Kuwait to reinstate mandatory military service – Defence minister

August 18, 2011

Kuwait will soon reinstate the mandatory military service, the country’s defence minister has said.

“The military service is among the priorities of the government,” Shaikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah said.

“The new law will be applicable soon,” he said, quoted by Al Aan news portal.

Kuwait’s parliament suspended the obligatory military service in 2001 upon a suggestion by the government, and the possibility of reinstating it has been a controversial issue.

In April last year, 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.

To defend against possible threats

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

However, in October, Kuwaiti daily Al Rai said that the country was likely not to heed calls by MPs to reinstate the mandatory military service amid concerns about logistics and costs.

Military commanders were quoted as claiming 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.

‘Insufficiency of adequate training grounds’

The insufficiency of adequately-equipped training grounds was also cited to explain the reluctance to reinstate the mandatory military service, Al Rai 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.

Technical colleges

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.”




About the author

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

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