Yesterday, despite coming during the first consultative meetings of the GCC's Joint Defense Council and a visit by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hegel, Saudi Arabia carried out a major reshuffle of its defense establishment, including new faces in the posts of the Deputy Defense Minister, Assistant Defense Minister, Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, and commanders of the Army and Navy,
A new Governor of Riyadh was also appointed as part of the reshuffle. See Arab News and Saudi Gazette reports at the links.
The extent of the reshuffle and its timing are unusual, although it comes in the wake of other senior recent reshuffles, including the retirement of Prince Bandar bin Sultan as Head of Intelligence, and the appointment of Prince Muqrin as second in line to the throne.
Simon Henderson at WINEP suggests that all the reshuffles may be related to succession to the throne when 90-year old King ‘Abdullah leaves the scene.
Deputy Minister of Defense: Prince Khaslid bin Bandar replaces Prince Salman bin Sultan, who had served less than a yearr/. Khalid is a former Land Forces commander who had been serving as Governor of Riyadh, in which post he will be replaced by his deputy, Turki bin ‘Abdullah, the King's son.
Assistant Minister of Defense: Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah al-‘Aysh was named.
Chief of General Staff: Gen. Husayn al-Qabil has retired, eplaced by his Deputy, Lt. Gen.‘Abd al-Rahman al-Bunyan, promoted full general..
Deputy Chief of General Staff: With Bunyan's promotion, the new Deputy Chief of Staff is Lt.Gen.Fayyad al-Ruwaili, previously Air Force Commander.,
Air Force Commander: Replacing Gen. Ruwaili as Air Force Chief is his Deputy, Maj. Gen. Muhammad al-Sha‘lan, promoted to Lt. Gen.
Navy Commander:‘ Vice Admiral Dakhilallah al-Waqadani has been retired by his Deputy, Rear Admiral ‘Abdullah bin Sultan, promoted to Vice Admiral.