Saudis Overhaul Security Apparatus


His Majesty King Salman of Saudi Arabia in July 2017 ordered the consolidation of the country’s counterterrorism and domestic intelligence services.

The new unit, called the Presidency of State Security, will allow Saudi Arabia “to face all security challenges with a high degree of flexibility, readiness and the ability to move quickly to face any emergency,” the state news agency reported.

A Saudi official told Reuters the new agency would be similar to the United States Department of Homeland Security. By making the king directly responsible for counterterrorism efforts, the new system will avoid the red tape and bureaucracy of its predecessor, he said.

“The purpose is that you want to create new efficiencies for both entities and elevate the work, especially in counterterrorism,” he told Reuters.

The new security agency will be headed by intelligence chief Gen. Abdulaziz bin Mohammed al-Howairini, who will report directly to King Salman, the BBC reported. The king also replaced the head of his royal guard with Gen. Suhail al-Mutiri and elevated the head of Mohammed bin Salman’s personal office to the rank of minister.