Are you contemplating taking a trip to Kuwait? Maybe you’re wondering why Kuwait’s location is troubling. While they are a beautiful city in the desert, there is political unrest in the surrounding countries, making it alarming.
Where is Kuwait located?
Kuwait is found right in between Saudi Arabia and Iraq and is one of the driest and unforgiving deserts. Their harbor, Kuwait Bay, is right on the Arabian Gulf, and they have a prosperous economy and currently have 10% of the whole world’s oil reserves.
Oil got discovered in Burgan, Kuwait, in 1938, and it was apparent that they had wealth and influence right underneath their feet. Today, they have the 6th largest oil reserves globally and are advocates for creating peace in the Gulf.
Here’s the interesting part:
Kuwait’s city is a vibrant metropolis with a modern vibe and robust music scene. This vibrant country is in a risky position because of its neighbors causing economic turmoil, putting Kuwait in a dangerous location.
While oil money and trade in local goods make them thrive, there is still looming political unrest from the surrounding countries.
Here’s why I think that Kuwait’s location is troubling:
In 2018, Kuwait’s donor conference was a starting point in Kuwait repairing their relationship with Iraq. They pledged $1 billion in loans and $1 billion in Iraq investments to rebuild their country.
Iraq and Kuwait’s relationship is currently on the mend. Kuwait wants Iraq to begin to rebuild its war-torn cities and focus its energy on internal development. Iraq is looking to Kuwait for help in doing so and aids in preventing domestic terrorists from crossing borders.
Kuwait and Iraq have a long history. The United States led 35 nations into war with Iraq for invading Kuwait in 1990. After Kuwait got liberated in 1991, remnants of the Gulf War became a stain on their relationship.
Here’s the bottom line:
While you are seeing Kuwait attempting to help Iraq rebuild its relationship, there are too many internal and external threats. Iraq has extremists causing political unrest, and proxy-wars can cause a more significant divide between the two making Kuwait a troubling location to live and visit.
Historically Iran and Kuwait have had excellent relations with close political and economic ties. Even with a bumpy road in the ’80s when Kuwait sided with Iraq, causing a rift in their relationship.
Iran has seen major internal wars and unrest from its people. In 2009 after citizens contested their elections, 72 people died, and in 2019, 180 people got killed during a protest over gas prices which had doubled overnight. Here are more events causing unrest in Iran:
- The Trump Administration implementing sanctions on exports
- The rise and fall of internal terrorist groups
- Rifts and impending war between Iran and Israel
- US armed forces in Iran
You may be wondering how this affects Kuwait?
After Iran attacked Saudi Arabia in September 2019, the United States sent between 60,000 and 80,000 troops to the Persian Gulf. Kuwait is hosting over 13,000 soldiers. With the threat of war surrounding Iran and other middle eastern countries, Kuwait is in a troubling position.
3. Saudi Arabia
Kuwait has strong ties to Saudi Arabia. In February 2021, the two countries met to exchange letters on how to support each other and ways to develop each region and their common interests.
Now, this is important because Saudi Arabia and Iran are bitter rivals. The middle east sees uprisings of internal terrorists, civil wars, and insurgencies. With this battle for power, the two countries don’t directly declare war on each other – they instead support each other’s enemies.
It all boils down to this:
Kuwait finds itself in the middle of this battle for power with Iran, an enemy of Saudi Arabia. They also have to deal with militia groups along the borders of their countries and the uncertainty of ‘another Gulf War’ breaking out.
What do we know about Turkey and Kuwait?
I know that Turkey has an excellent relationship with Kuwait! During an evaluation of trade, almost a billion dollars worth of trade exists between the two. In late 2018, they both committed to enhancing their mutual military cooperation plan.
Both countries agree that preventing Iran’s influence from spreading through Iraq is vital; we see rivalries beginning to pop up, and they attempt to curb the danger they see ahead.
Turkey and Kuwait are stuck in the middle of Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia’s rivalry and the battle for power. Both Turkey and Kuwait’s location is troubled because of the ongoing turmoil between the three.
Oil is the cause for most of the problems in the Middle East. With Kuwait holding 10% of the world’s oil, it is no wonder the rest of the world is either with them or against them trying to steal it.
During the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq invaded Kuwait, saying that their country is an extension of Iraq to steal their wealth and seize the oil reserves. Iraq’s attempt to overpower Kuwait was successful, and it resulted in half a million U.S. troops coming to their aid. Saddam Hussein’s hunt for power left Iraq broken and separated from the world.
With conflicts occurring in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, Iran’s power is getting strengthened. As the United States begins to pull back from intervening, Syria will start to cause an immediate disturbance in the Gulf.
So what’s my point here?
Kuwait can mediate Middle Eastern countries’ ties, but that requires them to get in the middle of conflict and economic unrest. The Iranian government is unpredictable, and the lust for oil and wealth far exceeds their need for conflict resolution. Thus, Kuwait’s location is troubling, and they are at risk for a second Gulf War.
The fight for oil and power from neighboring countries is a threat to Kuwait’s safety. Only time will tell what’s in store for Kuwait.