The Kuwaiti cabinet recently resigned after the Constitutional court invalidated legislative elections that took place in February. In that election, the opposition won a majority in parliament. The resignation of the cabinet is being viewed as a response to the Constitutional Court’s decision. Many supporters of the opposition movement insist that the court’s ruling had more to do with maintaining power than with constitutional law. This is not the first political crisis in Kuwait. Within the past six years nine cabinets have resigned and parliament has been dissolved four times.
The global impact of the current governmental unrest could be reflected in the world’s oil prices. Kuwait is one of the world’s largest oil producers, pumping around three million barrels per day. If the political unrest was to take a turn for the worst and result in revolution, the effect on oil prices could be severe. At a time where oil prices are at close to all-time highs and the United States struggles to recover from a recession, this is something that most would like to avoid.
It will be interesting to see what position the U.S. takes with regards to the Constitutional Court’s ruling. The U.S. is one of Kuwait’s biggest allies while at the same time being the world’s largest advocate of political freedom and fair elections. Will the United States want to get itself involved at the risk of higher oil prices in an already troubled economy? On the other hand, could U.S. involvement work to ensure that any unrest is contained and does not result in a larger governmental meltdown in Kuwait? The effects of political strife in an oil-producing nation have the potential to be felt by people all over the world. As a result it would be wise for the U.S. to monitor the situation closely and weigh the options before deciding whether to get involved.