Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, dies at 91

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah died on Tuesday after four decades as the country’s foreign minister and then ruler, following an independent path through hostilities and strife in the Middle East. He was 91 years old.

His death was announced in an official statement read on state television. According to Kumit’s government news agency, Kuna, Amir underwent surgery and was then moved to the United States in July for medical treatment.

His death is expected to elevate his 82-year-old half-brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed al-Sabah, under Kuwait’s leadership. While the policies of the incoming emir were not yet clear, analysts predict that Kuwait will continue to act as a mediator in its turbulent neighborhood, deftly navigating between Saudi Arabia and the UAE and the enemies of those Arab states, Iran and Qatar. , other side.

Dominantly between the Persian Gulf state of Saudi Arabia and Iraq in the south, with a population of 3.5 million, Kuwait has the world’s sixth-largest oil reserves, giving it more powerful assets that give it a degree of independence from its more powerful neighbors.

Seth Sabah was an architect and often embodied an independent, non-inclusive foreign policy.

Kuwait acted as a regional movement in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain clashed with Qatar over allegations that it had weakened other countries’ rulers by financing terrorism, interfering in their domestic affairs, Al Jazeera said. Were provided. Network and cozying up to Iran.

Scattered throughout the region’s tribal, religious and political dynamics, Seth Sabah flew from the Arab capital to the capital himself in the mid-1990s, and negotiations eventually led to a biased approach to the two parties.

When Qatar’s opponents severed ties with the country in 2017 – this time joining Egypt – Kuwait again acted as a mediator, albeit with little success. Qatar and its opponents have maintained political and economic relations and the land and sea blockade against Qatar is still stable. (Qatar denies interfering in other countries or sponsoring terrorism.)

Despite the ups and downs of the period, Kuwait has remained politically stable. With an elected parliament, seemingly like political parties and sometimes with vigorous public debates, Kuwait can participate in their government to the fullest extent than their Gulf Arab neighbors, who rule a full monarchy.

The country has been a key ally of the United States since 1991, when US-led forces repelled the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait during the Gulf War. Today, Kuwait hosts about 13,000 American troops.

James A., who was Secretary of State during the war. Baker III said in a statement Tuesday that Seth Sabah was “always a clear and reliable ally.”

“Whether it works to calm difficult rivalries between rival countries or to provide relief to refugees from war-torn countries,” he added. “Seth Sabah is focused on helping us build a better world.”

However, that stability has been tested. Under Kuwait’s political system, Amir appointed a prime minister from the Sabah family and retained the final say on state affairs, an appointment that promotes long-term tensions between the cabinet and the elected parliament. And that imbalance led to its biggest domestic crisis in the second half of Seth Sabah’s reign – when the Arab Spring uprising that swept the Middle East in 2011 reached Kuwait, raising open questions about the extent of the ruling family’s power. .

Kuwaiti’s opposition and opposition legislators, seen as a government intervention in the parliamentary elections and a corruption scandal among members of parliament, pushed for constitutional reform to forcibly oust the ruling family and move the country closer to a full parliamentary system. .

Thousands took to the streets of Kuwait to protest, forcing Amir to take over as prime minister and dissolve parliament. The unrest lasted for two years, during which Amir used emergency laws to change election rules in a way that the opposition said was in favor of government candidates.

The opposition-majority parliament was dissolved, protesters repeatedly clashed with police in the streets, and dozens of protesters were arrested for criticizing Amir.

Seth Sabah was born in Kuwait on June 6, 1929, the fourth son of Amir at the time. His family has ruled Kuwait continuously since the middle of the 18th century. According to the official biography posted on the Kuwaiti embassy website, the young sheikh was educated in Kuwaiti schools and by private teachers.

Appointed to a government committee at the age of 25, he held various government positions until his death. His most notable role before becoming rich was as foreign minister, a position he held for most of his life from 2003 to 2003, when he was made prime minister.

According to Kuwaiti tradition, Seth Sabah did not rule as the position of amir should be alternate between the two branches of the ruling family. However, his predecessor, Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, was ousted nine days after the health crisis in 2006, nine days after Seth Saad’s rule. Seth Sad died in 2008 at the age of 78.