Kuwaiti Emir Who Presided Over Iraqi Invasion, Dies at 86

Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the ruling emir of Kuwait since 2020 and the Minister of Defense during the Iraqi invasion of the small, oil-rich nation, has died at age 86. He was admitted to the hospital on November 29th, 2023 for an unspecified medical emergency and passed away this morning.

Nawaf was appointed to his first government position at the age of 25 as the governor of Hawali in 1962. He then served as the Minister of the Interior before being appointed as the Minister of Defense in 1988. He served in that role during the Iraqi invasion of his nation. After Iraqi forces were expelled, several high ranking generals wrote a letter to the emir at the time, Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, demanding his and the Minister of the Interior’s dismissal. Nawaf was then appointed the acting minister of labor and social affairs on 20 April 1991 and held the post until 17 October 1992. That letter most likely resulted in the switch-up and probably was the key factor in barring his appointment from cabinet-level positions until 2002.

Nawaf’s brother, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, ascended to the leadership of Kuwait on 29 January 2006, thus an Amiri Decree was issued on 7 February 2006 officially designating Nawaf the Crown Prince.

Succession to the throne in Kuwait is limited to the descendants of Mubarak Al-Sabah. The position of emir was also traditionally alternated between the Al-Ahmed and Al-Salem branches of the Al Sabah family.  However, the appointment of Nawaf broke that tradition resulting in a back-to-back Ahmed accession.

Nawaf’s successor, Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has reportedly already taken position. He has spent almost his entire career in intelligence.

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Ethan Alun
Ethan Alun
A United States Naval Academy and American Military University Alumni, Ethan covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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