Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsSabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
|Emir of Kuwait|
|Reign||29 January 2006 –
29 September 2020
|Successor||Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber|
16 June 1929|
Kuwait City, Kuwait
|Died||29 September 2020
Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
|Spouse||Fatuwah bint Salman Al-Sabah (died 1990)|
|House||House of Sabah|
|Father||Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah|
|Mother||Munira Othman Hamad Al-Ayyar Al-Saeed|
Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (Arabic: الشيخ صباح الأحمد الجابر الصباح; 16 June 1929 – 29 September 2020) was the Emir of Kuwait and the Commander of the Kuwait Military Forces. He was sworn in on 29 January 2006 after confirmation by the National Assembly and served until his death on 29 September 2020. He was the fourth son of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
Early life and early career
Al-Sabah was born on 16 June 1929. He received his primary education at Al Mubarakya School in the 1930s and completed his education under tutors. He was the half-brother of the previous Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who appointed Sabah as Prime Minister in July 2003, replacing the Crown Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Saad Al-Salim Al-Sabah. His brother was killed in the deliberate crash of Royal Air Maroc Flight 630.
Before becoming Emir of Kuwait, Sabah was the foreign minister from 1963 to 1991 and from 1992 to 2003. As foreign minister, Sabah restored Kuwaiti international relations after the Gulf War. He was also first deputy prime minister while serving as foreign minister. He was acting minister of finance from 1965 to 1967.
He was prime minister and de facto ruler in 2003–06, due to Jaber III's ill health.
On 15 January 2006, the Emir, Sheikh Jaber, died, making Sheikh Saad, Crown Prince of Kuwait, the new Emir. With Saad's accession, Sabah was likely to become the new Crown Prince, retaining his function of Prime Minister. But the Constitution requires that the Emir be sworn in before Parliament, and the oath of office is complex. Soon, word began to spread that Saad was unable to take the oath in full. Some reports suggested that he suffered from Alzheimer's disease or some other debilitating disease; it was generally agreed that he was unable to speak, at least at any length. After a power struggle within the ruling family, Saad agreed to abdicate as Emir of Kuwait on 23 January 2006 due to his illness. The ruling family then conferred and Sabah became the new Emir. On 24 January 2006, the National Assembly of Kuwait voted Saad out of office, moments before an official letter of abdication was received. The Cabinet of Kuwait nominated Sabah as Emir. He was sworn in on 29 January 2006 with the National Assembly's approval, ending that crisis.
Dissolution of the National Assembly
Sabah dissolved the National Assembly on 19 March 2008 and called for early elections on 17 May 2008, after the cabinet resigned in the week of 17 March 2008 following a power struggle with the government. A struggle broke out between the government and parliament in 2012; he consequently dissolved the parliament.
Sabah was a respected regional and international mediator due in part to his place in the Gulf Cooperation Council's leadership order and his 40 years of service as Foreign Minister and Prime Minister. Under his leadership, Kuwait acted as a go-between for Pakistan and Bangladesh, Turkey and Bulgaria, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, factions in the civil war in Lebanon, and the Gulf States and Iran. In 2016 Sabah hosted several United Nations sponsored meetings of leaders from the warring factions in the Yemeni Civil War.
Sabah quickly established Kuwait as the key mediator in the Qatar diplomatic crisis, meeting with Saudi and Emirati officials on 6–7 June before leaving for Doha to discuss the rift with Qatari leaders. His ongoing efforts have been publicly supported by Qatar and other interested parties from the region as well as the U.S., UK, France, and Germany. At the beginning of September 2017, Sabah discussed the situation with top officials in Washington, D.C., including U.S. President Donald Trump, who "hailed his efforts" to mediate and "applauded Kuwait's 'critical contributions to regional stability'". There were some questions from the boycotting countries about any preconditions. French President Emmanuel Macron stated French support for Sabah's mediation efforts after a meeting in Paris on 15 September 2017, reiterating June 2017 statements of support for the initiative. Trump and Sabah had a third meeting at the White House on 5 September 2018.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called Sabah a "global humanitarian leader", saying, "His support of disaster relief, peace efforts and advancing public health are an inspiration. Other world leaders can learn from the wise example set by my friend, His Highness the Emir."
According to the 2014 Middle East Coutts Report, Sabah provided the largest individual donation in 2013 among GCC members in support of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, $300 million. Also in 2014, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cited Sabah as a humanitarian leader globally and presented him with a Humanitarian Award. Ban said, "It gives me great pleasure and honour to be here today to recognize the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait. This is a great humanitarian day. We are sitting together with a great humanitarian leader of our world".
In 2015, Sabah pledged $500 million toward easing the Syrian humanitarian crisis at the UN Summit convened in Kuwait.
In August 2017, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed gratitude for Kuwait's leadership in humanitarian action, as well as the “dialogue […] and promotion of understanding Kuwait has shown in relation to all conflicts in the region," adding, "But it's not only the humanitarian leadership of Kuwait, it's the wisdom, the dialogue, the promotion of understanding that Kuwait has shown in relation to all conflicts in the region. Kuwait has no agenda. The agenda of Kuwait is peace; is understanding.” Guterres further noted the positive role Sabah played in the current GCC crisis and recalled that when he was High Commissioner for Refugees (June 2005 to December 2015) Sabah presided over the three conferences to mobilize the international community to support the Syrian people.
Death and succession
After months of hospitalization at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Al-Sabah died on 29 September 2020 at 08:00 CDT (16:00 Kuwaiti Time) at the age of 91 due to long-term health issues. The Kuwait government declared 40 days of mourning. Kuwaiti Television and Radio broke normal programming on that day and broadcast Recitation of the Qur'anic Verses before Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, Minister of the Amiri Diwani Affairs, appeared at 16:48, formally announcing the Emir's passing. Sheikh Sabah's half brother the crown prince of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf was announced as the Emir of Kuwait. He was buried at Sulaibikhat cemetery alongside his kin.
Titles, honors, and awards
Foreign Honors and awards
- Albania : Honorary Citizen of Tirana, Albania (12 April 2008)
- Albania : Grand Cordon of the Skanderbeg's Order (Decorated by President of Albania Bamir Topi on 27 May 2012)
- Argentina : Grand Cross of the Order of the Liberator General San Martín
- Azerbaijan : Heydar Aliyev Order (14 June 2009)
- Italy : Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (26 April 2010)
- Mexico : Collar of the Order of the Aztec Eagle (20 January 2016)
- Spain : Collar of the Order of Civil Merit (23 May 2008)
- Turkey : Collar of the Order of the State of Republic of Turkey (21 March 2017)
- United States : Legion of Merit, Chief Commander Degree (17 September 2020).
- United Nations : United Nations Humanitarian Leadership (9 September 2014)
- International Organization for Migration : IOM Humanitarian Medal (24 November 2014)
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