Biden Doesn’t Need a New Middle East Policy
The Trump Administration Got the Region Right
Stretching over some 6,000 square miles of the hard, gravelly and waterless northeast corner of the Persian Gulf, Kuwait has been thrust from oblivion into sudden prominence by her hidden wealth and the creative genius of Western enterprise and technology. In less than two decades, since the first shipment of oil left her shores, material riches have changed the face of her barren territory, and Kuwait is now experiencing a host of complex social, political and economic problems which are shaking her essentially tribal and primitive structure. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the nature of the challenge presented by this transitional phase and to examine Kuwait's response to it. But in order to appreciate the magnitude of the task that confronts this city-state, the reader must first know something of the static society that used to exist and of the main events that have so radically transformed it into what it is now.
Present-day Kuwait was reportedly founded in the early eighteenth century by tribesmen driven from their home in inner Arabia by warring kinsmen. The tiny fishing village they founded offered few and meagre resources; but its very austerity was perhaps its main asset. For the rigorous physical environment rendered the individual tough, imaginative, enterprising and excellent in team-work. These qualities have, for over two centuries, distinguished the Kuwaitis as the Gulf's most successful businessmen, sailors and sea-farers.
Broadly speaking, Kuwait was comprised of three main groups: a ruling family, an oligarchy of merchants and a working class-mostly fishermen, pearl-divers and shipbuilders. Of these groups, the second has been by far the most powerful and dynamic social force. It was the merchants' enterprising spirit that provided the ruling family with their meagre income in the shape of customs duties and provided employment for the rest of the community. A triple social structure still exists in Kuwait, although, as we shall see, new circumstances are altering it.
This small community needed peace first and foremost to enable it to eke out a living, and, in the two and a half centuries since they settled on the Gulf, the Kuwaitis have had no more than two internal crises involving serious violence, and only a few skirmishes with neighboring tribes. Crimes of violence are almost unknown and even litigation is a rare indulgence. As with individuals, so with the state: the desire for peace eminently characterizes Kuwait's relations with her neighbors-a monumental diplomatic feat considering the struggle for power that divides the Arab states.
Of governmental organization Kuwait possessed little more than the traditional tribal type in which power was vested in an autocratic ruler, who, in conformity with tradition, was chosen from among members of the Subah family for his superior personal qualities. The choice of a new ruler was usually regarded as a family affair; and while clearly it was no democracy, this primitive political system allowed the Kuwaiti wide freedoms of action and expression. Regard for tradition made public opinion an important political force. Hence, it was the general practice for the ruler to consult the elders of the community on matters involving serious decisions. Law and order were maintained in a simple and unceremonious way in accordance with Islamic law as modified by tribal usage and local custom. Internal security was preserved by a small bodyguard, and in times of emergency external security was the responsibility of all able-bodied men (and sometimes women). Education was confined to a few primitive and privately run semi-religious institutions and not until 1912 did the town notables organize the first elementary school. As for health services, Kuwait's first hospital was not opened until well after her oil had begun to flow, in 1949.
This tribal structure held sway until 1937 when popular endeavors to modernize it finally led to the election of the short-lived Legislative Assembly whose only legacy was the creation of certain government departments with broadly defined functions. These departments formed Kuwait's basic administrative framework until 1962, when constitutional government was introduced.
Import duties, varying between 4 and 6 percent, constituted the main source of public revenue. The scope of the government operations may be seen from the fact that in 1938-39 public revenue totaled some £ 60,000 (approximately $290,000), of which nearly two-thirds came from import duties and the rest from miscellaneous dues and fees, plus a small royalty paid by the Kuwait Oil Company following the discovery, though not the actual extraction, of oil. This primitive financial system drew no distinction between public domain or revenue, on the one hand, and the ruler's personal estate and income on the other. At this stage, the city- state had hardly emerged as an independent and recognizable entity and the ruler, still resembling a tribal chieftain, combined with his basic responsibilities of maintaining law and order the traditional and costly functions of tribal hospitality.
As for the private sector, pearling and seafaring together absorbed the majority of Kuwait's labor force (estimated at some 8,000 to 10,000 men). It is said that average earnings in pearling hardly exceeded 100 rupees (just over $35 at the prewar rate) for a season of three to four months. This was often supplemented by seafaring, which brought in an additional 150 or 200 rupees for an expedition of some six months. Exceptionally, an enterprising man could add to these two sources of income by trading, and might make a profit of some 100 or 200 rupees. Thus, at best, average family earnings from various sources barely touched 500 rupees (rather less than $180) a year. Assuming an average family of five, these calculations would suggest an average personal annual income of some 100 rupees (roughly about $35). As for an unskilled laborer, he barely managed to reach subsistence level. His daily wage was not more than a half rupee, and employment was rarely available throughout the year. These conditions were far worse than those then obtaining in the agrarian communities of Iran or Iraq.
Today such conditions exist only in memory, for Kuwait now is a land of superlatives. It is the largest oil producer in the Middle East and the fourth largest in the world; it boasts the world's largest oil port where the world's largest tankers are loaded in record time; at 62 billion barrels, its proved oil reserves are the largest in the world; and the magnitude of its oil receipts in relation to the size of the native population is such that even if all other sources of income in both the private and public sectors are disregarded, the annual revenue per citizen amounts to K.D. 1,200 (Kuwait Dinar = U.S. $2.8).
In sharp and dramatic contrast with the austerity of former times, Kuwait's current foreign trade statistics list an extraordinarily wide range of luxury goods transported by sea, land and air from some 60-odd countries, at an annual expenditure averaging in recent years nearly $300,000,000, or about $825 per inhabitant. More impressive still is the present-day expenditure on fresh water distillation and power supply which costs the state not less than $140 per inhabitant, while every tree and shrub that decorates her thoroughfares and public squares costs an average of some $250 a year. As for social services, a welfare state of unsurpassed munificence has suddenly emerged. Expenditure on health and education and other benefits (mostly in pecuniary forms) has placed this tiny state on a higher level than some of the most sophisticated societies in the world; for in the fiscal year 1961-62 it reached some $240 per inhabitant as compared with $210 in the U.K. and slightly less in Sweden.[i]
What has been the impact of the sudden explosion of wealth upon this primitive society? In less than two decades the whole face of Kuwait has changed beyond recognition. But behind the spectacular physical change lie fundamental problems which have rarely, if ever, been faced by an affluent community before.
One basic question has always been asked: how long is it going to last? The Kuwaitis are quite alive to the precariousness of their riches. Anxiety over the future dominates their thoughts and many of their actions. It is evident in the attempt to build up their social capital, to set up an organized public service and to foster rapid industrial development; it is evident in the determined effort to accumulate foreign reserves; and, above all, it is evident in the desire to achieve all this in a desperately short time. Haste is, indeed, the order of the day.
But growth is a function of time and the hurried transformation of Kuwait from the poor, obscure and stagnant society it used to be into one of uncommon complexity and sophistication has proved challenging and, at times, even dangerous.
Oil receipts began to accrue in 1946. In the early stages no more than rudimentary physical planning of the town was needed. The sharp increase in revenue in 1951 made clear that planning required expert advice, and foreign consultants were engaged for this purpose. Subsequently, a group of five engineering firms was engaged to carry out the work on a cost-plus basis. It was soon discovered, however, that this procedure pushed up costs unduly and left much room for abuse, and it was abandoned. It was realized that the task of building could not be simply farmed out to foreign contractors. Responsibility for planning and executing a development program was then entrusted to the Public Works Department. This was a tribute to the courage of the government, considering Kuwait's small population and the acute shortage of trained personnel.
Paucity of population is not necessarily associated with economic backwardness; the shortage of trained people is. The presence of both in a setting of extreme wealth makes the story of Kuwait unique. The earliest population figures available for those years are from the first census of 1957. They give Kuwait's total indigenous labor force as being 23,977, all between 15 and 60 years of age. By far the largest group (over 19,000) was composed of those with either no training at all or with only minimal professional qualifications. Another group, designated "professionals and technologists" and totaling some 4,000, includes only one chemist, one geologist, two physicians, two author-journalists, eight accountants and 156 clergymen.
The government's difficulties thus can hardly be exaggerated. To ensure control of its own affairs, it gave preference to its own citizens; and if suitable Kuwaitis were not available preference went to other Arab citizens and only in the last resort to non-Arabs. With abundant financial resources and in the absence of a strong civil service tradition, there soon evolved an administrative machine which was vast, complicated, cumbersome and not always guided by the highest ethical standards.
This created more problems for the state than it solved. Since all top administrative and executive jobs were reserved for citizens, the responsibility for final decisions invariably lay with them; the presence of the foreign technician or adviser did not help much. The Kuwaiti policy- maker was still called upon daily to evaluate highly technical, and not infrequently conflicting, proposals which ranged from the choice of some complex electronic equipment for an ultra-modern telephone system to the assessment of the chemical components of local soils as factors affecting the choice of road-construction techniques. As the great majority of Kuwaiti executives came to their new responsibilities unprepared, vital decisions were often deferred, and when they were made, showed the pressure of vested interests.
There was also the problem of the mere volume of the new business. At the start, far too many projects were undertaken and as time went on the number increased. The demands on the limited time of the Kuwaiti executives and policy-makers grew correspondingly, resulting in insufficient guidance from the top. This shortage of leadership in Kuwait was alarming, since it involved the one thing that could not be imported from abroad.
Meanwhile, business was offering unlimited scope for success and, to the qualified few, its attraction was too powerful to be resisted. Some sort of a compromise had therefore to be devised to eliminate this competition, and it was found by permitting civil servants to run their own businesses side- by-side with their public offices. This concession caused immense harm. It overtaxed the limited time and energy of those in key positions, strained their allegiance to the state, exposed them to grave temptations and meant that the public service ceased to be considered a career. Senior appointments were generally accepted for prestige reasons, mostly by those who lacked distinction; and employment in the lower echelons was regarded more or less as a sinecure, or as a means of channeling a certain amount of the wealth to the average citizen.
These factors have led to such overcrowding in the public service that salaries and wages now create a very serious drain on the treasury. The city-state at present has on its payroll no less than 53,000 men and women, both indigenous and aliens, excluding those in the armed forces, at an annual cost of nearly $168,000,000. This means that every three citizens are being served by one public servant at an average cost of about $1,120 per citizen.
This, then, was one of the results of the second phase of the experiment. It raised public expenditures for administration to an incredible level. It placed in positions of great responsibility either men of an older generation, whose views and standards were hopelessly outdated, or very young persons, who lacked the required experience; and it put a heavy strain on their loyalties. Further, it eliminated competitive selection for the public service and thus encouraged complacency in the new generation and a tendency to judge performance by local standards alone.
It was only natural that the new wealth should create a demand for services hitherto unknown in the country. The resulting problem was made especially acute by the ambitious projects planned by the government, and its determination to carry them out all at once. Inevitably, a uniquely attractive market for labor was created and a flood of skilled and unskilled workers flocked from the four corners of the globe, but mostly from neighboring countries. This influx created new problems. The ethnic and political composition of this immigrant labor was heterogeneous, though the largest proportion (about 70 percent) were Arabs. Their social habits, cultures, creeds and, above all, political leanings were numerous and widely divergent.
Moreover, by far the largest group of these aliens (73 percent) were males mostly between 15 and 50 years of age, which meant that they were transient immigrants.[ii] It is this transient population that provides the bulk of Kuwait's skilled labor and 78 percent of her unskilled workers. It is they who supply the city-state with her teachers, doctors, architects, engineers and administrative and managerial personnel. They are the makers of her laws, the builders of her industry and the founders of her financial institutions. So pervasive has been their influence that there is hardly an aspect of national life which does not bear their mark. It affects the Kuwaitis choice of fashion, architecture and interior decoration; their cultural and artistic interest; their entertainments and dietetic habits; and even their colloquial Arabic, which has considerably changed under the influence of the newcomers.
Yet this all-powerful community of aliens has no permanent ties with the host country. Their services will apparently continue to be in demand indefinitely; yet the individuals themselves are constantly changing and are regarded by their hosts as changeable. This situation has inevitably led to a lack of continuity in planning and performance as well as to a sense of instability among the resident aliens, discernible in their behavior and their attitudes to the state.
The ephemeral status of the members of this community is especially marked among manual and menial workers. Grim unemployment in neighboring countries has driven tens of thousands of these men to search for a living in this rich oasis. But in turn the unlimited supply of labor has inevitably depressed wages to the point where the now derelict and nearly forgotten "iron law" may be seen in full swing. At present an unskilled laborer in Kuwait makes between nine and twelve shillings a day (about $1.25 to $1.65). This is generally higher than average earnings in the region; but the advantage is lost in a country where most goods are imported, where major imports are controlled by oligopolies and where rents and utilities are inordinately high. The result is that families are often left at home, and the wage-earner's remittances to his dependents reduce him to hardly more than subsistence. Thus the fate of thousands of aliens is to live in squalid hovels, indefinitely separated from their homes and families, desperate for employment; they have exchanged the best of their working years for wages that can just keep them and their dependents alive. Against the background of superabundance and prodigality existing in Kuwait, the wide gulf between the two segments of the population is not only indefensible but is bound to engender social resentment and instability.
Nor is this all. The remittances of the resident aliens are a permanent drain on the national income. The extent of it cannot be ascertained, but is conservatively estimated at some $120,000,000 a year. If this labor force could be persuaded to strike roots in Kuwait, this drain on national wealth would be minimized and the base of the economy would be broadened. This viewpoint is gaining recognition, but not fast enough.
Finally, the growing size of this foreign labor force has suddenly awakened the Kuwaitis to the fact that they are about to become a minority in their own country. According to the 1961 population census, they barely exceed half the total. This would be serious enough in any country, let alone in one so small, underpopulated and rich, and where the indigenous community lacks all the vital technical skills.
The discovery that it was being swamped by aliens alarmed Kuwait and prompted defensive measures. Foremost among these was the naturalization decree of 1959 and its amendment in 1960. This legislation, a landmark in Kuwait's history, confined Kuwaiti citizenship to residents in Kuwait prior to 1920, to their descendants in the male line and to foreign women upon marriage to Kuwaitis. For Arabs, naturalization is now possible only after 10 years of residence, and for non-Arabs after 15 years, commencing, in both cases, from the date of the amending decree. Moreover, only 50 persons are to be granted citizenship in any one year. Exceptions to this general rule are that Arabs in residence before 1945, and foreigners before 1930, as well as other Arab nationals who have performed outstanding services to the state, may be granted citizenship without waiting.
The legislation also confined certain basic rights and privileges to the citizen class. All imports and retail trades and all contractual business are either limited to Kuwaiti nationals or have to be transacted through Kuwaiti agents. In the civil service, pension rights, permanent tenure and certain key executive positions are the exclusive privileges of citizens. The entry of aliens into some professions such as medicine and law, where not many citizens could compete for a long time to come, is restricted to a stringent licensing system.
A unique feature of this transformation is the ingenious device evolved to diffuse the new wealth among the citizen class through public expenditure. As we have seen earlier, the distinction between public income and property and the ruler's income or property was unknown in Kuwait. Gradually, as budgetary practices and controls were introduced, all public receipts were paid into the Exchequer.[iii] Since the process was confined at first to annual disbursements and receipts of money, control of the public land was overlooked; and so long as realty was not of great economic significance the oversight was not serious. But then real estate prices rocketed. Meanwhile, large tracts of worthless desert had been seized and fenced in by those who had either the foresight or foreknowledge to anticipate the coming public projects; and they subsequently were compensated handsomely by the state. With a rapid turnover of land and in the absence of legislation covering the acquisition of land for public uses, the cost to the Treasury was fantastic.
The process within the city itself differed somewhat from that outside the old city wall. Land was purchased in excess of what was actually required for public projects, and the surplus was later sold back to the public, often at a fraction (estimated at 4 percent) of its cost to the Treasury. Enormous private fortunes were amassed by both selling to, and buying from, the state. It has been estimated that between 1957 and 1962 close to $840,000,000 of public money was spent on land.
This huge expenditure would have been justified on the grounds that it engendered economic activity and diffused a large portion of the new wealth, were it not that in fact only a limited amount was piped into the local economy. By far the larger part was remitted abroad either directly, or indirectly through the banking system. Further, the wealth was not spread evenly, the greater part going to those at the top of the social pyramid, even though, because of the small size of the indigenous community, a fair amount did go also to the masses. It now is argued that unless the process is continued, large-scale bankruptcies will wreck the economy, since substantial bank advances have been made to merchants who are said to have invested them in land. It is difficult to ascertain whether this is true; but banking statistics show that advances to Kuwaiti residents (about $110,600,000 toward the end of 1963) represent just over 40 percent of total visible imports-a fact that hardly bears out the argument. Yet the practice continues unabated despite serious warning by government advisers and the recommendation of the World Bank.
The process of diffusing the new wealth was not confined, however, to land purchases. Social security benefits and state aid in most generous and varied forms, free medical treatment and scholarships for training abroad, the granting of free building sites and loans at very low interest-all were made available to the citizen as his birthright.
The effects of these measures on Kuwait must be evaluated from two standpoints: the response they evoked from the aliens and the impact they had on the citizen class.
That they have been effective in achieving their aim is obvious enough. They have introduced a sharp distinction between the two classes of society; and they have reserved to the citizens all the fruits of the windfall of riches (with the lion's share going to a relatively small group within this class). Little else can be said in favor of these measures. They have permanently estranged and embittered the most efficient and indispensable element in the community-the resident alien. Uprooted, often separated from his family, insecure and unsettled, he has now become envious and resentful. With little or no hope of being permanently integrated into the community, he is left without any sense of allegiance to Kuwait.
Let us look now at the impact of these protective and restrictive measures on the citizens for whom they were devised. An immediate consequence was the reversal of the old order that made the state and members of the ruling family dependent on the merchants, for now it was the latter who sought favors from the state. They wanted not only compensation for land but also the preservation of their commercial interests. While the state has been strengthened by its financial independence and has become less susceptible to pressures from this group, the change was not an unmixed blessing, considering that the government is not dependent upon popular consent for its annual income.
Further, the ease with which wealth has been acquired has impaired the enterprise of the mercantile class and made them dependent on the state. Hardly any worthwhile financial or industrial venture which deviates from the established pattern is ever attempted by Kuwaiti entrepreneurs (of whom there are, in any case, very few) unless it is assured of state financing, protection or guarantee. Conversely, private capital can be forthcoming to excess when an expatriate entrepreneur, acting with state coöperation, comes forward with new ideas for investment.
Developments are disturbing, too, at the other end of the social scale. Here the state's compensatory payments were naturally less extensive, since the property involved was mainly private dwelling houses. The money received was promptly spent, usually on prestige items or travel abroad. When this spurt was over, the common citizen was assured a modest income from a minor government sinecure, and various state benefits, plus a small private income from, say, a taxi or a tiny retail store-the whole accepted in much the same spirit as that of a pensioner receiving his dole.
Originally intended to preserve the identity of the old community, reserve the bulk of the new wealth for its citizens and protect them against the intruding aliens, these measures have inadvertently forced competition out of national life and made Kuwait an insular society. The elimination of competition now probably presents the most serious social danger facing Kuwait. Young people have lost their perspective, their urge to acquire knowledge, their acceptance of discipline. As a result, the drive, diligence and risk-taking that characterized the old Kuwaiti are no more. At both ends of the social scale the new citizen is content to enjoy a life of leisure and inertia, and is unwilling that this happy state of affairs should be disturbed. Protected, pampered, lavishly provided for and accountable to no one, he lives in a world of make-believe.
Another serious threat is posed to Kuwaiti society by the social vacuum which these measures have created. By relegating the traditionally dynamic classes to a position of only titular authority at the apex of the social pyramid or else to one of passive contentment, they have placed a premium on inertia and prevented the rise of an indigenous and dynamic middle class. The vacuum thus created is naturally filled by watchful and enterprising aliens.
The people attracted to Kuwait by its new wealth were of varied backgrounds, experiences and standards of conduct. The avarice and intrigues of many of them have brought bitter disillusionment to the Kuwaiti. Consequently, traditional Kuwaiti behavior is changing and men for whom the spoken word used to have the sanctity of a written contract have become instinctively suspicious of strangers and new ideas.
Further, the magnitude of the new wealth has given money and material possessions an importance and their owners a sense of power hitherto unknown. Naturally this has resulted in false perspectives. Ostentatious consumption, prodigal expenditure, idleness and pleasure-seeking are common; frugality, moderation and enterprise have become the antiquated virtues of a bygone age.
Finally, and most important of all, the new wealth has asssumed such proportions that it is beginning to threaten the very concept of the state. This is because the lavish welfare benefits and privileges have entailed no effort or sacrifice on the part of the public, which sees no need to contribute to a state whose chief problem is what to do with its income. A fundamental principle in the relationship between state and citizen has therefore been jeopardized-namely, that in exchange for protection and benefits, the citizen has a duty to serve it and to make necessary sacrifices for it. The idea of the state as a communal institution demanding service, sacrifice and devotion, and as an embodiment of political and social ideas, exists today in the minds and hearts of very few and exceptional Kuwaitis.
This tiny city-state: prodigal, complacent, short of technical skills, unperturbed by the acquisitiveness of its upper classes, the torpor of its common citizens and the savage rivalry among its resident aliens-what chance has it of survival in a poor, covetous and unstable region?
First it must be noted that most major events in the Middle East are influenced by external and regional forces; the survival of political régimes does not solely depend on their own economic or social merits. However, the record of Kuwait's achievements is such that (barring the unexpected) one may suppose that disruptive forces from outside will encounter there an exceptional degree of viability and resilience.
Kuwait entered the modern era of welfare and technology with very few handicaps from her past. Unfettered by rigid traditions or conventions, she was free to experiment and adopt institutions and practices best suited to her own circumstances. Naturally anyone willing to follow the rough path of trial and error must be prepared to pay the price; Kuwait was willing and has done so. This willingness to experiment with new ideas gives the state both dynamism and flexibility not often found in old societies. Kuwait is not stagnant, nor has her social fabric as yet assumed final form. Her social and economic legislation is constantly revised and improved; her public services are being reorganized and streamlined; her city planning is being reviewed.
There is, further, a feeling on the part of the indigenous community that its present privileged position can be preserved only by total and unqualified domestic solidarity. Solidarity among the Kuwaitis is a time- honored tradition, and the recent waves of immigration have so strengthened the need for it that any deviation is now simply inconceivable. This was plainly demonstrated in 1961 when the entire community rallied around the Emir in the face of Kassem's threats; all past rancor was forgotten as autocratic rule was wisely replaced by constitutional government.
Despite the shortcomings and dangers attending the rapid transformation of a primitive society into one of great sophistication, certain fundamental traits in the character of the individual Kuwaiti remain unimpaired. He still remains tolerant, placid, and, above all, devoted to and proud of his freedom. These qualities explain why differences of opinion continue to be settled by debate and not violence; why the fundamental freedoms of speech and the press are respected; why censorship and the secret police-two monumental features in every Arab state-do not figure in Kuwait's political life, and have no impact on the thoughts or actions of her people. It is fortunate that the drafting of the constitution should have been completed during this period of Kuwait's history when these qualities are still a salient feature of the Kuwaiti personality.
There remains one more item on this balance sheet which calls for special mention, namely Kuwait's attitude toward the massive, woeful and demoralizing poverty outside her boundaries.
Here again, Kuwait's perspicacity and high-mindedness have been extraordinary. Transcending all the animosities and feuds of contemporary Arab politics, she has single-handedly set up the most enduring and constructive institution ever attempted by a small state. This is the Kuwait Fund for the Economic Development of the Arab Countries, with capital resources totaling altogether K.D. 300,000,000 ($840,000,000). This institution has been established to make loans to other Arab states to enable them to carry out projects directly useful in developing their economies. It is a permanent, well-administered organization with clearly defined objectives and intelligent criteria for evaluating projects. It stands out as a monument to Kuwait's foresight and generosity. It also marks a turning point in her development as a state, for it demonstrates that she recognizes her responsibilities and is willing and able to live up to them. Within less than two years of its inception, the Fund has already lent $19,600,000 to the Sudan for the modernization of its railways; $21,000,000 to Jordan for agricultural and industrial projects; and $18,200,000 to Tunisia; besides substantial sums pledged to Algeria, the Yemen and the U.A.R.
Naturally, Kuwait is very proud of her achievements; but in determining her fate her own assessment of her performance is far less important than the opinion of her neighbors. Whether or not her extravagance will be excused because of her generosity, only time will tell. What is certain is that she can justify her survival as a political entity in this age of regional internationalism only by serving effectively and impartially as a distributor of substantial economic aid to her neighbors. Herein lies Kuwait's present raison d'être. In order to maintain her independent identity she will have to pursue her plans for economic aid with a zeal induced by the knowledge that it is an essential part of her struggle for survival.
[i] Both the British and the Swedish figures include payments by the private sector in the form of employers' and employees' contributions.
[ii] This fact is reflected in the number of air travelers, which in recent years has reached some 230,000 annually, or more than 70 percent of the total population.
[iii] However, this new practice does not include Kuwait's substantial reserves which still remain with the Bank of England in the name of His Highness the Emir.