Bookmark and Share

Open the online Arabic language course

Kuwait / Politics /
Sabah clan

List of figuresRulers of Kuwait

The ruling clan of Kuwait since 1752.
The Sabah clan rests its power on traditions, and great presence in and control over the Kuwaiti society. While all of the inhabitants (even immigrant workers) of Kuwait have benefits from the country's high oil revenues, Kuwait remains a divided society economically and politically.
Recent decades have seen the Sabah rulers reducing popular influence on politics, rather than extending it. This has resulted in great dissatisfaction in Kuwait, even among the traditional supporters of the Sabah clan. All indications show that the Sabah clan would have been wiped out if there were democratic elections in Kuwait.
The ruler of Kuwait is called emir. There are two branches of the Sabah clan, Jaber and Salim, that have agreed to share power. Each clan should have second each emir, while the head of the branch not holding the throne, shall act as crown prince and prime minister.
At the present, the ruler is Emir Jaber 3 bni Ahmad, and the crown prince is Sa'ad bni Abdullah.

1710: The first members of the Sabah clan, which belonged to the Amarat tribe, arrives on the shores in the inner part of the Persian Gulf, and establishes Kuwait. As one of three leading families they take charge of administration and defence.
1752: The Sabah clan has developed its power into becoming rulers of the society. The first ruler, Sabah 1 as-Sabah takes the title "shaykh".
1899: Shaykh Mubarak 1 gives the British exclusive rights over trade and foreign relations, in return of an annual subsidy of £1,500.
1917: Shaykh Jaber 3 is deposed by the British as a retaliation of his sympathies with the Ottomans during World War 1.
1921: After the death of Shaykh Salim 1, the Jaber-branch and the Salim-branch, agree to share power.
1965 November: The title of the ruler changes from shaykh to emir.

By Tore Kjeilen