The ruler of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, has died at the age of 91. Sabah had been in hospital in the United States since July following surgery for an unspecified condition in Kuwait that same month.
‘With great sadness and sorrow, we mourn… the death of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait,’ said Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah, the minister in charge of royal affairs, in a television broadcast.
The leader of the US ally came to power in 2006, after decades as the country’s top diplomat, following a vote to oust his predecessor just nine days into his rule.
Nicknamed the ‘dean of Arab diplomacy’, Sabah stood out for his efforts to resolve a bitter dispute between Qatar and other Arab nations that continues to this day.
But as Kuwait’s ruling emir, he struggled with internal political disputes, the fallout of the 2011 Arab Spring protests and seesawing crude oil prices that chewed into a national budget providing cradle-to-grave subsidies.
His successor is his brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah. The crown prince had already taken over some of Sabah’s duties after the ailing ruler left Kuwait in July following his surgery.