hussein’s regime was lubricated with billions of dollars in loans from the Arab oil monarchies, which were anxious to see the revolutionary state in Tehran defeated, or at least bloodied. Iraqi warplanes harried ships seeking to load Iranian oil at the Kharg island terminal and points south on the Persian Gulf coast. In 1987, the US Navy intervened to protect tankers and other commercial traffic from Iranian reprisals. These heated entanglements presaged the degree to which the war was to transform the political economies of many countries in the vicinity.

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The Day After “Victory”: Kuwait’s 2009 Election and the Contentious Present

by Mary Ann Tétreault , Mohammed Al-Ghanim | published July 8, 2009

The May 2009 parliamentary election in Kuwait produced a number of surprising results. Occurring on the fourth anniversary of the achievement of full political rights for Kuwaiti women, the outcome attracting the most commentary was the victory of four female candidates. But there were other happenings of note. Doctrinaire religious candidates ran behind women in several districts. In fact, all of the “political groups” that function as Kuwait’s substitute for political parties did poorly on May 16, whether their orientation is center-left or religious. Even more telling is the fact that so many candidates, including several who had run as group representatives in previous elections, chose to run as independents.

Women's Rights and the Meaning of Citizenship in Kuwait

by Mary Ann Tétreault | published February 10, 2005

Prosperous and possessed of a spirited parliament, Kuwait has prided itself on being a standard setter among the Arab monarchies on the Persian Gulf. With respect to women's rights, however, today Kuwait ranks just above Saudi Arabia. Kuwaiti women are allowed to drive and they occupy positions in public life ranging from secretary to second-level government ministers, but like their sisters in Saudi Arabia, they can neither vote nor run for political office.