Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf dies at 86, Sheikh Meshal named as successor

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Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah died on Saturday, aged 86, according to the royal court, after a three-year reign as his half brother Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmad Al Jaber takes over as Kuwait’s new ruler.

“With great sadness and sorrow, we—the Kuwaiti people, the Arab and Islamic nations, and the friendly peoples of the world—mourn the late His Highness the emir, Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, who passed away to his Lord today,” said Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al Sabah, the minister of his emiri court, who read the brief statement.

Authorities gave no cause of death.

Public offices will be shut for three days, and 40 days of mourning have been declared.

Sheikh Nawaf, who will be laid to rest on Sunday, had been hospitalized in November for an undisclosed “emergency,” but had been said to be in a stable condition.

Kuwait saw a quick transition to a new emir on Saturday following the death of Sheik Nawaf.

He was succeeded by his half-brother, Sheikh Meshal, who took over the oil-rich Gulf kingdom at the age of 83, state television reported.

Sheikh Meshal, who had already assumed some key constitutional duties as emir in 2021, has spent most of his career in Kuwait’s security and intelligence services.

A father of 12, Sheikh Meshal becomes Kuwait’s 17th ruler. and will have a year to name a new crown prince amid speculation on whether he will appoint an heir from a younger generation.

He was deputy chief of the Kuwait National Guard from 2004 to 2020 and was named crown prince when Sheikh Nawaf took power.

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