A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, November 5, 2012

New Saudi Interior Minister

 Saudi Arabia has announced that King ‘Abdullah has relieved Interior Minister Prince Ahmad bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz "at his own request" and replaced him with Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, his nephew and the Deputy Interior Minister for Counterterrorism. Prince Ahmad had succeeded his brother Prince Nayef when the latter died a few months ago.

Muhammad bin Nayef has been the Kingdom's main counterterrorist chief for some years and was the target in 2009 of an assassination attempt by Al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula.

While keeping the Interior Ministry in the same branch of the family, Muhammad moves up at a time of growing challenges both inside the Kingdom and nearby; he is considered a hard-liner not only on terrorism but also on internal dissent and Shi‘ite activism, at a time when tensions are once again rising between the government and opposition on Bahrain.

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