Saudi national security overhaul grants monarch sweeping new powers

Saudi national security overhaul grants monarch sweeping new powers
2 min read
21 July, 2017
Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will directly control a new security apparatus stripping the interior ministry of powers.
King Salman and his son will head the new security body [AFP]

 

Saudi Arabia's rulers have been granted sweeping new powers with the creation of a new security agency that strips the interior ministry of many duties.

King Salman and his son Crown Prince Mohammed in Salman will directly handle the new agency, which will integrate counter-terrorism and domestic intelligence into the presidency of state security.

These were previously the responsibilities of the interior ministry which lost much of its influence after the departure of long-time minister Mohammed bin Nayef.

He was replaced by Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince and removed as head of the ministry.

The national security directorate will have unprecedented powers and will oversee the general directorate of investigation, special security and emergency forces, which have been separated from the interior ministry.

The presidency of state security will also head all counter-terrorism initiatives and financial investigations.

This will give the king and crown prince direct control of one of Saudi Arabia's most important functions.

It will be headed by bin Nayef's former right-hand man at the ministry Abdulaziz bin Mohammed al-Howairini who has vast experience in domestic intelligence.

Riyadh argues the new centralised model will keep intelligence services at "the highest readiness levels to keep up with the latest developments".

The government also said the new "threats of terror" in the kingdom made it necessary for national security to be directly handled by the king and crown prince.

A reshuffle of top security positions was also unveiled with the head of royal guard being replaced.