Saudi Arabia has replaced a number of top military commanders in a late-night political reshuffle Monday that saw the country’s monarch issue 39 royal decrees.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud had issued the orders that included reshuffles for the positions of chief of general staff and the commanders of the country’s air defense force, land forces and strategic missiles force.
- Lt. Gen. Fayyadh bin Hamid bin Ragad Al-Rwaili becomes chief of general staff
- Lt. Gen. Mazyad bin Sulaiman bin Mazyad Al-Amro is now head of the air defense forces
- Former chief commander of the land forces Lt. Gen. Staff Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has been reassigned as commander of the joint forces
- Lt. Gen. Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Mitair takes the role as head of land forces
- Lt. General Jarallah bin Mohammed bin Jarallah Al-Elwait becomes commander of the strategic missiles force
The decrees related to military appointments were issued “based on recommendations of the Minister of Defense,” according to one of the royal decrees.
The current Defense Minister is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is first in line to inherit the throne from his 82-year-old father, King Salman.
The 32-year-old is seen as a key power player behind the king and a reformer by Saudi standards.
Saudi Arabia has waged a years-long military campaign in Yemen in support of the internationally recognized government that the Houthi rebels drove out of the capital, Sanaa.
First female vice minister
Changes and appointments were also made to several government posts, including naming the first female deputy minister – Tamadhir bint Yosif bin Moqbil Alrammah as deputy minister of labor and social development.
Since his appointment some restrictions on women have been eased and last year, the Crown Prince vowed to destroy “extremist ideologies” in a bid to return to “a more moderate Islam.”
A day before the military reshuffle, Saudi Arabia announced that it would open its military to female employment for the first time.
“The General Directorate of Public Security announces military jobs for females at the rank of soldier,” the kingdom’s General Directorate of Public Security said in an advert on its official Twitter account on Sunday.
Clarification: This story has been updated to include the names of the new appointees and their roles