Saudi king replaces senior officials in sudden shake-up

The services of key officials in the defense ministry have been terminated



Several senior officials in Saudi Arabia, including many in the Ministry of Defence were replaced in a sudden move on Monday night by King Salman.

The announcements, revealed by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), also included changes in other ministerial and top administrative roles.

Under a royal order, “based on the recommendations of the minister of defence”, the chief of general staff Abdulrahman bin Saleh bin Abdullah Al-Bunyan was terminated from his post and replaced with his deputy lieutenant general staff Fayyadh bin Hamid bin Ragad Al-Rwaili. Mutlaq bin Salem bin Mutlaq Al-Ezaime’a has been appointed as the new deputy chief of general staff.

The commander of air defence forces Mohammed bin Awadh bin Mansour Suhaim was also terminated from his position, while Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was relieved of his post as commander of land forces and appointed as commander of the joint forces in the rank of lieutenant general staff.

Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Mitair was appointed as commander of the land forces, Mazyad bin Sulaiman bin Mazyad Al-Amro was made commander of air defence forces, and Turki bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was promoted to the role of commander of air forces.

Jarallah bin Mohammed bin Jarallah Al-Elwait has also been appointed as the commander of the Strategic Missiles Force.

Saudi Arabia is heavily involved in military operations in Yemen, leading a coalition of Arab states against Houthi forces in the country.

The SPA also reported that King Salman issued a royal order approving a document on “developing the ministry of defence, including the vision and strategy of the ministry’s developing programme, the operational pattern targeting its development, the organisational structure, governance, and human resources requirements which were drafted in view of the national defence strategy”.

Along with the changes in the defence ministry, some of the other shake-ups involved terminating the services of the deputy minister of labour Ahmad bin Salih bin Abdullah Alhomaidan, the deputy minister of interior Ahmad bin Mohammad Alsalim, and Hamad bin Khalaf Alrashid Alkhalaf, the undersecretary of the interior ministry for security affairs.

New appointees were also announced for the roles of deputy minister of justice, deputy minister of labour and social development for labour and deputy minister of economy and planning.

Another royal order also saw the appointment of new mayors for Riyadh – Tariq bin Abdulaziz Alfaris – and Makkah – Mohammad bin Abdullah bin Mohammad Alqwaihis.

The governor of the Al-Joaf region was also replaced and new deputy governors were appointed for Asir and Hail.

Another major shake-up saw the appointment of Mohammed bin Dakhil bin Abed Rabbo Al-Mutairi as the new secretary general of the Saudi Shoura Council. Yousef bin Trad Al-Saadoun and Nabih bin Abdulmohsen bin Mansour Al-Ibrahim were also announced as members of the council.

The Saudi government has seen several high-level governmental changes since King Salman appointed his son Mohammed Bin Salman as the Crown Prince in June last year. The young prince is currently undertaking an ambitious reform strategy aimed at diversifying the kingdom’s economy away from oil. Recently, he also oversaw the implementation of a major corruption crackdown which saw top princes, businessmen and government officials detained.

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