The ruler of the oil rich Gulf kingdom of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, has died, according to state television. He was 91.
“With great sadness and sorrow, we mourn to the Kuwaiti people, the Arab and Islamic nations, and the friendly peoples of the world, the death of the late His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait who moved next to his Lord,” the royal palace said in a statement, according to Kuwaiti state television.
The news of his death comes two months after the nonagenarian ruler was flown to the U.S. in a U.S. Air Force C-17 flying hospital, just days after undergoing unspecified surgery at home.
Sheikh Sabah who has served as emir since January 2006 has pushed for diplomacy to solve regional issues, such as the ongoing boycott of Qatar by four Arab nations, and hosted major donor conferences for war-torn nations like Iraq and Syria.His dramatic airlift to the United States in July had already sparked debate about what Kuwait will look like after his death.
Kuwait has both a royal family and a parliamentary body, the National Assembly, making it the most democratic of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a foreign affairs think tank headquartered in Washington.