World Bulletin / News Desk
Saudi Arabia has replaced intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz with its former ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi Press Agency said on Thursday, citing a royal decree.
Prince Bandar, who was the kingdom's envoy to Washington for 22 years, a period spanning the first Gulf War and the Sep 11 2001 attacks on the United States, takes the portfolio at a time when Saudi Arabia faces growing instability in its immediate region.
"There was a feeling that we needed stronger intelligence and Bandar has a history of this sort," said Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi commentator with ties to the royal family.
"We are witnessing the start of a new Middle East with the collapse of the (Syrian President Bashar al) Assad regime. We are worried about Jordan and Lebanon," he said.
Bandar has headed Saudi Arabia's National Security Council for seven years but has shunned the limelight since leaving his Washington post in 2005.
"He's been close to that position heading the National Security Council and is very well aware of the intelligence apparatus. He's also been involved in Saudi security issues of the highest order for the last 10 years," said Robert Jordan, U.S. ambassador to Riyadh from 2001-03.
Jordan, who said he worked closely with Prince Bandar during that time, and described him as "the ultimate shuttle diplomat", said the appointment might help strengthen the alliance between Washington and its closest Arab ally.
Prince Bandar is a son of the late Crown Prince Sultan, who died last October and had served as defence minister for five decades.
In the sprawling ruling family, Sultan was one of seven brothers born to the kingdom's founder by his favourite wife and known collectively as the Sudairis, who formed the strongest power bloc in the House of Saud.
The kingdom's new heir apparent, Crown Prince Salman, is also a Sudairi, as is the new Interior Minister Prince Ahmed.
The royal decree carried by SPA said outgoing intelligence head Prince Muqrin, the youngest son of the kingdom's founder Abdulaziz ibn Saud, had been appointed a special envoy and adviser to King Abdullah, who is 89.
It added that Prince Bandar would retain his role as secretary general of the National Security Council.
Qadri and Imran Khan are trying to force Sharif to resign over allegations of election rigging and corruption. Their supporters broke through police barricades to surround parliament.
Maliki infuriated Kurdish leaders by accusing them of harboring militants after ISIL militants swept through northern Iraq in June.
Matthew Rosenberg ran a story about ministry and palace officials discussing plans to form an interim government if an election deadlock continues
The wife and daughter of Mohamed Deif were among the three victims of the Israeli airstrike on the house of al-Dalw family in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in northwestern Gaza City.
A study released last week detailed the perception of local black residents that they are singled out by the police for traffic stops and treated unfairly by the local courts.
"When your colleagues dropped that bomb, they signed my death certificate," journalist James Foley said before being beheaded.
The former U.S. vice president and his partner filed a lawsuit against Al Jazeera claiming the news channel owed them "tens of millions of dollars."
China has played an unusually active diplomatic role in South Sudan and is the biggest investor in its key oil industry.
A Palestinian child was killed and 25 people were injured in Israeli attacks in the beleaguered Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe urges US law enforcement authorities to respect the rights of journalists reporting in Ferguson.
The aftermath of the Brown shooting was due to take a new turn, when the St. Louis County prosecutor's office said it expected to begin presenting evidence to a grand jury investigating the case.
China's railways have faced increased scrutiny from anti-corruption officials and the public after a scandal in which former railways minister Liu Zhijun was prosecuted for corruption and abuse of power.
Ten people were missing after a month's worth of rain fell overnight, loosening slopes already saturated by heavy rain over the past few weeks.
Historic mosques in Deir ez-Zor have become targets due to the tombs inside them.
Analysts said his move was a big blow to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
'Shoot me now. Kill me now,' robbery suspect responded when officers ordered him to drop the knife