Saudi king dismisses deputy defence minister


The Saudi deputy defence minister, Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz who played a key role in the 1991 Gulf War over Kuwait, has been dismissed, state news agency SPA reported Saturday.

The move is the latest in a reshuffle of princes holding government posts in the OPEC kingpin where the monarch’s age and frequent hospitalisation have raised concerns over its future leadership.

King Abdullah in a decree replaced him with Prince Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, SPA said, without giving further details.

Prince Khaled commanded Arab and Muslim armies in a US-led coalition which evicted Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War. He also owns the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, published in London.

He was appointed deputy defence minister in November 2011, a month after the death of his father, Crown Prince Sultan, who had served as defence minister for five decades.

His successor, Prince Fahd, has been commander of Saudi naval forces since 2002, according to the local press.