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Kuwait

Driving Directions Kuwait

KUWAIT is a tiny Arab Emirate on The Gulf, comprising the city of Kuwait at the southern entrance of Kuwait Bay, a small desert wedged between Iraq and Saudi Arabia and nine small offshore islands. Most of the land is barren and consists of a gently undulating plain with no nat­ural watercourses.

Desalination plants use seawater from The Gulf to supply Kuwait's freshwater needs. The climate is hot and humid in sum­mer and cools to mild in winter with a small amount of rainfall.

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There is little agriculture due to lack of water. The major crops produced are melons, tomatoes, onions, and dates. Shrimp fishing is becoming a critical industry. Vast reserves of petroleum and natural gas are the mainstay of the economy, although this wealth is limited.

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Kuwait has about 950 oil wells, 600 of which fired during the Iraqi occupation in 1991. Apart from oil, the country’s industries include boatbuilding and the production of plastics, petrochemicals, gases, cement, and building materials.

Kuwait supported Iraq during the IraqIran war in the 1980s but, after the conflict ended, the relationship between Kuwait and Iraq deteriorated, with disputes centered upon the price of oil, the shared Rumaila oilfield, and non-repayment of loans owed by Iraq. The culmination of these disagreements was the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, which led to international involvement and the Gulf War.

Before being driven out of Kuwait, the Iraqi forces set fire to the country’s oil wells resulting in devastating environmental damage. The war caused a period of political instability and repressive measures by the Kuwaiti government against people (mainly Palestinians) whom it considered having collaborated with Iraq.

Kuwait has also had to rebuild its shattered infrastructure and economy and make some attempt to repair the environmental damage.

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