Saudi Arab

Saudi king names son natl. guard chief

saudi_kingSaudi King Abdullah has appointed his son, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, as both minister of state and commander of the National Guard.

King Abdullah also accepted the resignation of his brother Prince Badr bin Abdul Aziz as deputy head of the National Guard over health reasons.

Earlier the king had received a request from Prince Badr to  relieve him from his post on health grounds,Shiite News reported. 

The National Guard — a fully trained army of between 100,000 and 120,000 men — operates in parallel, and as a palace-directed counter-balance, to the Saudi ground forces under the defense ministry. The monarch has been head of the National Guard since 1962.

The palace announcement suggests that Prince Miteb maybe the likely replacement for aging King Abdullah.

Saudi and US officials say a large number of the 178 attack and transport helicopters included in a 30 to 60 billion dollar arms deal with the US announced in October are destined for the national guard.

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