Survival of the Kuwaiti statelet: Najd’s expansion and the question of British protection

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    Abstract

    For Kuwait in the 1920s, the most pressing problem was how to respond to the rising power of the neighbouring polity of Najd. Acting initially under the leadership of Ibn Saud, the future founder-king of Saudi Arabia, raiding Najdi tribes, many of whom followed the strict creed of Wahhabism and were referred to as Ikhwan (brotherhood), at one point threatened to conquer Kuwait. Moreover, Ibn Saud, who would later turn against recalcitrant elements of the Ikhwan, pressed his claims over large parts of Kuwaiti territory. This article analyzes how the Al Sabah rulers navigated through these turbulent waters. In particular, it explores how successive Kuwaiti leaders grappled with the uncertainty of British protection in their attempts to retain tiny Kuwait’s autonomy.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)381-395
    Number of pages15
    JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
    Volume56
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 3 May 2020

    Keywords

    • Britain
    • Ibn Saud
    • Ikhwan
    • Kuwait
    • protection

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