Kuwait is a small, oil-rich country nestling at the top of the Gulf, flanked by large or powerful neighbours - Saudi Arabia to the south, Iraq to the north and Iran to the east. Its oil fields were first exploited in the 1930s, and since the development of the petroleum industry after World War II and independence in 1961, oil has dominated the economy, making up around 90% of export revenues.
In 1991, the country was the scene of a massive US-led international military campaign to oust Iraqi forces, which had invaded the year before. Operation Desert Storm saw their eventual removal, but Kuwait's infrastructure was left in bad shape and had to be rebuilt. Oil exports stopped for a time.
The elected parliament has often clashed with the ruling family; the country has faced violence from militant Islamists. Kuwait was the first Arab country in the Gulf to have an elected parliament. Moves to change the male-dominated political structure culminated in the granting of full political rights to women in 2005. Kuwait has faced a recent spate of militant violence. Security forces have clashed with Islamist militants, some of whom are alleged to have links with al-Qaeda. The authorities say extremist groups have plotted attacks on Western targets.
Kuwait is one of the world's leading oil producers.
Kuwait was invaded and occupied by Iraq in 1990; it served as a springboard for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Twelve years later, Kuwait played host to another massive military presence as thousands of soldiers massed on the Iraqi border for the US-led campaign in 2003 to disarm and oust the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. It remains an important transit route for forces and civilians moving in and out of Iraq.
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Thank You for Kuwait, a country marked by the clash of tradition and modernity. We thank You for both the growing underground church and also the increasing number of open witnesses. We pray for media like satellite TV, internet etc. to reach more and more Kuwaitis, showing them a life that goes beyond materialism. Let the Kuwaiti Christians see and grasp opportunities to share their faith and build Your kingdom in this Muslim state.
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