A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, August 28, 2009

Attack on Saudi Counterterror Chief Muhammad bin Nayef

Saudi Arabia's key counterterrorism boss, Assistant Interior Minister for Security Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, was reportedly "slightly injured" when a man blew himself up in his Jidda offices as he was receiving Ramadan greetings. The early reports don't make clear how far away from the Prince the explosion occurred, but the Prince was later shown meeting with King ‘Abdullah. The picture, and the story in Arabic, from Al-Sharq al-Awsat.

The Saudi Interior Ministry is a family affair; the Minister, Prince Nayef, has also now been made Second Deputy Prime Minister, is Prince Muhammad's father; the Deputy Interior Minister, Prince Ahmad, is Muhammad's uncle and Nayef's full brother. Muhammad's role as counterterrorism chief is often played up in the Saudi media.

500th Post: I doubt if anyone else is keeping score, but this marks the blog's 500th post. I guess I talk too much.


LJ Marczak said...

This should generate lots of comment from those speculating on the Saudi succession since Muhammad has been mooted as the preferable alternative to his father.

The Ash-Sharq AlAwsat article states that the bomb went off during "taftish" which suggests perhaps that there were some casualties/serious injuries among the security detail.

AlArabbiyya has been quoted as saying detonation was triggered by a cell phone call the bomber received.

Michael Collins Dunn said...

Official Saudi statements have said that the only casualty was the bomber, except for the "slight injuries" to the prince. Targeting such a senior figure certainly is daring. Apparently there's a claim of responsibility attributed to Al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula. I'll post more as information becomes available (if it does).