Sheikh Sabah: forever in Qatar's hearts
September 30 2020 12:12 AM
Faisal Abdulhameed al-Mudahka
Faisal Abdulhameed al-Mudahka, Editor-in-Chief

By Faisal Abdulhameed al-Mudahka/Editor-in-Chief

In the death of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the world has lost a champion of peace, and the people of Qatar a true friend and a trusted mediator in some of the worst crises to grip the Gulf, including the GCC rift, which he had been trying to solve even during his final days.
The news of the Kuwaiti Amir's passing away was received with immense sadness and profound grief in Qatar, the mourners being led by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who described him as a father figure and a wise leader.
Having led Gulf diplomacy for over 40 years, at one time he was the world's oldest foreign minister, HH Sheikh Sabah was regarded as one of the most valuable leaders of the Arab and Muslim world.
A ruler of many achievements, he led the initiative to resolve the conflict in Oman in the 1970s between the Communist revolutionaries and the Sultan's government. He is credited with the establishing of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as well as the Emirates Federation.
In 2011, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah shuttled between the capitals of Oman and the UAE to solve a spy dispute between them. The Kuwaiti Amir's mediation succeeded in bridging the rift between the GCC member states.
As Saddam Hussain's forces invaded and occupied Kuwait, HH the Amir earned a reputation as a shrewd, unshakeable leader who helped steer his country through the dark days into a free and prosperous nation.
In recognition of his resolute pursuit of peace and his skill for mediation, HH the Kuwaiti Amir was decorated with many honours- he was named Prince of Humanity in 2014 by the United Nations and earlier this month US President Donald Trump awarded him with the Supreme Commander Medal, which is the highest honour given to a head of state.
The 15th leader in a family that has ruled for over 250 years, Sheikh Sabah, who had ruled the oil-rich Gulf state since 2006, weathered Kuwait's crises with shrewd judgement and firm determination.
As the country's top diplomat for nearly four decades, he fostered close ties with the West, most notably the United States and was regarded in high esteem in the Arab as well as the Muslim world.
He led the Iraq Reconstruction Conference and the initiative to end the war in Yemen. He was rightly referred to as the 'Amir of wisdom'.
Qatar and its people deeply loved HH the Kuwaiti Amir and appreciated his sincere mediation to end the GCC crisis. He was a firm believer in Gulf unity and strived to achieve that goal until his last breath.
In a sign of the respect that the Amir commanded across the region's political divides, glowing tributes had poured in from the UAE, Egypt , Bahrain and Iraq. Also the rival sides in Yemen's grinding conflict both paid tribute.
As a leader who had remained deeply involved in global affairs into his old age, the loss of HH Sabah al-Ahmed will be felt deeply, both due to his prominent role as a diplomat and regional mediator and as a unifying figure at home.
Just two days before the sad demise of the Kuwaiti leader, Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah had 'a great stature in the heart of every Qatari citizen'.
Talking to Kuwait TV, HE the foreign minister said "the Amir of Kuwait has a very great and prestigious position in the heart of every Qatari citizen, especially as at the beginning of the Gulf crisis in 2017, he travelled from one country to another trying to heal the rift, and his commitment to these efforts has continued to bring back cohesion to the Gulf."
Though HH Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah is no more in our midst, he will live in our hearts forever.

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