DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi King Salman on Thursday decreed the consolidation of counter-terrorism and domestic intelligence under a new body, in a major overhaul of the security apparatus weeks after the interior minister was ousted from the royal succession.
The president of the newly minted state security agency, Abdulaziz bin Mohammed al-Howairini, will hold the rank of a minister reporting to the king who also serves as prime minister.
The move strips important authorities from the Interior Ministry, which was run by Prince Mohammed bin Nayef until last month when he was stripped of his positions and removed as crown prince.
Mohammed bin Nayef was replaced as heir to the throne by the king’s son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who also serves as defense minister and leads an ambitious reform agenda to end Saudi Arabia’s over-reliance on oil.
The changes were announced in a series of royal decrees published by the state news agency which said they were made in order to maintain “the highest readiness levels to keep up with the latest developments”.
As part of the decrees, the king also appointed Mohammed el Kuwaiz head of the Saudi Arabian Capital Markets Authority (CMA), which regulates investments in the kingdom.
Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Alison Williams