King Salman has fired the top military commanders of Saudi Arabia as he is reshuffling his cabinet. Included in the purge are the Saudi Army Chief of Staff, as well as the heads of the ground and air defense forces.
The King left no doubt as to who is running the country as he’s replaced nearly all of his key security and government ministries. The country has been divided on its ongoing war with Yemen and this move as seen the King consolidating his power.
First Lieutenant General Fayyad bin Hamed al-Ruwayli was appointed the new chief of staff.
Tamadur bint Youssef al-Ramah was appointed as deputy labour minister in a rare senior post for a woman in the kingdom.
“He [Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman] is the person who is running the country. There should not be any doubt about it,” said James Dorsey, senior fellow at the S Raja Ratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.
“One has to keep in mind that in effect the crown prince has changed the government structure of Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding that it’s a one-man rule as opposed to the past when decisions were taken by consensus.
“I think we are going to see more changes in personnel both within [the] military as well as civilian administration simply because he is putting his own people and he wants to project a certain image of the kingdom.”
The problem with assessing the impact on the war in Yemen is that we don’t really know what’s the sentiment both within the Saudi public as well as within the Saudi military,” Dorsey told Al Jazeera.
These latest moves were made by King Salman, although the driving force is once again his son and heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. How this will affect the war, which was the initiative driven by Prince Salman remains to be seen.
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