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Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad dies at 91

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Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, known for his regional mediation and humanitarian efforts, died Tuesday at the age of 91.

He was sworn into the role of Kuwait’s leader in 2006 following the death of his half-brother Sheikh Jaber al-Sabah.

Sheikh Sabah leaves behind his legacy as a key mediator of regional disputes and a leading philanthropist in the Middle East and beyond.

The Emir “dominated Kuwait domestic politics and international relations for a generation,” according to former US Ambassador to Kuwait Douglas Silliman.

Accession to power

Born in Kuwait on June 16, 1929, Sheikh Sabah was the fourth son of Sheikh Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah. After receiving his primary education at the al-Mubarakiya School, he went on to complete his education under tutors.

Before his accession to power, Sheikh Sabah was Kuwait’s foreign minister from 1963 to 1991 and then again from 1992 to 2003, while also serving as Deputy Prime Minister.

As the foreign minister at the time of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the Emir “became the face of Kuwait” to Americans and the international community, according to Ambassador Silliman.

“He was the one who helped put together the diplomatic push against Saddam Hussein and the occupation,” Silliman said

He was sworn into power on January 29, 2006, following the death of Sheikh Jaber and the abdication of Sheikh Saad.

With 40 years of experience in international affairs, Sheikh Sabah quickly positioned Kuwait as a key mediator in several regional disputes.

When tensions began to rise between Qatar and the five other Gulf states in 2014, the Emir went on a regional tour to visit the countries involved to try to defuse the conflict.



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