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Kuwait: Internal Security
Country Study > Chapter 9 > Regional and National Security Considerations > Internal Security


Many of the domestic strains in Kuwait arise from the disparities between the living standards of Kuwaiti nationals and the majority of Kuwait's foreign population. Palestinian workers presented problems for the Al Sabah rulers for several decades, but, during the 1980s, militants and terrorists advancing the Khomeini brand of Islamism overshadowed the Palestinians as troublemakers. Kuwait's support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War accounted for much of the violence that disturbed internal stability during the 1980s. A series of terrorist bombings in 1983 aimed at Kuwaiti installations and the United States and French embassies were ascribed to Iranian retaliation. A network of Hizballah terrorists was uncovered, and, in the spring of 1984, seventeen Shia were sentenced to long prison terms, and three were condemned to death. Airplane hijackings, explosions, car bombings, and an assassination attempt against the amir ensued. Kuwait steadfastly rejected demands for release of terrorists in its custody, most of whom were still in jail at the time of the Iraqi invasion and subsequently disappeared. A number of Kuwaiti Shia were sentenced for setting fires at oil installations in 1986 and 1987. The attacks declined in 1988, and no attack was recorded in 1989 or 1990 after Iran's decision to accept a cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq War, which was followed by an attempted reconciliation with its neighbors.

Data as of January 1993

Last Updated: January 1993

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Kuwait was first published in 1993. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 61 of 65


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