Kuwait: military service to create masculine men?

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The Kuwait Times reported on 15 July that Kuwaiti politicians and government officials are currently discussing the possibility of reintroducing a period of mandatory military service for male citizens aged between 21 and 30. Such a system would see all able-bodied men in this age group compelled to serve for one year with the Kuwaiti military, while it may also be made optional for women in the same age group. 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.

According to an article from 2008, the draft law stipulates that university graduates who pass all the training courses can serve a 9 month service period while those who fail must serve an additional two- months. For non-graduates, the service period will be 15 months long. It is not clear if the provisions in the present draft are the same.
People have expressed mixed reactions to the proposed legislation that has yet to be approved by the country's parliament and Cabinet, with discussion of the issue set to take place when parliament reconvenes in October.

According to Kuwait Times, public opinion is devided over the issue. The paper quotes Talal Al-Ajmi, aged 36, who said that ever since an earlier government ended the mandatory military service policy, Kuwaiti society's morals and ethics have declined. "Young men have no respect for anyone nowadays," he asserted. "There are many transvestites and effeminate men walking around the malls, so going through an experience like the military will hopefully mold them into being better citizens."

Hamad Al-Khabbaz, 25, believes that the law will never see the light of day for several reasons: "The first reason is the fact that mandatory military service proved to be a failure in the past; our government would be most unwise if it attempted to pass something like that. Second, the many supporters of this who believe that it will 'cure' our society of effeminacy are dead wrong." Al-Khabbaz voiced a belief that the more this issue is discussed, the more time is wasted.

Source: Kuwait Times: Mixed views on mandatory military service in Kuwait, 15 July 2010; Habib Toumi: Mandatory national military service in Kuwait one step closer, 18 April 2010; Kuwait Times: Military service draft law, 17 November 2008

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