Kuwait Emir Sheikh Nawaf Passes Away at 86, Crown Prince Successor
Kuwait is set to observe a 40-day official mourning period after the passing away of His Highness the emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah on Saturday, at the age of 86. The emir was admitted to hospital late last month due to what was described as an emergency health problem. His half-brother, Sheikh Meshaal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, Kuwait’s crown prince, has been named as the new emir.
Condolences are pouring in for the grieving county. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent their condolences to the royal Al-Sabah family and the people of Kuwait. An official statement read “With utmost grief and sorrow, we received the news of the death of His Highness Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the Emir of the State of Kuwait, may Allah bestow mercy upon him and rest him in His widely vast paradise.”
The Saudi Royal Court said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its people share the sorrows of the brothers in Kuwait.
Sheikh Nawaf Rose to Power in 2020
Bader al-Saif, a history professor at Kuwait University, said the sheikh has only done good for Kuwait. Sheikh Nawaf took up the throne after the death of his half-brother Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah in September 2020 at the age of 91.
Bader said Emir Sheikh Nawaf’s legacy will be remembered fondly. “His era is notable even though it is the third shortest in Kuwaiti history.” He was named heir in 2006. It should be noted that in 1990 when Sheikh Nawaf was serving as Kuwait’s defense minister, Iraqi troops invaded the oil-rich country.
He was very much popular within the al-Sabah family because of his reputation of modesty. Moreover, he maintained a largely low profile. Bader said Sheikh Nawaf was known as the emir of pardons. “He has led the largest reconciliation in modern Kuwaiti history with a series of amnesties, release of prisoners and citizenships.”
Kuwait Will Be Keenly Watched
Regional analysts say Sheikh Nawaf and his brother Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal aligned Kuwait more closely with Saudi Arabia. They said the new emir’s choice of crown prince and premier, who would be tasked with managing the government’s relationship with parliament, will be watched closely.
The late Sheikh Nawaf had tried to secure a détente on the domestic political scene, including by issuing an amnesty pardoning dissidents. He navigated the country positively through economy crisis.