Riyadh: Saudi King Salman has sacked the military chief of staff and a host of other top commanders, state media said on Monday, in a major shake-up of the defence establishment.
The monarch also replaced the heads of the ground forces and air defences, as well as senior officials at the interior ministry, in a series of late-night royal decrees.
No official reason was given for the sweeping overhaul, but it comes as the Saudi-led coalition’s military intervention in Yemen against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels nears the end of its third year.
“Termination of the services of General Abdul Rahman bin Saleh al-Bunyan, Chief of Staff,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said, adding that Fayyad al-Ruwaili had been appointed as his replacement.
Al-Bunyan’s sacking came after he inaugurated a major exhibition this week by the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), the state-owned defence company, which illustrates ongoing efforts to reform the sector.
“These Saudi royal decrees appear to be part of the kingdom’s national defence strategy,” Theodore Karasik, a senior advisor at the consultancy Gulf States Analytics, told AFP.