Britain oversaw foreign relations and defense for the rul ing Kuwai ti AL-SABAH dynasty from1899 unti l independence in 1961. Kuwai t was attacked and overrun by Iraq on 2 August 1990.
Following several weeks of aerial bombardment, a US-led, UN coal ition began a ground assaulton 23 February 1991 that liberated Kuwait in four days. Kuwai t spent more than $5 bi ll ion torepai r oil infrastructure damaged during 1990-91. The AL-SABAH fami ly has ruled since returning to power in 1991 and reestablished an elected legislature that in recent years has become increasingly assert ive. The count ry wi tnessed the histor ic election in May 2009 of four women to its National Assembly. Amid the 2010-11 uprisings and protests across the Arab world, stateless
Arabs, known as bidoon, staged small protests in February and March 2011 demanding citizenship, jobs, and other benef its available to Kuwait i nationals. Youth activist groups -
suppor ted by opposit ion legislators and the prime minister's rivals within the ruling fami ly -rall ied in March 2011 for an end to corrupt ion and the ouster of the pr ime minister and his cabinet. Similar protests continued sporadical ly throughout April and May. In late September 2011 government inquiries of widespread corruption drew more public anger and renewed cal ls for the prime minister's removal .