Kuwait


Map of Kuwait
Oil
Share of global reserves: 8.4%
Share of global production (2003): 3%
Share of petroleum sector in the economy: Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 90% of export revenues, and 75% of government income.

Demographics
Population: 2.2 million
Population growth rate: 3.36% (2004 est.)
GDP per capita: $19,000 (2004 est.)
Government type: constitutional monarchy
Religions: Muslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shi'a 30%), Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and other 15%
Literacy: 83.5%
Freedom House Ranking: partly free
Political situation:
Despite the veneer of Western practices, since the Gulf War Kuwait has become a more conservative Islamic society. Islamists constitute a third of the parliament, pushing the government to impose gender segregation and education reforms. Though the U.S. saved Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's grip in 1991, anti-Americanism has been on the rise in recent years. Some of the country's leading charities have been linked to terrorism; a small group of Kuwaitis traveled to Afghanistan to join the Taliban and small minority of the anti-American conservatives have even turned to violence. In October 2002, two Kuwaiti gunmen suspected of having ties to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network carried out an attack against U.S. troops on Failaka Island, killing one Marine and injuring another. In November 2002, a Kuwaiti police sergeant pulled two U.S. soldiers in a civilian vehicle off the road and then shot them at close range. In January 2003, terrorists killed an American civilian working for the U.S. military and wounded another in an ambush in Kuwait City.
At the same time, Kuwait has emerged as America's closest ally in the Persian Gulf and the main staging ground for a possible military campaign against Iraq.

Additional information
U.S. Dept. of Energy country analysis brief
CIA World Factbook
Library of Congress
Property of The Institute for the Analysis of Global Security 2003, 2004. All rights reserved.