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Fahed Al-Sumait

A Battle For Legitimacy: Gauging Kuwait's Electoral Results

[A polling station in Kuwait City, February 2012. Image from Flickr/Kuwaitelections2012]

On 1 December, Kuwait held an historic parliamentary election. What was extraordinary about the poll was that it took place despite a boycott by Kuwait’s main opposition groups, who represent a broad ideological spectrum and include many political veterans. As a result, Kuwait witnessed what appears to be the lowest voter turnout in its history. At roughly forty percent, it was neither high nor low enough to definitively support the competing claims about its ...

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A Boiling Kettle: Kuwait's Escalating Political Crisis

[Kuwaiti men run away from police tear gas during a demonstration in Kuwait City on 21 October 2012. Image by Gustavo Ferrari/AP Photo.]

Power-sharing is always a messy affair. Under the best of circumstances, striking a balance between competing forces is a perpetual work in progress, with political actors continually vying for control of the driver’s seat. In advanced democracies, the structural checks and balances built into the system limit the powers of each branch and (largely) constrain the contest for control within predefined limits. In countries such as Kuwait, where democratization is an ongoing ...

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Chaos in Kuwait: Politics as Usual?

[Kuwaiti National Assembly. Image by Kuwaitelections2012/flickr.]

On 18 June, the Emir of Kuwait, Shaykh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, suspended parliament for a month to head off an escalating row between the cabinet and parliament, the latter of which was about to publicly grill the interior minister over the country’s citizenship laws. Two days later, the constitutional court stepped in with its own ruling that declared the sitting (but newly suspended) parliament to be illegal and called for the reinstatement of the previous parliament. The ...

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Fahed Al-Sumait


Fahed Al-Sumait, an MEI research fellow, is an assistant professor of communication at the Gulf University for Science and Technology in Kuwait and was previously a Fulbright-Hays fellow for his research into contested discourses on Arab democratization. He is currently co-editing a book about Osama Bin Laden and the media, and his most recent publications include “Public Opinion Discourses on Democratization in the Arab Middle East” (Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 2011) and “Terrorism’s Cause and Cure: The Rhetorical Regime of Democracy in the US and UK” (Critical Studies on Terrorism, 2009). He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in communication from the University of New Mexico and the University of Washington, respectively.