King Salman Replaces Top Military Commanders in Cabinet Shuffle

Saudi Arabia has replaced some of its top military officers by royal decree, elevating a younger generation as the war in Yemen approaches its fourth year without a victory.

No reason was given for the changes, according to Bloomberg and the Financial Times.

King Salman appointed First Lieutenant General Fayyad bin Hamed al-Ruwayli as chief of staff and named new commanders for the land and air forces as part of a plan to revamp the defense ministry.

The Financial Times noted that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has in the past openly talked about the need to improve the performance of Saudi forces to match the expensive hardware purchased by the kingdom. “It is unacceptable that we are the world’s third or fourth biggest country in military spending but our army is ranked in the twenties [ability]. There is a problem,” the powerful heir apparent said in a television interview two years ago.

King Salman also appointed a Saudi woman to a top position in the Ministry of Labor. Tamader bin Youssef Al-Rammah was named deputy minister of labor and social development, the first woman to hold that post.