Amid a 'Ruinous' War, Big Changes in Saudi Arabia

Kingdom abruptly replaces military chiefs as stalemate with Yemen continues
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 27, 2018 2:45 AM CST
Saudi Arabia Abruptly Replaces Military Chiefs
In this Nov. 26, 2017, photo released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks at a meeting of the Islamic Military Counterterrorism Alliance in Riyadh.   (Saudi Press Agency via AP, File)

Saudi Arabia replaced its military chief of staff and other defense officials early Tuesday in a shake-up apparently aimed at overhauling its Defense Ministry during the stalemated and ruinous war in Yemen, the AP reports. The kingdom also announced a new female deputy minister of labor and social development as it tries to broaden the role of women in the workplace. Saudi Arabia made the announcement in a flurry of royal decrees carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. As with many announcements in the ultraconservative Sunni kingdom, it was short on details. Prominent among the personnel changes was the firing of the military chief of staff, Gen. Abdulrahman bin Saleh al-Bunyan. Another announcement said the general would become a consultant to the royal court.

Al-Bunyan was replaced by Gen. Fayyadh bin Hamid al-Rwaili, who once had been the commander of the Royal Saudi Air Force, among the nation's premier military forces. The decisions come as the Saudi-led coalition, chiefly backed by the United Arab Emirates, remains mired in a stalemate in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country. Over 10,000 people have been killed in the war, in which Saudi-led forces back Yemen's internationally recognized government against Shiite rebels and their allies, who are holding the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and much of the north of the country. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the throne, is the Saudi defense minister and architect of the Yemen war.

(More Saudi Arabia stories.)

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