By Paul Kennedy
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Extra info for Doing Business with Kuwait (Global Market Briefings Series)
The qUtub were originally nomads who changed to a settled way of life on the coast to make their living by trading, sea-faring, fishing and pearling. Internal disputes among the Beni Khalid and the rise of the Wahhabis, Khalidi rivals in central Arabia, gave the qUtub de facto independence. In 1756 they elected Sabah bin Jabir bin Adhbi, a direct ancestor of the current Ruler, as their Amir (leader) to administer the town. Once Sabah’s authority was established the town grew rapidly. History and Governance 11 Kuwaiti names Kuwaitis have a profound sense of genealogy.
6 per cent of the world total, ranking it third in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and enough to last for more than 100 years at current levels of extraction. Thus oil is Kuwait’s main natural resource and its economic raison d’être. Most of the oil fields are located on large, gentle anticlinal structures that have hundreds of feet of structural closure. The oil ranges in age from the Pliocene to the Jurassic but the bulk of reserves are found in Cretaceous sediments. 5 per cent and, with an API (American Petroleum Institute) gravity reading of 31, Kuwait’s export blend is classified as medium, making it less valuable than other, lighter crudes that can yield more refined products.
During the interval, however, the Amir promulgated several innovative laws by Amiri decree covering inter alia women’s suffrage, traffic penalties, various matters connected with economic liberalization, and the naturalization of Bedouns (stateless Arabs living in Kuwait). When the new Assembly convened it rejected all these laws on the grounds that they did not refer to ‘urgent’ or emergency matters (as required under the constitution). The Assembly then reintroduced most of these laws (with the notable exception of the law granting women voting rights) as parliamentary legislation.