Saudi Arabia: Royal Decrees Reshuffle Government, Military Positions

Friday, 02 Mar, 2018

Saudi King, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, appointed a new military Chief of Staff in a flush of royal decrees, naming new commanders for both the army and the air forces.

A number of younger princes were named deputy governors and a woman was appointed deputy labor minister, a rare occurrence in the ultraconservative kingdom.

The crown prince said the shakeup announced Monday night by his aging father, King Salman, was an effort to install "high energy" people who could achieve modernization targets.

"Termination of the services of General Abdul Rahman bin Saleh al-Bunyan, Chief of Staff", the official Saudi Press Agency announced, adding that Mr Fayyad al-Ruwaili has been appointed as his replacement. The crackdown was widely viewed as a mark of Prince Mohammed's consolidation of power.

Women must be of Saudi origin and, for the most part, have grown up in Saudi Arabia.

This is another sweeping overhaul of Saudi institutions that has become the hallmark of the reign of King Salman, although the driving force is once again his son and heir, Crown Prince. The plans outline the ministry's vision and strategy and its organizational structure, governance and human resources requirements to meet the national defense strategy.

The war has killed thousands of innocent civilians and destroyed Yemen's infrastructure as well as schools and factories.

Next month's visit will be the Crown Prince's first to the United Kingdom since he took on Saudi Arabia's second-most senior role in June previous year. "We want to work with believers", the Crown Prince, also known as MBS, told the U.S. paper.

The prince is expected to be confronted by protests but the government is anxious that the visit reflect what it sees as a new appetite for...

"The visit of the Crown Prince is an opportunity to do so precisely for the benefit of our people and the Saudi people", she said.

Saudi Arabia's military has opened applications to women for the first time, marking a major step towards improving women's rights in a deeply patriarchal country.

A senior Saudi cleric said last month that women need not wear the abaya - the loose-fitting, full-length robe symbolic of religious faith - and another prominent sheik said that celebrating Valentine's Day did not contradict Islamic teachings, defying the religious police's hardline position.

Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.

"This is a big moment for them", said Theodore Karasik, with Gulf State Analytics, a private advisory group in Washington.

This story was reported by Reuters.