King Salman Issues Royal Decrees on Security as U.S. Praises ‘Strong Counterterrorism Relationship’

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a number of royal decrees on Thursday regarding the Kingdom’s security governance, creating a new security authority and separating forces from the Ministry of the Interior, according to reports.

The executive order creates a security authority known as the “The Presidency for State Security” linked with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Saudi Gazette and other outlets report. The setting up of the Presidency for State Security will enable the Ministry of Interior to provide better services to citizens and expatriates.

Another royal decree separated away from the Ministry of Interior the Directorate General of Intelligence, Special Security Forces, Special Emergency Forces, Security Aviation, General Administration for Technical Affairs, and National Information Center.

According to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, the moves seeks to create “a greater promotion and endorsement for a counterterrorism special forces unit” for Saudi Arabia. Reuters notes the decrees are a “major overhaul of the security apparatus” shortly after the promotion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Another Royal decree terminated the military services of General Abdulaziz Bin Muhammad Al-Huwairini and appointed him as Chief of State Security with the rank of minister. He will continue in his post as Director General of General Intelligence.

The New York Times reports it is “a big promotion for a veteran security officer who United States officials recently said was without a job and confined to his home.”

“General Huwairini had long served as a crucial liaison between the kingdom’s security services and those of the United States, alongside former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, who also served as the interior minister. But after Prince Mohammed was replaced as crown prince last month, General Huwairini’s status became unclear,” according to the NYT.

But previous reports of Huwairini’s status based on confidential sources may not have been entirely accurate, as evidenced by the surprise promotion of General Huwairini.

Meanwhile, the United States State Department released today a statement praising the strong U.S.-Saudi counterterrorism partnership.

Saudi Arabia continued to maintain a strong counterterrorism relationship with the US and supported enhanced bilateral cooperation to ensure the safety of both US and Saudi citizens within Saudi territories and abroad,” the report said.

The Kingdom “remained a key member and active participant in the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, as evidenced by its co-leading the Counter-Daesh Coalition’s Counter-Finance Working Group (CIFG) alongside the US and Italy. The Saudi government condemned Daesh’s activities and participated in coalition military action to defeat the group in Syria and Iraq,” the report added.