Kuwait to shelve plans to re-instate mandatory military service

October 14, 2010
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Kuwait is likely to abandon plans to re-instate mandatory military service amid concerns about logistics and costs.

Kuwait daily Al Rai on Thursday reported that top military commanders believed that the service would be “too onerous” and would make heavy logistical demands on the army to accommodate the high number of Kuwaiti young men who would be drafted.

The insufficiency of adequately-equipped training grounds was also cited to explain the reluctance to reinstate the mandatory military service, the paper said, quoting sources it did not name.

“A different plan would be to use the funds to recruit young Kuwaitis for careers in the army,” the sources said. “According to estimates, there are around 23,000 Kuwaiti young men who will go for a military career if a plan to boost the current allowances and salaries of the military staff goes through. Such a number would ensure there is no shortage of the military forces,” the sources said.

According to the newspaper report, Kuwait’s military institution is mulling the establishment of colleges that will provide technical and electronic education.

“The courses will enable the military staff to acquire new skills or boost their aptitudes so that they can after they leave the army work in the private sector,” the sources said. “The idea is not to limit the role of military men to the use of weapons, but also to contribute, at a later stage, to the development of Kuwaiti society through applying their technical skills.”

In April, Kuwaiti daily Al Siyassah reported that the draft law on mandatory national military service would be “soon” submitted by the government to the parliament for a final decision.

Under the suggested law, Kuwaiti men aged between 20 and 30 will have to serve between six months and one year in the army.

Students, single sons and the members of the diplomatic corps will be exempted from the national service while handicapped and people with other disabilities will have to serve in military administrations, Al Siyassah said

Wages will be given to the recruits, but the amount will be decided by the government and the parliament.

The bill stated that the purpose of the military service was to encourage Kuwaitis to help meet the requirements of the defense ministry for more people to defend the country against possible threats.

The new law would supplant a law that was suspended in 2001 by the parliament upon a suggestion by the government.

Officials said that the new draft addressed the deficiencies and negative points in the former law.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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