The authorities did not state the cause of death of the de facto ruler of Kuwait, Nawaf Ahmad Jabir Sabah, but the emir had been in the hospital for an unspecified illness since November.
“It is with great sadness and grief that we – the people of Kuwait, the Arab and Islamic nations and the friendly nations of the world – mourn the late His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Nawaf Ahmad Jabir Sabah, who has gone to be with his Lord today,” the minister of his Emir’s court read a short statement, according to the agency AP.
Navaf Ahmad was a relatively uncontroversial choice as the new emir in 2020 after the death of his half-brother, AP writes. He previously worked as Minister of the Interior and Defense and was not very involved in the government beyond his duties.
In late November, Sheikh Navaf was taken to hospital due to an unspecified illness. Since then, the small oil-rich country has been waiting for news of his health. State news has previously reported that he traveled to the United States in March 2021 for unspecified medical checks.
The state of health of Kuwaiti officials is a sensitive issue in this Middle Eastern country, which neighbors Iraq and Saudi Arabia and is experiencing internal power struggles behind the palace doors, writes the AP agency.
The government of Kuwait should now be taken over by his half-brother, Sheikh Mishal Ahmad Jabir Sabah. He is now 83 years old and is believed to be the oldest crown prince in the world.
Kuwait, with its 4.2 million inhabitants, is comparable in size to, for example, Slovenia, but has the sixth largest oil reserves in the world. In the Middle East, Kuwait has been a major partner of the United States since the US-led alliance drove out Iraqi occupation forces in 1991 as part of Operation Desert Storm.