Saudi king overhauls security services following royal shakeup
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DUBAI – Saudi King Salman on Thursday decreed the consolidation of counter-terrorism and domestic intelligence under a new body, in a major overhaul of the security apparatus weeks after the interior minister was ousted from the royal succession.
The string of late night royal decrees also ordered a shakeup of senior personnel, replacing the head of the elite royal guard and elevating the head of the newly created Presidency of State Security, Abdulaziz bin Mohammed al-Howairini, and his deputy to the rank of ministers.
The moves inside the world's biggest oil exporting nation centralizes authority in security matters to the king and his young son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has made a rapid rise to the pinnacle of power at the expense of his cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.
A Saudi official compared the new agency to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and said the move was aimed at streamlining security services and making counter-terrorism efforts directly accountable to the king.
Saudi security police closely monitor Saudis with suspected connections to militants and have detained more than 15,000 suspects in the years since al Qaeda's campaign.
As part of Thursday's decrees, the king also appointed Mohammed el Kuwaiz head of the Saudi Arabian Capital Markets Authority, which regulates investments in the kingdom.
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