Kuwait 11th Arab state to have mandatory military service

13,000 Kuwaitis expected to sign up for service in its initial stages

Gulf News

Manama: With its decision to reinstate mandatory military service 16 years after cancelling it, Kuwait has become the 11th country in the Arab world to opt for compulsory conscription.

On Sunday, Kuwait said that all Kuwaiti men born on May 10, 1999 and beyond had to undergo the procedures to get enlisted for military service.

It warned that those who failed to comply with the new regulations and register for drafting within 60 days of reaching the age of 18 would face strict punitive measures including travel bans, prison terms and fines.

Officials have predicted that up to 13,000 Kuwaitis would sign up for the service in its initial stages.

Kuwait thus became the third Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country to embrace mandatory military service, following Qatar in 2013 and the UAE in 2014, Saudi daily Okaz reported on Tuesday.

The three other GCC countries, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia do not impose military service on their citizens.

According to the latest figures, the eight other Arab countries that have a mandatory military service are Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania and Sudan. The Arab League has 22 member states.

Jordan dropped the compulsory military service in 1994 while Lebanon cancelled it in 2007.

Morocco did away with the service in 2006 amid reports that Islamists were trying to infiltrate the army as part of their agenda.

However, people have been calling for reintroducing mandatory drafting, arguing that young men needed it “to build stronger character and to reinforce their sense of patriotism and sacrifice in the service of the country.”

The same call is being issued in several other countries where people say that military readiness was crucially needed to deal with the increasing security risks, regional and international challenges and the escalating terror threats.

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