Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah

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His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
الشيخ جابر الأحمد الجابر الصباح
Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah 1998.jpg
Prince of Kuwait
Reign 31 December 1977 – 15 January 2006
Predecessor Sabah III
Successor Saad I
Prime Ministers
Prime Minister of Kuwait
Reign 30 November 1965 – 8 February 1978
Predecessor Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah
Successor Saad Al-Salim Al-Sabah
Reign 17 January 1962 – 2 February 1963
Predecessor New Office
Successor Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah
Emir Abdullah III
Father Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Born (1926-06-29)29 June 1926
Died 15 January 2006(2006-01-15) (aged 79)

Jaber III Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, GCB (Hon), GCMG (Hon) (29 June 1926 - 15 January 2006)[1][2] (Arabic: الشيخ جابر الأحمد الجابر الصباح‎) of the al-Sabah dynasty, was the 3rd Emir of Kuwait and Commander of the Military of Kuwait; serving from 31 December 1977 until his death on 15 January 2006 due to cerebral hemorrhage. The third monarch to rule Kuwait since its independence from Britain, Jaber had previously served as minister of finance and Economy from 1962 until 1965, when he was appointed prime minister prior to becoming Kuwait's ruler.[3]

His Highness, the commander of the Military of Kuwait is most famously praised for exercising real leadership skills in testing times with much responsibility; specially during the Iraqi invasion, which consequently led to the forming of a 34 nations coalition force liberating Kuwait during the Gulf War. The second pillar during the invasion was His Highness, the Crown Prince, Sheikh Saad Al-Salim Al-Sabah.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Jaber was born on 29 January 1926 in Kuwait City.[2] Jaber (of the Al-Sabah dynasty) was the third son of the late Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,[5] who served as Kuwait's monarch from 1921 to 1950.

Jaber received his early education at Al-Mubarakiya School, Al-Ahmediya School, and Al-Sharqiya School, and was subsequently tutored privately in religion, English, Arabic, and the sciences.[5]


Early career[edit]

In 1962, he was appointed as Kuwait's minister of finance when the ministry was established.[2] In this position, Sheikh Jaber was tasked with putting the new Kuwaiti dinar into circulation and establishing the Kuwaiti Currency Board, of which he was the chair. As minister, Jaber adopted, and was the first chairman of, the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development from 1962–1964.[6] The Fund provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries; currently it is helping 103 countries. The country's oil revenues transformed it from a largely tribal society to a modern, urbanized state with one of the world's largest per capita incomes. During this time, the Fund expanded to aid five countries and gave loans to another eight.[7] The money going into the fund came from oil earnings, with virtually all of it being sent outside Kuwait.[7] During the Gulf War His Highness, the Commander of the Military of Kuwait provided financial support to all Kuwaiti families deposed in foreign countries. Sheikh Jaber and his Government lobbied extensively for military support during the First Gulf War to relieve the people of Kuwait that could not leave, specially women and children and finally received support from a United Nations mandated coalition led by the United States.[8]

Iran-Iraq War[edit]

Kuwait found itself geographically in the middle of the Iran-Iraq War that took place from 1980 to 1988. The Military of Kuwait entered into its 4th alert phase and Kuwait; a small nation, witnessed major geopolitical setbacks at all levels; specially at the security level.[9] In 1985, the country became a direct target in the war when a terrorist group, the Islamic Holy War, attacked Sheikh Jaber’s motorcade, leaving him almost uninjured but killing two bodyguards and a bystander, in addition to the suicide bomber.[10] It was discovered that the group had ties to Iran.[10] The group was demanding the release of seventeen convicted terrorists who were being held in Kuwaiti prison.

Throughout the war, the country suffered from many security threats, including a series of bombings. In 1986, one year after the attack on Sheikh Jaber’s motorcade,[11] there was an attack on an oil installation, which almost caused the shutdown of Kuwait’s oil industry.[12]

With insecurity growing, members of the National Assembly of Kuwait grew increasingly angry over the situation, believing that their civilian role was to protect the citizens. They believed that they were not fulfilling their roles as government officials and that more should be done to protect the citizens. In the meantime, soldiers, units, brigades and all the armed forces were very sharp during their 4th alert phase and were at the disposition of their commander, His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Jaber.[13]

Therefore, the entire cabinet resigned as a sign of opposition towards the diligent and careful policies of His Highness, the commander of the Military of Kuwait, an act that resulted in a security breech in the country and to show that their belief that more should be done.[14] Consequently, two days later, His Highness, the Commander of the Military of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber unconstitutionally dissolved the National Assembly of Kuwait (which was not reinstated until 1991) and several articles of the Constitution (including freedom of the press), citing security concerns.[14] Sheikh Jaber then appointed a new cabinet, which included many of the previous members, showing the Emir’s faith in the previous officials.[12]

On the other hand of political set backs; close joint cooperation was witnessed at the land and naval logistics level amongst the United States Armed Forces and the Military of Kuwait, commanded by His Highness, at all levels and that primarily to secure the shipping routes of Kuwaiti oil via land to their respective coastal tankers.[15]

Gulf War[edit]

With historical ongoing disputes between Kuwait and Iraq; specially after the Kuwait–Iraq 1973 Sanita border skirmish; Iraq invaded its smaller neighbor on 2 August 1990 with the stated intent of annexing it.

Some sources claim that the task of the invading Iraqi forces was to capture or kill Sheikh Jaber.[16][17] However, such a claimed plan was not possible with the exile of Sheikh Jaber and his government to Saudi Arabia within hours of the invasion where they ran the Kuwaiti exiled government from a hotel in Dhahran.[18] On the other hand and unlike the responsibilities of His Highness in exile; his brother Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah decided on a different fate while defending Dasman Palace.[19] The Kuwaiti government-in-exile was one of the most effective governments to ever operate. From the mountainous city of Taif resort in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Jaber set up his government so that its ministers were still in control and were in constant communication with the people still in Kuwait. The government was able to direct an underground armed resistance made up of both military and civilian forces and was able to provide public services to the Kuwaiti people who remained, such as emergency care through the funds that it had saved from oil revenues.[16][20] In the meantime, Jaber and his government lobbied extensively to receive military support action against Iraq before and during the Gulf War. When the war ended on 28 February 1991, Sheikh Jaber remained in Saudi Arabia while declaring three months of martial law, causing the accusation that he was trying to monopolize too much power for the small constitutional monarchy.[21]

By declaring martial law, those who were appointed to government positions were able to ensure the safety of the people. By imposing martial law, government officials were able to ensure that there were no Iraqis still in Kuwait who may have attempted to once again overthrow the government. They were also tasked with making sure that the country was safe enough for Sheikh Jaber and his government to return, which they eventually did on 15 March 1991.[22]

Personal life and death[edit]

The people of Kuwait loved Sheikh Jaber to the extent that they referred to him as 'Baba Jaber', meaning Father Jaber. His actual family is quite complex; it is unclear how many wives he had. He had more than forty children.[22] In September 2001, Sheikh Jaber suffered from a stroke and went to the United Kingdom for treatment. Five years later, he died on 15 January 2006, aged 79, from a cerebral hemorrhage that he had suffered since 2001.[23] He was succeeded by the Crown Prince Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah.[2] The government announced a 40-day period of mourning and closed for three days.[24]



  • 1926–1937: Sheikh Jaber bin Ahmad Al-Sabah
  • 1937–1966: His Excellency Sheikh Jaber bin Ahmad Al-Sabah
  • 1966–1977: His Highness Sheikh Jaber bin Ahmad Al-Sabah, Crown Prince of the State of Kuwait
  • 1977–1979: His Highness Sheikh Jaber III bin Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait
  • 1979–1995: His Highness Sheikh Sir Jaber III bin Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, GCMG
  • 1995–2006: His Highness Sheikh Sir Jaber III bin Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, GCB, GCMG


Sheikh Jaber was given the following honors and awards.[25]

See Also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Hassan, Hamdi A. (1999), The Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait: Religion, Identity and Otherness in the Analysis of War and Conflict (Series: Critical Studies on Islam); New York: Pluto (UK).


  1. ^ Laura Etheredge (Ed.). "Persian Gulf States: Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates". New York, NY: Britannic Educational Publishing, 2011. Print. p. 53
  2. ^ a b c d e "His Highness Sheikh Jaber III". The Telegraph. 16 January 2006. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "Obituary: Sheikh Jaber, Emir of Kuwait". BBC. 15 January 2006. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  4. ^ [1]Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the 14th Ruler and 4th Emir
  5. ^ a b "Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah". Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Zahlan, Rosemarie Said. "Making of the Modern A Arabian Gulf states Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman". London: Unwin Hyman, 1989. Print. p. 81
  7. ^ a b "Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development – Timeline. Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development – Timeline", 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  8. ^ [2], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  9. ^ [3], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  10. ^ a b United Press International. "Car Bomber Fails in Attempt to Kill Leader of Kuwait", "The New York Times", 26 May 1985.
  11. ^ "Emir of Kuwait's motorcade bombed on highway". Kentucky New Era. AP. 24 May 1984. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Zahlan, Rosemarie Said. "Making of the Modern Persian Gulf states Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman". London: Unwin Hyman, 1989. Print. p. 44
  13. ^ [4], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  14. ^ a b Kifner, John. "Kuwait Dissolves its Parliament." The New York Times, 4 July 1986 p. 16.
  15. ^ [5], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  16. ^ a b Ibrahim, Youssef M. "Confrontation in the Gulf: Man in the News; The Exiled Emir: Sheik Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah", "The New York Times", 26 September 1996. Retrieved 16 November 2009
  17. ^ [6]Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the 14th Ruler and 4th Emir
  18. ^ [7]Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the 14th Ruler and 4th Emir
  19. ^ [8], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  20. ^ [9]Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the 14th Ruler and 4th Emir
  21. ^ Ibrahim, Youssef M. "After the War: Kuwait City; Nagging Question Lies Beneath Kuwait's Rejoicing: When Is the Emir Coming Home?","The New York Times", 4 March 1997.
  22. ^ a b Ibrahim, Youssef M. "After the War: Kuwait; Kuwaiti Emir, Tired and Tearful, Returns to His Devastated Land", "The New York Times", 15 March 1997
  23. ^ "Emir of Kuwait dies". Daily Record. 16 January 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  24. ^ Slackman, Michael, and Neil MacFarquhar. "Sheik Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the Leader of Kuwait for 28 Years, Is Dead at 79", "The New York Times", 16 January 2006. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  25. ^ "Al-Sabah Dynasty". Royal Ark. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah
Born: 29 June 1926 Died: 15 January 2006
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Sabah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah
Emir of Kuwait
Succeeded by
Saad I Al-Abdullah Al-Salim Al-Sabah