November 5th, 2012
03:55 PM ET

New Saudi interior minister named, signaling possible generational shift

Saudi Arabia's king has named Prince Mohammed bin Nayef  as interior minister, making him the first in the next generation of the Saudi royal family to rise to such a powerful post.

King Abdullah issued the royal order ousting Interior Minister Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, who had been named to the position in June and is Prince Nayef's uncle, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

"The royal order instructed the concerned authorities to carry (it out) with immediate effect," the SPA report said,  indicating Prince Nayef became the new interior minister immediately.

A grandson of modern Saudi Arabia's founder King Abdulaziz, Prince Nayef joins older men of a different generation - like his father, Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, who died in June - in the top ranks of government.

Moreover, the interior minister is one of the most prominent positions in Saudi Arabia, overseeing intelligence, police and counter-terrorism units in the Arab nation.

"(Given) the slow-moving pace of change in Saudi Arabian leadership, this is a major event," said David Ottaway, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. "It raises questions whether there is going to be a change to the new generation of grandsons of King Abdulaziz ... much sooner than we thought."

Prince Nayef , who is in his 50s, steps into a role that his father, a hard-line conservative credited with pushing back al Qaeda, held for 37 years. Personally, he had been a deputy interior minister for years, and he survived a 2009 assassination attempt blamed on al Qaeda.

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Filed under: Saudi Arabia • Terrorism
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Portland tony

    Perhaps if I knew what was behind this shuffle of the Royal family, I could give a meaningful comment?

    November 5, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Am I supposed to be surprised that a member of Saudi Arabia's Royal Family would be given a high position in their government?

      November 5, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |