Pushing Toward Party Politics? Kuwait's Islamic Constitutional Movement

Paper Carnegie Endowment
The political arm of the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood may soon have more political influence than most of its sister movements, yet must strike a balance between building a broad political coalition and pursuing its goal of Islamization – a vision challenged by some political actors. How will this affect future democratic reforms, as well as the Brotherhood’s goal of a more Islamic society? 
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The political arm of the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood stands poised to achieve more political influence than almost any of its sister movements in the Middle East, yet must strike a balance between building a broad political coalition and pursuing its goal of Islamization – a vision for the nation challenged by a number of Kuwaiti political actors.  How will this need for compromise affect future democratic reforms in the country, as well as the Brotherhood’s long-term goal of a more Islamic society? 

In this Carnegie Paper, Pushing toward Party Politics? Kuwait’s Islamic Constitutional Movement, Nathan Brown, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, explores how the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), in an effort to gain political legitimacy, has pursued democratic reforms and formed alliances with other opposition forces it regards as unsympathetic to its religious, cultural, and moral values.

Despite critics who question the ICM’s commitment to democratic principles, Brown argues that the ICM “supports liberalizing political reforms fairly faithfully, but it draws the line when liberalization leads in a cultural direction” contrary to its goals of Islamization.  The ICM holds strong positions against perceived moral corruption in Kuwaiti society, often using forceful language that it eschews on most other occasions.

Brown believes that the ICM is entering a period of greater tension in its relationship with the government and while the relatively permissive political atmosphere in Kuwait will probably survive, the current tension will force all political actors to develop new strategies to achieve their objectives.

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About the Author
Nathan J. Brown is a senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment, and co-author of the Carnegie Paper Islamist Movements and the Democratic Process in the Arab World: Exploring Gray Zones. He is also a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.

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About the Democracy and Rule of Law Program

The Carnegie Democracy and Rule of Law Program rigorously examines the global state of democracy and the rule of law and international efforts to support their advance.


About the Middle East Program

The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.

Source http://carnegieendowment.org/2007/02/13/pushing-toward-party-politics-kuwait-s-islamic-constitutional-movement/3kex

In Fact



of the Chinese general public

believe their country should share a global leadership role.


of Indian parliamentarians

have criminal cases pending against them.


charter schools in the United States

are linked to Turkey’s Gülen movement.


thousand tons of chemical weapons

are in North Korea’s possession.


of import tariffs

among Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have been eliminated.


trillion a year

is unaccounted for in official Chinese income statistics.


of GDP in oil-exporting Arab countries

comes from the mining sector.


of Europeans and Turks

are opposed to intervention in Syria.


of Russian exports to China

are hydrocarbons; machinery accounts for less than 1%.


of undiscovered oil

is in the Arctic.


U.S. government shutdowns

occurred between 1976 and 1996.


of Ukrainians

want an “international economic union” with the EU.


million electric bicycles

are used in Chinese cities.


of the world’s energy supply

is consumed by cities.


of today’s oils

require unconventional extraction techniques.


of the world's population

will reside in cities by 2050.


of Syria’s population

is expected to be displaced by the end of 2013.


of the U.S. economy

is consumed by healthcare.


of Brazilian protesters

learned about a massive rally via Facebook or Twitter.


million cases pending

in India’s judicial system.

1 in 3


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political parties

contested India’s last national elections.


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works in the private sector.


of oil consumed in the United States

is for the transportation sector.


of Chechnya’s pre-1994 population

has fled to different parts of the world.


of oil consumed in China

was from foreign sources in 2012.


billion in goods and services

traded between the United States and China in 2012.


billion in foreign investment and oil revenue

have been lost by Iran because of its nuclear program.


increase in China’s GDP per capita

between 1972 and today.


billion have been spent

to complete the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran.


of Iran’s electricity needs

is all the Bushehr nuclear reactor provides.



were imprisoned in Turkey as of August 2012 according to the OSCE.

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