Saudi Arabia forms new apparatus of state security

Updated 21 July 2017

Saudi Arabia forms new apparatus of state security

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.

Other appointments
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.

Home alone: Saudis and expats try to beat the holiday blues

Updated 37 min 33 sec ago

Home alone: Saudis and expats try to beat the holiday blues

  • People celebrating Eid alone or abroad find ways to stay positive

JEDDAH: For different reasons many people living in the Kingdom have found themselves alone for the holidays due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, their spirits dampened as they are forced to stay home alone, away from loved ones.

As the pandemic enters its third month in Saudi Arabia, flights have not yet resumed, strict social distancing and safety measures are still in place and curfews have been reimposed to curb the spread of the virus during the Eid holidays.

Many families are stranded in cities across the Kingdom, while Saudis studying and working abroad are either stuck or have chosen to spend summer where they are out of fear they will not be able to return and start their new semesters.

Some people were able to move in with their families and quarantine together, while others were deprived of that chance.

A number of Saudi nationals, including students, have been repatriated in the past couple of weeks while others are still waiting for their turn.

Yousef Al-Ayesh, a 21-year-old senior student at Arizona State University, has been at home since late March as a precautionary measure.

He said that Eid with his family in Jeddah was one event that everyone looked forward to all year long. Under normal circumstances the first three days of Eid would be filled with events — family dinners at night and beach excursions during the day. Although he would be sleep-deprived, he would still make the most of the little time he spent with his family due to his studies.

“With all that’s going on, it doesn’t even feel like it’s Eid,” he told Arab News. 

“It most probably would have been different if I was back in Saudi Arabia but I still wouldn’t have been able to celebrate it the same way. It’s not that bad here (in the US) now since restaurants have reopened and my friends and I have the outdoors to enjoy, have a barbecue, or just hang out. I would have felt worse if I was alone. Ramadan was already odd enough, I don’t think I would have been OK if it were the case without them.”

Although his family lives 8,000 miles away he did not feel alone as his group of friends decided to celebrate together, even without the perks of new clothes and eidiyas from aunts and uncles.

It’s an exceptional year for us and one that is teaching us a lesson on various levels, but we must adapt either way.

Fareed Abdullah Fareed

Al-Ayesh hoped to be repatriated to the Kingdom soon and spend some time with his family after his mandatory quarantine.

Fareed Abdullah Fareed, a 29-year-old expat working and living in Riyadh, said this year’s Eid was tough without his family.

Although he is used to living alone because of his job, Eid was the one occasion he looked forward to the most every year because he got to travel to Cairo and be with his family.

“My family moved from Jeddah to Cairo about four or five years ago and Eid is a significant occasion in the family, Eid Al-Fitr is significantly more special than Eid Al-Adha even,” he told Arab News. “I look forward to traveling to see them every year since moving to Riyadh but wasn’t able to with the lockdown, so we all got together on FaceTime video call and spent the whole day speaking to family members.”

Like many expats, Fareed has spent the past months at home and said it was hard for him and his family but that communication had made the ordeal slightly easier.

“It’s an exceptional year for us and one that is teaching us a lesson on various levels, but we must adapt either way,” he added.