Saudi Arabia appointed its counterterrorism chief Prince Mohammed bin Naif new minister of interior, the official news agency reported Monday.
King Abdullah issued a royal decree announcing that the current interior minister Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, who was appointed less than five months ago, has requested to be relieved of his position and that Prince Mohammed, son of the late Crown Prince Naif, will replace him.
Prince Mohammed bin Naif, or MbN as he is usually referred to in leaked US diplomatic cables, was born in Jeddah on August 30, 1959. He received his college education in the US and worked a businessman before being appointed as assistant interior minister for security affairs under his father in May 1991.
In August 2009, he survived an assassination attempt with minor injuries when he was targeted by a suicide bomber from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Mohammed bin Naif has become the first grandson of the Kingdom’s founder Abdulaziz to be appointed for one of the major leadership positions in the country in recent years. Leadership positions in important ministries like interior and defense are usually filled by the sons of Abdulaziz.
“In the slow moving pace of change in Saudi Arabian leadership this is a major event,” David Ottaway, a senior scholar in the Middle East program at the Wilson Center, told CNN’s Mohammed Jamjoom.