Saudi King shakes up military leadership

Friday, 02 Mar, 2018

Saudi Arabia has begun to allow women to enter the military for the very first time.

It is understood that women have until Thursday to apply for positions with the rank of soldier in the provinces of Riyadh, Mecca, al-Qassim and Medina.

Crown Prince Mohammed, the son of the monarch and heir to the throne, is the country's defence minister and has been consolidating his grip on power in recent months while pushing major economic and social reforms.

'A military transformation is underway in Saudi Arabia, ' Theodore Karasik, a senior advisor at the consultancy Gulf States Analytics, said. They must be Saudi citizens, be aged between 25 and 35, have at least a high school diploma, and must have grown up in the country, unless their fathers were posted overseas on a government job.

Applicants have to be born and raised in Saudi Arabia, between the age of 25 and 35 and at least 155cm tall. The candidate must also pass the personal interview with experts before being recruited.

"They must also be "'well-behaved, ' have not previously been employed by a government agency or within the military system and are not married to a non-Muslim. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Salman will begin a visit to the United Kingdom on March 7 which will include talks with Prime Minister Theresa May on topics such as extremism and societal reform, May's spokesman said today.

In January, the General Directorate for Passports received 107,000 applications when it announced 140 jobs for women.

On Monday, Tamadur bint Youssef al-Ramah was appointed as deputy labor minister, a rare senior post for a woman in Saudi Arabia.

Women must also stay separate from unmarried men and wear full robes called abayas in public with headscarves for those who are Muslim.

Earlier this month, Shura Council Member Iqbal Darandari called mandatory training on both men and women. No reasons for the changes were provided, BBC reported.