Great Loss to the Nation: HH Sheikh Sabah Amir Sabah2

IFL extends its deepest condolences to the people of Kuwait on the sad demise of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. In his lifetime, the humanitarian Sheikh Sabah has guided the nation through an era of peace and prosperity, setting an example of dignity, wisdom, and leadership that will continue to inspire us all. We ask Allah Almighty to grant his soul eternal rest, and his loved ones and his beloved people of Kuwait patience and solace.

Amir Sabah1Kuwait’s Amir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah has died on Tuesday. He was 91 years old. In July this year, he travelled to the US for further medical attention after undergoing surgery.

H.H. Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (16 June 1929 – 29 September 2020) was the Amir of Kuwait and the Commander of the Kuwait Military Forces. He was sworn in on 29 January 2006 and served until his death on 29 September 2020. He was the fourth son of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. One of his titles was "prince of humanity", he was also loved across the Gulf States and the Arab world for his humanitarian works and diplomatic way of politics.

Sheikh Sabah is widely regarded as the architect of modern Kuwait’s foreign policy – having served as foreign minister for nearly 40 years between 1963 and 2003. As Foreign Minister, Sheik Sabah restored Kuwaiti international relations after the Persian Gulf War. He was also First Deputy Prime Minister while serving as Foreign Minister. He was acting Minister of Finance from 1965 to 1967. Sheikh Sabah was sworn in on 29 January 2006, after the death of Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

Amir Sabah3cIn July 2020, he flew to the United States seeking medical attention after undergoing surgery. A US Air Force C-17 flying hospital transported Sheikh Sabah from Kuwait to Rochester, Minnesota, home of the flagship campus of the Mayo Clinic. The high regard for Sheikh Sabah could be seen in the outpouring of support for him across the Middle East as he suddenly fell ill.

H.H. Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah was born on 16 June 1929. Sheik Al-Sabah died on 29th September 2020, aged 91, at a hospital. Rochester, Minnesota is United States. He received primary education at Al Mubarakya School in the 1930s and completed his education under tutors. He is the half-brother of the previous Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who appointed Sheikh Sabah as Prime Minister in July 2003, replacing the Crown Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Saad Al-Salim Al-Sabah.

Sheikh Sabah was a respected regional and international mediator due in part to his place in the Gulf Cooperation Council's leadership order and his 40 years of service as Foreign Minister and Prime Minister. Under his leadership, Kuwait has acted as a go-between for Pakistan and Bangladesh, Turkey and Bulgaria, Palestine and Jordan, factions in the civil war in Lebanon, the Gulf States and Iran. In 2016 Sabah hosted several UN-sponsored meetings of leaders from the warring factions in the Yemeni Civil War.

Amir Sabah7Sheikh Sabah quickly established Kuwait as the key mediator in the Qatar diplomatic crisis, meeting with Saudi, Emirati officials and Qatari leaders. His ongoing efforts have been publicly supported by Qatar and other interested parties from the region as well as the US, UK, France and Germany. At the beginning of September 2017, Sheik Sabah discussed the situation with top officials in Washington, including President Donald Trump, who 'hailed his efforts' to mediate and 'applauded Kuwait’s “critical contributions to regional stability”'.

Former President Jimmy Carter has called Sheikh Sabah a "global humanitarian leader", saying, "His support of disaster relief, peace efforts and advancing public health are an inspiration. Other world leaders can learn from the wise example set by my friend, His Highness the Amir.

According to the 2014 Middle East Coutts Report, Sheik Sabah provided the largest individual donation in 2013 among GCC members in support of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, $300 million. Also in 2014, former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cited Sheik Sabah as a humanitarian leader globally and presented him with a Humanitarian Award. In 2015, Sheikh Sabah pledged $500 million toward easing the Syrian humanitarian crisis at the UN Summit convened in Kuwait.

Amir Sabah8In August 2017, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed gratitude for Kuwait's leadership in humanitarian action, as well as the “dialogue and promotion of understanding Kuwait has shown in relation to all conflicts in the region," Guterres further noted the positive role Sheikh Sabah played in the current GCC crisis and recalled that when he was High Commissioner for Refugees, Sheikh Sabah presided over the three conferences to mobilize the international community to support the Syrian people.

Titles, Honours and Awards     

  • Sovereign Grand Master of the Order of Mubarak the Great
  • Sovereign Grand Master of the Order of Kuwait
  • Sovereign Grand Master of the Order of National Defense
  • Sovereign Grand Master of the Military Duty Order
  • International Organization for Migration – IOM Humanitarian Medal (24 November 2014)
  • United Nations – United Nations Humanitarian Leadership (9 September 2014)
  • Albania – Honorary Citizen of Tirana, Albania (12 April 2008)
  • Azerbaijan – Heydar Aliyev Order (14 June 2009)
  • Italy – Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (26 April 2010)
  • Spain – Collar of the Order of Civil Merit(23 May 2008)
  • Albania – Skanderbeg's Order(Decorated by President of Albania BEmir Topi on 27 May 2012)
  • Mexico – Order of the Aztec Eagle (20 January 2016)
  • Turkey – Order of the State of Republic of Turkey (21 March 2017)
  • United Kingdom - Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (27 November 2012)
  • Ukraine – First Class of the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (15 March 2018)
  • Japan — Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, 2012
  • United States — Legion of Merit, Chief Commander Degree (September 17, 2020)

 

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- P. Senthilkumar

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