Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is the Emir of Kuwait.

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Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (Arabic: صباح الأحمد الجابر الصباح Ṣabāḥ al-ʼAḥmad al-Jābir aṣ-Ṣabāḥ; born 16 June 1929) is the Emir of Kuwait. Sheikh Sabah was sworn in on 29 January 2006 after confirmation by the National Assembly of Kuwait. He is the fourth son of Emir Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Sheikh Sabah is the head of the ruling House of Sabah family. He is introducing many new projects in Kuwait to increase the tourism industry. He is also a strong advocate for women’s rights in the Middle East.

Though Kuwait initially avoided the Arab Spring pro-democracy protests sweeping the region since early 2011, thanks to its oil wealth and large welfare provisions, a struggle broke out between the House of Sabah and a parliament calling for greater independence in 2012, leading the Al-Sabahs to dissolve parliament.[1] On 15 October 2012, opposition lawmaker Musallam Al-Barrak created a controversy when he broke with precedent and directly criticized the Emir at a political rally, accusing him of "autocracy". Kuwaiti security forces subsequently arrested Al-Barrak for "undermining the emir", causing another large protest on his behalf.

Early life

Al-Sabah was born on 16 June 1929. He received primary education at Al Mubarakya School during the 1930s and then completed his education under tutors. He is the half-brother of the previous Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber III al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, who appointed Sabah as Prime Minister in July 2003, replacing the then Crown Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah. He had previously been Foreign Minister for 40 years, from 1963 to 2003, making him one of the longest-serving foreign ministers in the world.

Al-Sabah is a widower. His wife, Sheikha Fitooh, died before the Iraqi invasion of August 1990. He has two sons, Sheikh Nasser (Minister of the Ruler's Court "Diwan Amiri"), and Sheikh Hamed. Sheikh Sabah also had two other children who died. His daughter, Sheikha Salwa, died from breast cancer in July 2002. In her honor, the Emir named his palace "Dar Salwa", which means "The House of Salwa". His third son, Sheikh Ahmed, died in a car accident in 1969.

Foreign Minister of Kuwait

Prior to being the Emir of Kuwait, Al-Sabah was the Foreign Minister of Kuwait between 1963 and 2003. Al-Sabah was the longest serving foreign minister in the world, making him known to be adept in foreign relations and diplomacy.[citation needed] During Sabah's time as foreign minister he had to restore Kuwaiti international relations after the Gulf War. Sabah played a big role in the efforts of liberating the country after the Iraqi invasion. HH joined the former emir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in the United Nations in a meeting with the U.S. President George H. W. Bush and other allies to help in liberating Kuwait.

Reign

Dynastic crisis of January 2006



U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney meets with Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah to deliver condolences on the death of the Emir in 2006.

On 15 January 2006, then Emir, Sheikh Jaber, died, which placed Sheikh Saad, who was then Crown Prince of Kuwait, into the position of Emir. With the accession of Sheikh Saad, Sabah was likely to become the new Crown Prince, retaining his function of Prime Minister. However, the Constitution requires that the Emir be sworn in before Parliament, and the oath of office is complex; soon the word began to spread that Sheikh Saad was unable to take the oath in full. Some reports suggested that he suffered from Alzheimers or some other debilitating disease; it was generally agreed that he was unable to speak, at least at any length.[2] However, after a power struggle within the ruling family, Sheikh Saad agreed to abdicate as the Emir of Kuwait on 23 January 2006 due to his illness. The ruling family then chose Sheikh Sabah as the new Emir of Kuwait. On 24 January 2006, Kuwait’s parliament voted Emir Saad out of office, moments before an official letter of abdication was received.[3] The Kuwaiti Cabinet nominated Al-Sabah to take over as emir. He swore in on 29 January 2006 with the National Assembly's approval, ending that crisis.

Government crisis of March 2008

Al-Sabah dissolved the National Assembly of Kuwait 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.[4]

2012 parliamentary suspension

Though Kuwait initially avoided the Arab Spring pro-democracy protests sweeping the region since early 2011, thanks to its oil wealth and large welfare provisions, a struggle broke out between the House of Sabah and a parliament calling for greater independence in 2012, leading the Al-Sabahs to dissolve parliament.[1] In June 2012 Al-Sabah took the step of activating article 106 of the Kuwaiti constitution, suspending the National Assembly for one month. It marked the first time in Kuwait's 50-year parliamentary history that the assembly has been suspended in this way, although it was twice dissolved unconstitutionally (in 1976 and in 1986), and has been dissolved constitutionally four times since 2006.[5]

Opposition leader Musallam Al-Barrak assailed the decision to dissolve parliament, calling it a "blatant attack on the choice of the people"[6] and "a coup against the constitution".[7] On 15 October, he spoke before a crowd of thousands of protesters in front of the parliament building. In a speech that BBC News described as "unprecedented" in Kuwaiti political discourse, where criticism of Emir is "taboo", Al-Barrak addressed Emir Al-Sabah directly, stating, "We will not allow you, your highness, to take Kuwait into the abyss of autocracy ... We no longer fear your prisons and your baton sticks".[8] Riot police broke up the protest, arresting a number of people, and the public prosecutor filed charges against Al-Barrak.[8]

Al-Barrak was arrested on 29 October for "undermining the status of the emir".[9] On 1 November, thousands of people marched to the prison to protest his arrest. After the crowd refused an order to disperse, police fired smoke bombs and tear gas to break up the protest.[10] Amnesty International issued a statement on Al-Barrak's behalf, stating that he had been detained "purely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression" and calling for the charges against him to be dropped.[11]

After four days of detention, Al-Barrak was released on bail after reportedly paying more than US$35,500.[12] As of 2 November 2012, the charges against him were still pending.[13]

Significant laws that have been passed during his reign

  • Repeal of law against public gatherings[citation needed]
  • A law increasing the amount of licenses available for privately held newspapers and television stations[citation needed]
  • An increase of his stipend from 8 million KD (approximately $25 million) to 50 million KD (approximately $188 million) annually[citation needed]
  • A new media law that is one of the strongest press freedom laws in the Arab world[14]

Other positions held

  • Member of the Central Committee Municipality Council from 1954 to 1955.
  • Member of the Building and Construction council.
  • Chairman of the Social Affairs and Labour Authority in 1955.
  • Member of the Higher Council of Country Affairs in 1956.
  • Chairman of the Printing and Publishing Authority from 9 September 1956 to 17 January 1962
  • Minister of Information - in the first cabinet that took power after independence in the period of Sheikh Abdullah Salim Al-Sabah, on 17 January 1962.
  • Foreign Minister since 28 January 1963.
  • Deputy Prime Minister on 16 February 1978 in addition to his post of Foreign Minister.
  • First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister on 18 October 1992.
  • Member of the Supreme Council of Planning in 1996, headed by the Crown Prince Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah.
  • Chairman of the Cabinet's Joint Ministerial Committee on Priorities of Governmental Work.
  • Prime Minister from 13 July 2003 to 29 January 2006.
  • Honorary Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

Titles, styles and honours

Titles and styles

  • His Excellency Sheikh Sabah bin Ahmad Al-Sabah (1929–2003)
  • His Highness Sheikh Sabah bin Ahmad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait (2003–2006)
  • His Highness Sheikh Sabah IV bin Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait (2006 – present)[15]

Honours and awards

  • Distinguished First Class of the Order of Abdulaziz al Saud (2 July 2000)
  • First Class of the Order of Merit (10 July 2002)
  • Collar of Abdulaziz al Saud (11 March 2006)
  • Collar of the Order of Khalifa (12 March 2006)
  • Collar of Independence (13 March 2006)
  • Order of Zayed (March 2006)
  • Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (1 December 2006)
  • The Grand Order of Mugunghwa (25 March 2007)
  • Honorary Citizen of Tirana, Albania (12 April 2008)[16]
  • Extraordinary Grade of the Lebanese Order of Merit (20 January 2009)
  • Heydar Aliyev Order (2009)[17]
  • First Class of the Order of Merit, (24 June 2009)
  • First Class the Civil Order of Oman (28 December 2009)
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (26 April 2010)[18]
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of Civil Merit (Syria) (16 May 2010)
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Star of Jordan (17 May 2010)
  • Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (27 April 2010)
  • Grand Cordon of the National Order of the Cedar (18 May 2010)
  • Order of the Liberator General San Martín (16 Jan 2011)
  • Order of the Chrysanthemum (March 2012)
  • Order of Lakandula (March 2012)
  • Honorary doctorate in Law from the George Washington University (30 June 2005)
  • Albania: Skanderbeg's Order (decorated by President of Albania Bamir Topi on 27 May 2012)[19]

Hobbies

The Emir enjoys fishing and going to Oman frequently (Salalah in the Dhofar Governorate to be exact)[20] where he owns a small island[citation needed] and goes fishing for leisure. He shies away from areas where there is a lot of glamour preferring instead areas where he can keep a low profile. Al-Sabah also used to go to Somalia to hunt, but after the political turmoil, he stopped visiting.[20]

References

  1. "Kuwait opposition to boycott vote, calls for protests". Chicago Tribune. 3 November 2012. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-10-20/news/sns-rt-us-kuwait-electionsbre89j0ed-20121020_1_kuwait-opposition-sheikh-sabah-al-sabah. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  2. "The Kuwait Succession Crisis and the New Leadership". The Estimate. 27 February 2006. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. http://www.theestimate.com/public/022706.html. Retrieved 7 December 2006.
  3. Tim Butcher (24 January 2006). "Kuwait in crisis as sick emir abdicates". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/kuwait/1508676/Kuwait-in-crisis-as-sick-emir-abdicates.html. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  4. "Emir steps in to stem Kuwait's conflict". CNN. 19 March 2008. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/03/19/kuwait.parliament/index.html. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  5. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen (20 June 2012). "Political showdown in Kuwait". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/06/20/political_showdown_in_kuwait. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  6. Hussain al-Qatari (20 June 2012). "Kuwait Court Rules 2012 Elections Unconstiutional". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/kuwait-court-rules-2012-elections-unconstitutional. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  7. "Kuwait court reinstates previous parliament". Al Jazeera. 20 June 2012. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/06/201262010340921740.html. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  8. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen (22 October 2012). "Kuwait: Political crisis at critical juncture". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20026581. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  9. "Kuwait: Ex-MP Mussallam al-Barrak freed on bail". BBC News. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20165318. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  10. "Kuwaitis protest jailing of opposition figure". Al Jazeera. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/11/2012111017063656.html. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  11. "Kuwait: Charges against Musallam al-Barrak must be dropped". Amnesty International. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/kuwait-2012-10-31. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  12. "Kuwait warns of harsher crackdown on protests". Al Jazeera. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/11/201211114229930360.html. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  13. "Kuwait: Ex-MP Mussallam al-Barrak freed on bail". BBC News. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20165318. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  14. Jefferson Morley (3 November 2012). "Arab Press on Trial Again". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. http://blog.washingtonpost.com/worldopinionroundup/2006/03/arab_press_on_trial_again_1.html. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  15. "Al-Sabah Dynasty". http://www.royalark.net. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. http://www.royalark.net/Kuwait/kuwait16.htm. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  16. [1][dead link]
  17. "ВСТРЕЧА ПРЕЗИДЕНТА АЗЕРБАЙДЖАНА ИЛЬХАМА АЛИЕВА И ЭМИРА ГОСУДАРСТВА". Газета Бакинский рабочий. 11.02.2009. http://br.az/index.php?newsid=960.[dead link]
  18. "Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah S.A. Sceicco Sabah Decorato di Gran Cordone" (in Italian). quirinale.it. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. http://www.quirinale.it/elementi/DettaglioOnorificenze.aspx?decorato=311334. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  19. Presidenti Topi dekoron Emirin e Shtetit të Kuvajtit, Sheikun Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah me Urdhrin, President of Albania, 27 May 2012(in Albanian)[dead link]
  20. "أمير الكويت يتحدث عن سلطنة عمان - الفريسي" (in Arabic). YouTube. 17 April 2009. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvk5zxBH5Bk. Retrieved 3 November 2012.