Emir’s health issue compounds Kuwaiti concerns

Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah admitted to hospital on Saturday.
Saturday 18/07/2020
A 2019 file picture shows Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah reviewing an honour guard upon his arrival in Tunis to attend the Arab Summit. (AFP)
A 2019 file picture shows Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah reviewing an honour guard upon his arrival in Tunis to attend the Arab Summit. (AFP)

KUWAIT--Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah was admitted to hospital on Saturday for medical checks, the state news agency KUNA reported.

KUNA quoted Emiri Court Affairs Minister Sheikh Ali Jarrah al-Sabah as saying that the 91-year-old Sheikh Sabah would undergo a medical checkup.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah was in “good health,” the KUNA news agency said, citing a statement from Jarrah.

The brief report did not elaborate.

In August 2019, the emir’s office said that Sheikh Sabah had suffered a health setback while in Kuwait without providing details. He, then, travelled to the United States for a meeting with US President Donald Trump, which was cancelled when the emir was admitted to hospital.

The recent news about the emir’s illness come at a very critical and complicated period in Kuwait because of the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic as well as the financial and economic difficulties that the country is facing due to a significant decline in oil prices.

The emir plays a key role in the existing system in Kuwait and has wide powers that guarantee the political, economic and security stability in the country.

News about the emir’s illness usually triggers power struggles within the ruling family in Kuwait, reflected in media and political battles in parliament and elsewhere – battles that at times end up in court.

The 91-year-old emir has ruled Kuwait, a US ally and OPEC oil producer, since 2006 and steered its foreign policy for more than 50 years.