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Issue 1181 - 22 November 2023

Kuwait records a rare budget surplus

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Kuwait recorded a KD6.5bn ($21bn) surplus for fiscal year ending 31 March 2023, its first annual surplus since 2014/15.

Kuwait
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Tensions between Kuwait’s government and the National Assembly (parliament) are on the rise once again, with one minister stepping down in late October and further resignations possible. However, the sparring partners now share one thing in common, with Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal Al Ahmed Al Sabah openly critical of both sides in a late October speech made at the opening of the new session of parliament.

Kuwait
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Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal Al Ahmed Al Sabah used part of his speech at the opening of parliament late October to express his surprise at the Iraqi Constitutional Court ruling in September which annulled an agreement between Kuwait and Iraq to share the Khor Abdullah waterway. 

Kuwait | Iraq
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Even before the new Gaza war shattered comfortable assumptions about regional security, the global economic climate had been hostile, as shown in analysis of the International Monetary Fund's new reports on the global outlook and regional economic performance.

Iran | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Yemen | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Palestine | Iraq | Qatar
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There have been public protests in a number of countries around the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) in support of Palestinians and against Israeli actions in Gaza, but in many countries they have been limited in scope. Huge crowds have taken to the streets in capitals from Rabat to Baghdad, but there have been no major events in the countries where the public space is most tightly controlled, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Kuwait | Bahrain | Oman | Palestine | Iraq
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Governments across the region are trying to ensure the war between Hamas and Israel doesn’t escalate, with potentially disastrous expansion to other fronts. Meanwhile the monarchies and others are trying to assuage the anger many of their citizens feel towards Israel’s actions in Gaza, in a conflict that has profoundly upset recent comfortable assumptions about the regional status quo.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel | Palestine | Qatar
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KIO allegations: Finance minister Fahd Al-Jarallah has referred the Kuwait Investment Authority’s London outpost, the Kuwait Investment Office (KIO), to the public prosecutor over a series of alleged offences including the illegal disclosure of confidential information between 2018-22. The move was announced by the Ministry of Finance on 16 October.

Kuwait
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China's People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has used a routine rotation of its ships based in Djibouti to double its presence in the region, just as the United States Navy is preparing to deploy its first aircraft carrier strike group (CSG) to the region for two years.

Iran | Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Kuwait was one of 15 countries elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council. It will serve a three-year term, starting 1 January 2024, alongside Albania, Brazil, China, France and others. The 47 seats on the council are distributed on a regional basis.

Kuwait
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Official statements from the Gulf monarchies have called for de-escalation and international mediation between Hamas and Israel, but there have been notable differences in where blame has been apportioned.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia | Bahrain | Yemen | Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Israel | Palestine | Iraq | Qatar
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The recent decision by Iraq's Constitutional Court to annul a 2013 law that regulated the use of the Khor Abdullah waterway shared with Kuwait has continued to cause diplomatic waves, with Kuwait rallying its international friends and partners to put pressure on Baghdad over the decision. 

Kuwait | Iraq
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Kuwait's Crown Prince Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah travelled to China from 20-24 September, for the start of the 19th Asian Games. Among those in his delegation were foreign affairs minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and oil minister Saad Al-Barrak.

Kuwait
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Conservative tribal and Islamist voices are increasing their power and influence in the Kuwaiti political arena, with the government providing tacit support to their growing dominance over liberal and urban merchant figures.

Kuwait
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The Kuwaiti government has said it has 'updated' its economic reform strategy and pushed back the final date by five years to 2040, citing the Covid pandemic and the Ukraine war as reasons for the delay. 

Kuwait
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With Kuwait's emir regularly out of the country to receive medical treatment, Crown Prince Mishaal Al-Ahmed is overseeing a fragile political system in which ministerial resignations are almost as frequent as clashes between parliament and the executive, and deteriorating public services are undermining public confidence. Inertia and dysfunction have led Kuwait to fall behind its wealthy neighbours to the south, with medicine shortages just the latest indication of an unhappy direction of travel which adds to pressures for an eventual revised social compact to avoid even greater troubles. 

Kuwait