Monday, October 18, 2010

Kuwaiti Royals' Past

Kuwait's Ambassador to Jordan led a mob against a TV station:
"Kuwait's public prosecution on Monday issued arrest warrants for members of the ruling family after they reportedly attacked a privately-owned television station, whose owner went on air and accused their grandfather of an early 20th century bloody attempt to depose his cousin, the emirate's ruler at that time...

"Eyewitnesses told Gulf News some '150 people' attacked the station, which has since stopped broadcasting. Police said the alleged attack was led by Shaikh Faisal Al Homoud Al Malek Al Sabah, Kuwait's ambassador to Jordan.

"The attack followed a live talk show in which the owner of the station, former MP Talal Al Saeed accused the Malek family, a smaller branch of the ruling Al Sabah family, of an attempt to depose Shaikh Mubarak Al Sabah, the founder of modern Kuwait in the early 1900s.

"A senior member of the Al Malek family, Shaikh Faisal Malek Al Malek Al Sabah, is Undersecretary in the Ministry of Information."

The main thing I wonder after reading this is how the Al Malek relate to the rest of the Al Sabah royal family, and if that may explain why their arrest is permitted. Mubarak Al Sabah is often called Mubarak the Great, and the Jaber and Salim branches of the Al Salim family are descended from his sons by those names. Since Mubarak's 1915 death, they have alternated the throne between them. However, the last Salimi emir reigned for only nine days due to health reasons, meaning that the Jabiris have effectively held uninterrupted office since 1977, and the current ruler, Sabah IV, has named a Jabiri as crown prince.

I hadn't realized that people descended from cousins of Mubarak were still considered members of the royal family, and I also have access to one of the biographies of Mubarak where presumably I could see if there's much behind the TV station's claims. This, however, is the political context in which the assertion was made.



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