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Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah
Emir of Kuwait



Emir of Kuwait 2006–20†
Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit 2020 [USA]
Order of Merit the Republic of Turkey 2107 [Turkey]
Collar of the Order of Al-Said 2017 [Oman]
Collar of the Order of the Aztec Eagle 2016 [Mexico]
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath 2012 [UK]
Grand Collar of the Order of Lakandula 2012 [Philippines]
Order of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg 2012 [Albania]
Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum 2012 [Japan]
Collar of the Order of the Liberator General San Martin 2011 [Argentina]
Collar of the Order of Al-Hussein ibn ‘Ali 2010 [Jordan]
Order of Merit 2010 [Lebanon]
Grand Cross Special Class
of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany 2010 [Germany]
Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic 2010 [Italy]
Civil Order of Oman 1st class (?) 2009 [Oman]
Heydar Aliyev Order 2009 [Azerbaijan]
Order of Merit 1st class 2009 [Ukraine]
Order of Merit, Exceptional Class 2009 [Lebanon]
Royal Family Order of the Crown of Brunei 2009 [Brunei]
Knight of the Collar of the Civil Merit 2008 [Spain]
Grand Order of Mugunghwa 2007 [South Korea]
Collar of the Order of King ‘Abdu’l Aziz 2006 [Saudi Arabia]
Collar of the Order of Independence 2006 [Qatar]
Collar of the Order of Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa 2006 [Bahrain]
Order of Zayed 2006 [United Arab Emirates]
Grand Cross of the Order of the Legion of Honour 2006 [France]
Honorary Companion of Honour with Collar of the National Order of Merit 2004 [Malta]
Order of Civil Merit, Excellent Class 2001 [Syria]
Distinguished First Class of the Order of King ‘Abdu’l Aziz 2000 [Saudi Arabia]

Prime Minister of Kuwait 2003–06
President of the Council of Ministers 2003–05
First Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait 1992–2003
Minister for Information 1982–85 (acting 1971–75)
Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait 1978–91, 1992–98
Minister of the Interior (acting)1978
Minister of Finance and Oil (acting) 1965–67
Minister of Foreign Affairs 1963–91
Minister of Public Information, Guidance and Social Affairs 1962–63
Member of the Supreme Council 1956–62

Hailed as 'the dean of Arab diplomacy', Sabah faced challenges in his role as a regional mediator since 2017 when leaders from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates boycotted Qatar, diminishing his influence despite his efforts to prevent potential military conflicts. With extensive experience and Kuwait's significant oil reserves, he prioritised Gulf unity long before his formal ascension to the throne in 2006. Sabah's diplomatic prowess was honed during his 40-year tenure as Kuwait's foreign minister, where he played a crucial role in establishing the Gulf Cooperation Council. Despite setbacks such as the Qatar crisis, he advocated for peaceful resolutions among neighbouring countries, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. The trauma of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 left a lasting impact, solidifying Kuwait's relationship with the US, which later facilitated military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. As emir, Sabah navigated domestic politics amidst a powerful parliament while addressing regional challenges such as the Arab Spring. He was criticised for his handling of domestic issues, although under his reign, there was generally a free press, and women's rights improved markedly. Sabah earned international recognition as a humanitarian leader, hosting summits to aid Iraq's reconstruction and support Syrian refugees. He maintained Kuwait's traditional stance on the Palestinian cause and played a role in Yemeni peace negotiations while fostering close ties with Washington. This relationship was demonstrated when Washington organised medical transport for him from Kuwait to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota when his health was deteriorating.

Place of birth: Kuwait
Place of marriage: Kuwait
Place of death: Rochester, Olmsted Co, Minnesota

Son of Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, and Munira Al-Ayyar He married Fatuwah Al-Sabah in 1947, and had issue.

Families | Lands | Abbreviations and Symbols

2024 The Universal Compendium