You may have heard on the news in the last week that the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah passed away at the age of 91. He was by far the most important person in Kuwait who was well respected and loved by many not just in Kuwait but across the world. Born in 1929 in Kuwait City. For four decades he was Foreign Minister. He was seen as the lead figure for peace talks in the region, most recently with the Gulf Crisis.
There had been talks in the country on his health condition for some time this year as he was seeking treatment in America. I believe it hasn’t been announced officially the cause of his death but that it is a huge loss and sadness for this country.
With the region going through such a fragile moment in history that we must not forget because of the virus, the Amir of Kuwait held such a role for negotiating between countries and building relations that had essentially broken down in the region. I guess you could say he was the peace figure that people looked up to.
Following his passing Kuwait announced a 3 day national mourning which meant everything was closed to pay their respects to the Amir of Kuwait. The flag of Kuwait was lowered across the country to half mast. Many people referred to him as the Amir of Humanity.
So what happens now for Kuwait?
The government of Kuwait announced that Sheikh Nawaf AlAhmed Al Jaber Al Sabah will serve as the Amir of Kuwait.
Officials and senior sheikhs have already met with Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah to take the oath. He will become the 16th Amir of Kuwait. In his speech he stated the following …
“I swear by God Almighty to respect the Constitution and the laws of the state, provide for the people’s freedoms, interests and money, and safeguard the nation’s independence and territorial integrity”.
Expressing condolences across the world
The United Arab Emirates had its national flag raised at half-mast for three days as a tribute to the Amir.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani also expressed his condolences, describing the Amir as ‘a great leader characterised by his wisdom, moderation and far-sightedness’. Qatar also declared a state of mourning and lowered its flags to half-mast.
Queen Elizabeth also put out a condolence message staying “I was saddened to hear of the death of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah. Your distinguished brother devoted his life to the service of the State of Kuwait and especially its relationship with its allies and friends. He will be long remembered by all who work for regional stability, understanding between nations and between faiths, and for the humanitarian cause. I have deeply valued his friendship towards the United Kingdom, and his memorable State Visit in November 2012. I offer Your Highness my sincere condolences. I offer also my sympathy to the people of Kuwait. May the long history of close companionship between our two families continue.”
Of course many more royals and world leaders across the world expressed their condolences to Kuwait.
Remembering the Amir of Kuwait as the one who strived for peace
If you remember in 2017 when the blockade was imposed on Qatar by sea and air etc, it was the Amir of Kuwait who stepped in for negotiations. Opening dialogue was something the Amir was passionate about. Due to the fact he was so well respected in the region, people would listen to him and appreciate his efforts.
The Amir of Kuwait was heavily praised for his efforts in rebuilding the country after the Iraq invasion in 1990. Building up a lot of popularity and respect, in 2003 he was made as Prime Minister for the country.
In 2015 when Kuwait witnessed its first bombing for a significant period of time, the Amir arrived at the scene expressing his sadness despite the security warnings at the time. It is clear that the Amir of Kuwait always seemed to go with what he felt was right at the time. He had the country’s best interests at heart and that’s what people loved.
What next for Kuwait?
I guess there is anticipation of what lies next for Kuwait. I guess we will have to see however I hope leaders across the region will look up to the Amir of Kuwait for what he has achieved over the decades and the level of genuine respect he has received nationally and internationally.
R.I.P Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah