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Kuwait

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The House of Al Sabah (Arabic: آل صباح‎) is the ruling family of Kuwait. They are a clan from the Anizah tribe, which migrated to Kuwait in the early eighteenth century from Najd (current day Saudi Arabia). After reaching Kuwait, they entered under the umbrella of the Utub. They have ruled Kuwait since 1752 when Sabah I became Sheikh (chief) of Kuwait. Subsequent Sheikhs are the descendants of Sabah I. The sons of Sabah I are Salman, Mohammad, Mubarak, Malik and Abdullah.

The Emir of Kuwait is the head of the executive branch. He is nominated by a family council, headed by the most senior and prominent members of the Al-Sabah. The leadership is not strictly hereditary, and although many Emirs have succeeded their fathers, the family chooses the leader from each succeeding generation. For example, the late Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah appointed his cousin Sheikh Sheikh Saad as Heir Apparent.

The Kuwaiti parliament has a say in the appointment of the Emir. Although customs prohibit the use of such measures, the parliament (as per article 3 of the constitution) has a constitutional right to approve or disapprove of an Emir's appointment. Nonetheless the parliament effectively removed then crown prince Sheikh Saad after the death of Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah in early 2006 due to the first's inability to rule because of illness.

All members of the ruling family receive a monthly stipend from the Amiri Diwan, and a year-end bonus. The Prime Minister is selected by the Emir, and has to be a member of the ruling family. Precedents dictate that the Al-Sabahs hold key cabinet posts, such as the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Interior, the Oil Ministry, and most importantly, the Office of Prime Minister. With an estimated trillion dollar fortune, mainly from oil revenues, the Al-Sabah's are also known for aiding other royal houses in the region, which have little or no natural resources, like oil, for nothing in return.

Contents

The two main branches

Sheikh Mubarak seized the leadership of Kuwait from his brothers Sheikh Mohamed and Jarrah after a coup in 1896. The reason being that Sheikh Mohamed was letting power slip from his hands into that of his uncles of the Al-Ibrahim family, amidst tense regional power struggles between the Ottoman and British empires and rivaling rulers from within the peninsula including Iraq.

He was succeeded as ruler by his son Jaber (1915-17) and another son Salem (1917-21). Subsequent Emirs descended from these two brothers. It has become tradition to alternate the post of Emir between these two branches.

Family Tree of Members

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SABAH I,
Sheikh 1752—64
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ABDULLAH I,
Sheikh 1814—92
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
JABIR I,
Sheikh 1814—59
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SABAH II,
Sheikh 1859—66
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ABDULLAH II,
Sheikh 1866—92
 
Jarah,
Sheikh ??—??
 
MUBARAK,
Sheikh 1896—1915
 
MUHAMMAD,
Sheikh 1892—96
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
JABIR II,
Sheikh 1915—17
 
SALIM,
Sheikh 1917—21
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
AHMAD,
Sheikh 1921—50
 
Homoud
al-Jabir
 
ABDULLAH III,
Emir 1950—65
 
SABAH III,
Emir 1965—77
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Muhammad
 
JABER III,
Emir 1977—2006
 
SABAH IV,
Emir 2006 — present
 
Nawaf,
Crown Prince
 
Salem
al-Homoud,
Creator of the Amiri Guards
 
SAAD,
Emir 2006
 
Muhammad al-Sabah,
Foreign Minister
 
 
 
Nasser,
Prime Minister

Other notable members of al-Sabah

Current events

Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah was removed by parliamentary action after a prolonged stalemate following the death of the previous Emir Jaber on 15 January 2006. He was earlier offered the chance to abdicate after taking power provisionally as stipulated by the constitution, but his inability to recite the oath of office prevented his ratification by parliament.

The then prime minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was nominated for the post of Emir by invoking Article 3 of the Kuwaiti constitution. He was sworn in on 29 January 2006 and is the current ruler.

The Emir appointed his brother, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as Crown Prince. The Emir also appointed his nephew, Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah as Prime Minister.

On 13 May 2008 the former Emir, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, died after battling health problems for years. He was buried the following day, in accordance with Muslim traditions. He was 78 years of age.

See also

References

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