Sunday, October 25th | 8 Heshvan 5781

Subscribe
October 5, 2020 9:54 am

Kuwait’s New Emir Meets Senior US and Iranian Officials

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Kuwait’s new emir, Nawwaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, gestures as he takes the oath of office at the parliament, in Kuwait City, Kuwait, Sept. 30, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Stephanie McGehee.

Kuwait’s new Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah on Sunday met senior US, Iranian and Gulf officials who separately paid their respects over the death of the Gulf Arab state’s former ruler.

Sheikh Nawaf assumed power after the death last Tuesday of his brother, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad. The late emir balanced ties between larger neighbors Saudi Arabia and Iran and kept a strong relationship with the United States, which led a coalition that ended Iraq’s 1990-91 occupation of Kuwait.

“He will be remembered as a great man and a special friend to the United States,” US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in comments tweeted by the US Embassy during his visit.

Sheikh Nawaf also received Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Iranian state media later carried a message by President Hassan Rouhani to the new emir: “I am confident that, as in the past, we will see a growing expansion of friendly and fraternal ties between the two countries.”

Related coverage

October 25, 2020 12:08 pm
0

Israeli Cabinet Approves Bahrain Accord, Parliament Vote Pending

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet on Sunday approved Israel's normalization accord with Bahrain, which now awaits parliamentary ratification, a Cabinet...

Sheikh Nawaf, 83, is expected to uphold the OPEC member state’s oil and foreign policy, which promoted regional detente.

He has yet to name a crown prince to help to guide state affairs at a time when low oil prices and COVID-19 have hit state finances against the backdrop of continued tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The emir has up to a year to name an heir, but analysts expect a decision in the coming weeks as senior al-Sabah dynasty members jostle for position. Parliament must approve the choice.

“An appointment would end this competition and send a signal of stability,” Dr. Mohamed Alfili, a professor of constitutional law at Kuwait University, told Reuters.

Among mooted candidates are Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad, a former defense minister; Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad, a former premier; and Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber, deputy chief of the National Guard.

Another potential contender is Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem, a former foreign minister and the only candidate under discussion from the less powerful al-Salem family branch.

Kuwaiti sources say Meshal, the eldest among them, appears most likely to be named crown prince.

Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called Sheikh Meshal on Saturday to offer his condolences, state media reported.

Kuwait has its closest but most complex relationship with Saudi Arabia, which on Thursday sent an adviser to King Salman, who had surgery in July, to offer condolences. Several Saudi regional governors travelled on Sunday to do the same.

United Arab Emirates’ Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is also Dubai’s ruler, was also in Kuwait.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

Algemeiner.com

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.