Washington, D.C. — For more than a quarter century, Kuwait has served as a key strategic partner for the United States in the Middle East. However, the relationship merits renewed attention. A new report from the Center for American Progress argues that the United States should re-engage with Kuwait to shore up and expand bilateral cooperation in what remains a deeply turbulent region. The report is informed by discussions with top Kuwaiti political and security officials, members of parliament, economists, private sector representatives, and youth leaders.
Kuwait hosts more than 15,000 U.S. military personnel, leads the Middle East in providing humanitarian assistance, and plays an important diplomatic role in the region. However, since 2011, Kuwait has been rocked by the aftershocks of the Arab uprisings; the collapse of oil prices; and a public struggle over the royal line of succession. The result has been an unusual degree of political, economic, and social turbulence that has led some to question the long-term viability of its domestic power-sharing arrangements.
Most recently, the November 2017 snap elections saw the return of opposition parliamentarians in force to the National Assembly.
“While tensions between the government and the opposition continue to rise, they do not yet pose a serious challenge to Kuwait’s long-term stability,” said Hardin Lang, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. “Now is the time for the United States to make a series of modest investments to strengthen ties with a vital Gulf partner, encourage reform, and forage relationships with the next generation of Kuwaitis.”
The report recommends that the Trump administration take steps to thicken the U.S.-Kuwait Strategic Dialogue, support regional security integration, and leverage Kuwait’s status as a regional leader in humanitarian assistance. The new administration should also encourage the reform and diversification of the economy, support anti-corruption efforts, and strengthen counterterrorism financing efforts.
Click here to read the report.
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