The Al-Sabah family may be shy about revealing to people in the United States exactly how much stock it owns in each U.S. corporation. But the Al-Sabah family was not shy about monopolizing political power in Kuwait Inc. prior to the August 1990 occupation of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi troops.
Sheikh Jabir Al-Ahmad Al-Jabir Al-Sabah had been the Emir of Kuwait since 1977. Kuwait Emir Al-Sabah also was chairman of Kuwait’s Supreme Defense Council, Kuwait’s Supreme Petroleum Council, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, and the Kuwait Foundation for Scientific Advancement in 1990. Kuwait Emir Al-Sabah also was Kuwait’s prime minister between 1965 and 1967, Kuwait’s crown prince between 1966 and 1978 and Kuwait’s minister of Finance and Industry and minister of Commerce between 1965 and 1983. But shortly after his country was invaded on August 2, 1990, Kuwait Emir Al-Sabah—the then-chairman of Kuwait’s Supreme Defense Council—had fled from his presidential palace by helicopter.
Sheikh Saadal Abdallahal Salim Al-Sabah had been both Kuwait’s crown prince and Kuwait’s prime minister since 1978. Kuwait Crown Prince and Kuwait Prim Minister Al-Sabah was the Kuwait metropolitan police deputy head between 1954 and 1959, the Kuwait Police and Public Security Department deputy president between 1959 and 1961, Kuwait’s minister of the Interior between 1961 and 1965 and Kuwait’s minister of the Interior and Defense between 1965 and 1978.
Another Al-Sabah family member, Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir Al-Sabah, had been Kuwait’s minister of Foreign Affairs since 1963 and Kuwait’s deputy prime minister since 1978.
Nouwaf al-Almad al-Jabir Al-Sabah was Kuwait’s minister of Defense in 1990. Jabir Mubarak al-Hamal Al-Sabah was Kuwait’s minister of Information in 1990. And Salim al-Sabah al-Salim Al-Sabah was Kuwait’s minister of the Interior in 1990.
Another Al-Sabah family member, Sheikh Ali Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah, had been Kuwait’s minister of Oil since 1978 and Kuwait’s minister of Finance since 1983. Kuwait minister of Oil Al-Sabah had also been the chairman of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation [KPC], the world’s 12th-largest oil company in 1990, since 1980. In the 1960s, minister of oil Al-Sabah was a student at the University of California at Berkeley before graduating from San Francisco State College in 1968. And his close friends had nicknamed him “Ali Cash.”
Nasir Muhammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah was Kuwait’s minister of Social Affairs and Labor in 1990. And Sheikh Saud Nasir Al-Sabah had been Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States, Kuwait’s ambassador to Canada and Kuwait’s ambassador to Venezuela, simultaneously, since 1981. Kuwait ambassador to the United States Al-Sabah was previously Kuwait’s ambassador to Great Britain, Kuwait’s ambassador to Norway, Kuwait’s ambassador to Sweden and Kuwait’s ambassador to Denmark, simultaneously, between 1975 and 1980.
The Al-Sabah family government of Kuwait Inc. and its Kuwaiti National Assembly had never been too eager to encourage residents of Kuwait to participate in Kuwaiti political life or to even vote, historically. According to the 1989 Political Handbook of the World:
“Political parties are not permitted in Kuwait…Only literate, adult, native-born males whose families have resided in Kuwait since 1920 are allowed to vote, an increasingly vocal call for some women for suffrage being rebuffed by the Assembly in July 1985.”
As a result, only 85,000 out of 825,000 Kuwaitis were allowed to vote before August 1990.
The 1989 Political Handbook of the World also reported that:
“Constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press were suspended by Emir Sabah on August 29, 1976…In conjunction with the dissolution of the Assembly in July 1986 the government imposed new press restrictions, subjecting periodicals to prior censorship and announcing it would suspend any newspapers or magazines printing material `against the national interest.’ The government also continued its drive to Kuwaitize the news media, with an estimated 40 journalists from other Arab countries being deported to open jobs for nationals. The Kuwait Broadcasting Services and Television of Kuwait, both controlled by the government.”
Next: Kuwait Inc.’s Political System of “Sabahcracy” In 2005
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