The House of Al Sabah
is the ruling family of Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...
. They are a clan from the Anizah tribe which migrated to Kuwait in the early 18th century from Najd (current day Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...
). They are also from the Utub tribe. After reaching Kuwait, they entered in an alliance with the other families of the Utub such as Al-Khalifa and Al Jalahma. They have ruled Kuwait since 1752 when Sabah I became Sheikh
Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...
(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 Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...
s have succeeded their fathers, the family chooses the leader from each succeeding generation. For example, the late Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah
Jaber III al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, GCB , GCMG of the al-Sabah dynasty, was the Emir and thirteenth Sheikh of Kuwait, serving from December 31, 1977 until his death on January 15, 2006...
appointed his cousin, Sheikh Sheikh Saad
Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, KCMG was the Emir of Kuwait during a short reign of nine days , succeeding the late Sheikh Jaber....
, 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 (per article 3 of the constitution) has a constitutional right to approve or disapprove of an emir's appointment. The parliament effectively removed then crown prince Sheikh Saad after the death of Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah in early 2006 due to Saad's inability to rule because of illness.
Only some 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 of the state of Kuwait and he could be any Kuwaiti citizen. But historically all prime ministers have been appointed are from Al-Sabah family , Precedents dictate that the Al-Sabahs hold key cabinet posts such as the ministry of defense, the foreign ministry, the ministry of interior, the oil ministry and, most importantly, the office of prime minister. With an estimated multi-billion dollar fortune, mainly from oil revenues, the Al-Sabahs are known for aiding other royal houses in the region who have little or no natural resources like oil for nothing in return. In 1991, right after the Gulf war, Time Magazine published an article stating that the Al-Sabah family have an estimated wealth of $90 Billion, with investments mostly in the United States. "The al-Sabah family by now was unimaginably rich, with an estimated wealth of some 90 billion dollars. They had invested about 50 billion dollars in the stocks of US companies." By 2010, almost 20 years later, the estimated wealth of the Al-Sabah family is unknown, but many observers predict that it has tripled, or even quadrupled over the years, as the Al-Sabah's have the largest shares in almost all the blue chip corporations in the Western world, with tens of billions of dollars invested in companies from Citibank
Citibank, a major international bank, is the consumer banking arm of financial services giant Citigroup. Citibank was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, later First National City Bank of New York...
to Daimler AG to Merrill Lynch
Merrill Lynch is the wealth management division of Bank of America. With over 15,000 financial advisors and $2.2 trillion in client assets it is the world's largest brokerage. Formerly known as Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., prior to 2009 the firm was publicly owned and traded on the New York...
The two main branches
Mubarak Al Sabah had fourteen children, eight sons and seven daughters.
Sons of Mubarak Al Sabah:
Jaber Sheikh of Kuwait (1915—17)
Sheikh Jaber II Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, CSI, was the eighth Sheikh of Kuwait from the Al-Sabah line. He was the eldest son of Mubarak Al-Sabah and is the ancestor of the Al-Jaber branch of the Al-Sabah family...
, Salim Sheikh of Kuwait (1917—21)
Sheikh Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, CSI was the ninth sheikh of Kuwait of the line of Al-Sabah. He was the second son of Mubarak Al-Sabah and is the ancestor of the Al-Salem branch of the Al-Sabah family. He ruled from February 5, 1917 to February 22, 1921. Prior to his ascension, he served as the...
, Nasser, Fahad, Saud, Hamad, Sabah and Abdullah
the offspring of two of them however - Jaber and Salem - rotate the Emirship of Kuwait, in the meantime the situation have been changed because other offspring have been appointed to the most important ministries which will lead them to succeed the throne of the state of kuwait.
The Emir: His Highness The Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah
The Crown Prince: His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al Sabah
The Prime Minister: His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al Sabah
Other notable members of Al-Sabah
- Salem Al Homoud Al Jaber Al-Sabah, Amiri Guards creator
- Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait
- Salem Al Ali Al Sabah
Salem Al Ali Al Sabah is the Chief of the National Guard of Kuwait and the oldest member of the Al-Sabah family. Socially, he has significant value but no political role...
, chief of the National Guard
- Mesha'al Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, deputy chief of National Guard
- Muhammad Al-Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah
Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah is the current Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait. He is the son of the late Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah....
, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
- Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah
Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah is a Kuwaiti politician who currently serves as Prime Minister of Kuwait since 30 November 2011. He previously was First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence....
, First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense
- Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah is a Kuwaiti politician and current president of Olympic Council of Asia and also a member of the International Olympic Committee. Al-Sabah was educated at Kuwait University and the Kuwait Military Academy, and attained the rank of major in the Kuwaiti Army...
, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister of State for Development Affairs and Minister of State for Housing Affairs
- Hussa Al-Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah, Director of Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiya (Kuwait Museum of Islamic Art)
- Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah
Shaikh Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah is a member of the Kuwait House of Al-Sabah ruling family and the former Kuwaiti ambassador to U.S.His daughter Nayirah and himself were reportedly involved in Citizens for a Free Kuwait which was a front group established by the Kuwaiti government to promote the...
, former Kuwait ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....
to the United States , former Oil Minister.
- Nijirah al-Sabah, daughter of Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah, provided testimony as "Nurse Nayirah" to the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus before the Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...
- Prince khalid Al-Sabah Royal Majestic Charity Foundation
- Salem Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah
Sheikh Salem Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah was a senior member of the Al-Sabah royal family of Kuwait, as well the eldest son of the 12th Emir of Kuwait, HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. He served as the Ambassador of Kuwait in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and several other European...
1938 - 2007 former Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense, Interior, Social Affairs and Foreign Minister
- Jaber Al-Khaled Al-Sabah former Minister of the Interior
His Excellency Sheikh Faisal H. M Al Sabah
The emir of Kuwait holds family meetings and gatherings every year during which they discuss many important issues. The emir holds meetings with the head people of the Al Sabah family who are 40 years old or older.
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
Sheikh Sabah IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is the Emir of Kuwait. Sheikh Sabah was sworn in on January 29, 2006 after confirmation by the National Assembly of Kuwait. He is the fourth son of Emir Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Sheikh Sabah is the head of the ruling Al-Sabah family...
, 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
Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is the half-brother of the current emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah...
, as crown prince. The emir also appointed his nephew, Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah
Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah is a Kuwaiti politician who was the Prime Minister of Kuwait from 7 February 2006 until his resignation on 29 November 2011...
, 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 tradition. He was 78 years old.