Thousands of people have attended the funeral of Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Jaber al Ahmad Al Sabah. The ruler of the oil producing Gulf State died at the age of 79.Sheikh Jaber’s body was buried in simple grave in a section of the Kuwait City cemetery reserved for the royal family. The funeral was attended by several dignitaries including King Abdallah of Jordan.
His successor is 76 year old crown prince, Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah but as he is incapacitated by illness the real power will be in the hands of prime minister Sheikh Sabah, brother of the late Emir.
Sheikh Jaber was widely liked by his people. He guided his country through a tumultous period including the Iraqi invasion of 1990 when he fled into exile in Saudi Arabia. He returned to Kuwait when US led forces ejected the Iraqis and oversaw the restoration of the country’s damaged oil installations. Kuwait has a relatively high level of democracy among Gulf States, it had the first parliament in the region, women have the vote and will soon be allowed to stand for office.