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Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal Al Ahmad Al Sabah

Born in 1940, Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is the seventh son of the 10th ruler of Kuwait and a brother of the previous emir who passed away on 29 September 2020. He had been deputy chief of the National Guard since 2004. He had previously served as head of security services and in the interior ministry. Unlike other presumed candidates for the role, Sheikh Meshaal “does not have any alleged scandals and controversy associated with him. He had a very close relationship with the Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and is viewed to have good relations with neighbors such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He was also the one that accompanied the late emir to the US for medical treatment.

Kuwait’s parliament unanimously voted 08 October 2020 to endorse Sheikh Meshaal Al Ahmad Al Sabah as crown prince a day after the new emir named him for the post. Sheikh Meshaal arrived in parliament shortly after the vote, taking his oath in front of Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah as the new crown prince. Sheik Meshal, addressing Parliament, said Kuwait would uphold its regional and international commitments and "its path of peace and democratic approach." He pledged to "raise the banner of popular participation and promote a tolerant spirit that shuns division."

Diplomats and analysts said that because of his low-key style and age, Sheikh Nawaf, 83, may delegate a larger portion of responsibilities to the crown prince. Octogenarian Sheikh Meshaal, a brother of the late emir, became deputy head of the National Guard in 2004 and previously served as the head of state security for 13 years. As a graduate of the UK’s Hendon Police College, Sheikh Meshaal was credited with helping to reform Kuwait’s National Guard.

Experts on Kuwait said he had in the past declined offers of senior positions, steering clear of political battles and public-facing roles. Sheikh Meshaal’s rise stands in contrast to some other Gulf states, most notably Saudi Arabia, where ruling families are starting to give top jobs to younger princes.

Sheik Meshal's rise stands in contrast to successions in some other Gulf states, most notably Saudi Arabia, where ruling families are starting to give top jobs to younger princes. Sheik Nawaf and Sheikh Meshal, both brothers of the late ruler, were expected to focus on domestic issues as the country prepares for parliamentary elections this year and the government tries to shore up its finances.

Meshaal had never been publicly outspoken within the Gulf state, remaining away from public feuds that have often besieged the country. As deputy chief of the National Guard, a post he has held since 2004, he was credited with helping push through critical reforms. Prior to that, he spent 13 years as head of the state’s security apparatuses and held other senior positions in the Interior Ministry.

He was educated at Al-Mubarakiya School and Hendon Police College in the United Kingdom in 1960. He joined the Ministry of the Interior and progressed in positions until he became head of the General Investigation, with the rank of colonel from 1967 until 1980, during which it was transformed into the Department of State Security. He was appointed by the late Emir Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah in 1977 as head of the Diwaniyah of the poets of Nabat.

Under a decree issued in April 2014, Sheikh Meshaal was appointed as Deputy Chief of the National Guard with the rank of Minister. He has held the position of honorary president of the Kuwait Pilots Association since 1973, and he is also one of the founders and honorary president of the Kuwait Amateur Radio Society.

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