RIYADH – In a sweeping overhaul, Saudi King Salman is shaking up the top ranks of the forces with the appointment of new commanders, besides sacking military chief of staff and other key staff.
The king issued a series of royal decrees late night on Monday reshuffling the defence and civil establishment. No any official reason has been announced for this major step, but the development comes as the Saudi-led coalition army’s operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen is about to complete its third year.
Major changes surfaced in the Gulf country after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the throne and the son of the king, became defence minister. The anti-corruption campaign, in which several princes were detained, also initiated on the consent of the Crown Prince.
The monarch has replaced the commanders of the ground forces and air defences, as well as senior officials at the interior ministry.
As per the details, Chief of Staff Abdul Rahman bin Saleh al-Bunyan has been terminated from services, while Fayyad al-Ruwaili had been appointed as his replacement.
The king ordered Lt. Gen. Muhammad Suhaim, commander of the Air Defense Forces, to retire and promoted Maj. Gen. Muzaid Al-Amr to this key position.
Lt. Gen. Fahd Bin Turki, commander of the Land Forces, has been relieved of the post and was appointed as commander of the Joint Forces. Maj. Gen. Fahd Al-Mutair was promoted to Lt. Gen. and appointed as commander of the Land Forces.
Maj. Gen. Mutlaq Al-Azaimie was promoted to Lt. Gen. and appointed as deputy chief of staff, while Maj. Gen. Jarallah Al-Olwait promoted to Lt. Gen. and appointed as commander of the Strategic Missiles Force.
Similarly, Maj. Gen. Turki Bin Bandar promoted to Lt. Gen. and appointed as commander of the Air Forces.
Separately, a series of civil appointments were also announced in the royal decrees.
In an unprecedented move, the monarch has appointed a Saudi woman, Tamadar Bint Yousef al-Ramah, as the deputy minister of labour and social development, Saudi Gazette reported.
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Prince Turki bin Talal the brother of billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, was appointed deputy governor of the southern Assir Province.
It is to mention here that the Saudi authorities last year detained Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal in the anti-purge movement. He was freed earlier this year.
Dr. Tamader Bint Yousef Al-Rammah has been appointed deputy minister of labor and social development.
Prince Faisal Bin Turki has been appointed as adviser at the Royal Court in the rank of minister and Prince Sultan Bin Ahmad as adviser at the Royal Court.
Among other appointments, Khaled Bayari became assistant minister of defense for executive affairs, while Dr. Bandar Al-Mushari was appointed as assistant minister of interior for technical affairs and Ahmad Qattan as minister of state for the affairs of African states.