News / Middle East

Saudi King Names Son to Run New Ministry

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at opening of the Gulf Cooperation Council summit, Riyadh, May 10, 2011.King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at opening of the Gulf Cooperation Council summit, Riyadh, May 10, 2011.
x
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at opening of the Gulf Cooperation Council summit, Riyadh, May 10, 2011.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at opening of the Gulf Cooperation Council summit, Riyadh, May 10, 2011.
Reuters
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah named his son to head a new National Guard ministry on Monday, strengthening the force's role in the kingdom as the ruling family grapples with the transfer of power towards a younger generation.
 
The elevation of Prince Miteb, which state media said came in a royal decree, has few strategic or military implications but bolsters his credentials within the ruling family.
 
"With this ministry, Miteb will have a stronger role to play. It gives the national guard more authority, better structure and a larger institutional budget," said Abdulaziz al-Sager, head of the Gulf Research Center in Jeddah.
 
The new ministry will be formed from the existing Presidency of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, based in Riyadh. Beside its military duties, the guard runs large social welfare and health programs for families of guardsmen.
 
Saudi Arabia has appointed leading younger members of the ruling family to senior posts over the past 18 months, including the interior ministry and governorships of Riyadh and Eastern Province, two of the most important districts.
 
King Abdullah turns 90 this year; Crown Prince Salman will be 77. The next generation of Saudi leaders, including Prince Miteb, are mostly in their 50s and 60s.
 
In a country where top posts are often held for decades, the moves represent a changing of the guard for the inner circles of a family where major decisions are based on a consensus of views among senior princes.
 
Unlike in European monarchies, the Saudi succession does not move from father to eldest son, but has instead passed down a line of brothers born to the kingdom's founder, King Abdulaziz, that include both King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman.
 
However, that line is nearly exhausted and the ruling al-Saud must soon work out which of King Abdulaziz's grandsons is best placed to one day become the monarch.
 
Miteb's promotion also augments the special status of the national guard, commanded by King Abdullah from 1962-2010, as separate from the kingdom's conventional armed forces, run by Defense Minister Crown Prince Salman.
 
Originally based on the tribal fighters who helped King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud create the modern Saudi state in the early 20th century, the national guard later helped guard against possible coups d'etat by the regular army.
 
Although such coups are no longer seen as a risk, the force has retained an important role in both the Saudi military and as a link to the country's main tribes.
 
According to a 2011 IHS Jane's Sentinel Country Risk Assessments estimate, the national guard has 100,000 personnel, compared to 75,000 for the regular army, 34,000 for the air force and 15,500 for the navy.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid