Kuwait has largely avoided the kind of protests that have rocked other parts of the Middle East, partly thanks to a generous welfare system and partly due to a parliamentary system that is more representative than other Arab Gulf states.
But it has not entirely escaped unrest.
Discontent at alleged high-level corruption and a perceived plot to amend the constitution, as well as anger among Kuwait's Bidun - or stateless citizens - at their marginalisation, has fuelled protests in the tiny oil-rich state.
In December 2010, police clashed with demonstrators protesting against alleged government plans to roll back political freedoms, while in early 2011, hundreds of Bidun took to the streets of Salibiyah, one of Kuwait City's poorest districts.
But the Bidun, who comprise about 5% of the population, made it clear that their aim was not to overthrow the government dominated by the royal family.
Instead, waving the Kuwaiti flag and clutching pictures of the emir, they demanded citizenship in the country they call home - and the rights and privileges that go with it - until police used tear gas and water cannon to quell the marches.
In the wake of these protests, the government promised to make some concessions - from offering ration cards to reviewing access to public colleges and education.
Meanwhile, tensions also rose over long-running allegations that bribes had been paid to MPs to support the government, and hundreds of people, including opposition lawmakers, staged weekly protests outside parliament.
The protests reached a head in November 2011 when dozens of demonstrators stormed the chamber, forcing the resignation of the Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah.
In February 2012, Kuwait's Islamist-led opposition won a majority in snap parliamentary elections called by the Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, over the corruption crisis.
But in June, the country's constitutional court declared the elections illegal and dissolved the new parliament, triggering fresh mass protests and creating the potential for confrontation with the Islamists.