JEDDAH: King Salman on Thursday decreed the consolidation of the counterterrorism and domestic intelligence services under a new body named the Presidency of State Security.
The new state security agency will be headed by intelligence chief Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed Al-Howairini, who will hold the rank of a minister.
In a series of royal decrees, King Salman also appointed Abdullah bin Abdulkarim bin Abdul Aziz Al-Essa as assistant to the head of the Presidency of State Security, with the rank of minister.
The new body will be concerned with all matters related to state security, and will be overseen by the king.
The General Directorate of Investigation, the Special Security Forces, the Special Emergency Forces, General Security Aviation Command, the General Directorate of Technical Affairs, the National Information Center and all matters related to combatting terrorism and financial investigations will be separated from the Interior Ministry and placed under the new Presidency of State Security.
It is well-known that the Interior Ministry did a remarkable job since its inception until the early 1990s with regard to police, traffic, Passport Department and other services that concern citizens and residents.
However, after the rise of the terror threat, the Interior Ministry concentrated much of its efforts on fighting this scourge.
This led to the addition of a large number of responsibilities, which affected the ministry’s other services such as police, traffic and the Passport Department.
The Presidency of State Security will enable the Interior Ministry to provide the best services to citizens and residents in all sectors. The new presidency will be able to focus on the fight against terrorism on the security and intelligence levels, as well as monitor its financing.
Everything related to the Security Affairs Agency and other functions related to the ministry — including tasks involving civil and military employees, budgets, documents and information — will also be added to the Presidency of State Security.
Experts believe the creation of the Presidency of State Security will rationalize state expenditure, increase revenues, achieve economic growth and competitiveness, and increase exports to reduce reliance on imports.
All sectors, bodies and departments of the Interior Ministry and the Presidency of State Security are mandated to cooperate with each other to ensure necessary support, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. All decrees are to be implemented from the start of the next fiscal year.
Also appointed on Thursday were Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al-Kuwaiz as chairman of the Capital Market Authority with the rank of minister; Bader bin Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz bin Asaker as director of the crown prince’s Special Office with the rank of minister; and Sulaiman bin Naif bin Atallah Al-Kathiri as head of special affairs of the crown prince.
Among other appointments, Lt. Gen. Suhail bin Saqr Al-Mutairi was promoted to the rank of general and appointed head of the Royal Guard, in place of Gen. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Ohaili.
Lt. Gen. Khaled bin Garrar Al-Harbi was appointed commander of the Special Emergency Forces and promoted to the rank of general.
Maj. Gen. Mufleh bin Sulayem Al-Otaibi, commander of the Special Security Forces, was promoted to lieutenant general.