What in the last few days were described as Islamist protests against the Kuwait government, are now being referred to as:
Taken from Al Jazeera:The opposition, made up of Islamists, nationalists and liberals, won a general election in February but the constitutional court quashed the vote in June and reinstated the previous pro-government parliament.
Kuwait opposition vows to defy ban on rally - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
Along with Bahrain, this makes two GCC countries that are directly challanged by protests linked to the Arab Spring. I am not sure if protesters in Bahrain can be described as 'Arab', but the term 'Arab Spring' is perhaps more generally applied with the passage of time. What we are seeing a general uprising of democracy, so it does not matter what other label is applied.
It will be interesting to see how the Kuwaiti Royal family react to this rising challange, further than they already have. Sectarian divisions like those that exist in Bahrain, cannot be played on to justify continued repression. With Kuwaiti opposition including democrats and Islamists, the sole motivation laid bare for the Kuwaiti Royal family to retain power, is respect for monarchy. Hard to say how big these protests are, but those particupating in them enjoy enough support to have beaten pro-government parties in the February elections.
This does not seem to be an anti-monarchist rebellion, but does put Kuwaits ruling Emir is in an awkward position. Kuwait is not a large country, and any attempt to abolish parliment entirely could backfire. Kuwait, not Bahrain, may prove the weak link the GCC's armour. There can be no settlement with the opposition that does not repeal the electoral law that overturned the last elections. So democracy, which took root as a condition of US intervention to liberate Kuwait in the 1sr Gulf War, must inevitably prevail.Opposition leaders insist they have no desire to undermine the Al-Sabah ruling family and on Friday pledged their loyalty to the emir while renewing their demand for the new electoral law to be repealed.
And if that law is overturned, Kuwait is on the road to becoming a functioning constitutional monarhcy. Even if it is not a 'republic', democratic voices will be influencing GCC policy. How much longer can Saudi Arabia itself then hold out against progress?