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Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman adjusts his cabinet and sack the intelligence chief

By Tajuddin
In WORLD NEWS
Jan 31st, 2015
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Saudi Arabia's new King Salman (C) speaks with Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef (L) at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on January 27, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman (C) speaks with Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef (L) at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on January 27, 2015

Riyadh ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Saudi Arabia’s new King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, further cemented his hold on power, with a sweeping shakeup that saw two sons of the late King Abdullah fired, and the heads of intelligence and other key agencies replaced alongside a cabinet shuffle.

Top officials from the Ports Authority, the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the conservative Islamic kingdom’s religious police were among those let go.

The new appointments came a week after Salman acceded to the throne following the death of Abdullah, aged about 90.
Salman also reached out directly to his subjects on Thursday. One of his more than 30 decrees ordered “two months’ basic salary to all Saudi government civil and military employees,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

“Dear people: You deserve more and whatever I do will not be able to give you what you deserve,” the king said later on his official Twitter account.

He asked his citizens to “not forget me in your prayers”.

SPA said Salman “issued a royal order today, relieving Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, Chief of General Intelligence, of his post.”

General Khalid bin Ali bin Abdullah al-Humaidan became the new intelligence chief, holding cabinet rank.
The change comes after authorities in the kingdom last year blamed suspects linked to the Islamic State extremist group for shooting and wounding a Dane, and for gunning down minority Shiites.

A separate decree said Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a nephew of Abdullah, was removed from his posts as Secretary General of the National Security Council and adviser to the king.

Prince Bandar was the kingdom’s ambassador to the United States for 22 years until 2005 before moving to Saudi Arabia’s Security Council.

Two sons of the late monarch were also fired: Prince Mishaal, governor of the Mecca region, and Prince Turki, who governed the capital Riyadh, according to the decrees broadcast on Saudi television.

– Super-ministry –

Another of Abdullah’s sons, Prince Miteb, retained his position as minister in charge of the National Guard, a parallel army of around 200,000 men.

Salman, 79, a half-brother of Abdullah, named a 31-member cabinet whose new faces include the ministers for culture and information, social affairs, civil service, and communications and information technology, among others.

Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, and Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf stayed in the cabinet of the world’s leading oil exporter.

A 50 percent fall in global oil prices since last June has left Saudi Arabia projecting its first budget deficit since 2011, but government spending is set to continue.

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