Saudi king appoints new foreign minister in major cabinet reshuffle

Turki al-Shabanah, a Saudi TV presenter, was named minister of media, with Hamad al-Sheikh appointed minister of education.

"Because the Saudi consul general in Istanbul was very much involved in the killing of Khashoggi and that would fall under al-Jubeir".

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud attends the 2019 budget meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 18, 2018.

TRT World spoke to TRT Arabic's Director of News Resul Serdar Atas for his analysis.

Al-Jubeir's post was taken by Ibrahim al-Assaf, a long-time finance minister of the Kingdom.

Al Assaf had been serving as minister of state, and has held a seat on the boards of oil-giant Saudi Aramaco and the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.

In November, the U.S. senators passed two resolutions blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi's killing and calling on Washington to stop any aid to the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.

The changes, which impact several key ministries, come as the king and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were looking to announce a major reshuffle following dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing by Saudi agents in Istanbul.

General Kalid bin Qirar al Harbi was named general security chief, while Musaed a Aiban was appointed national security adviser.

Turki al-Sheikh has been moved to a new portfolio heading up the entertainment authority. Prince Sultan had been head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).

The SPA said the royal order also relieved the kingdom's ambassador to the UK, Mohammed bin Nawwaf, from his post and reassigned him as an advisor to the Saudi king.

The shakeup comes after Saudi Arabia last week said it was creating government bodies to boost oversight of its intelligence operations, in the wake of Khashoggi's murder.

"The primary bone of contention between Saudi Arabia and American lawmakers is the power of Prince Mohammed and his responsibility for the murder of Khashoggi", said Ryan Bohl, from the United States geopolitical think tank Stratfor.

The man to replace him, Ibrahim al-Assaf, was no less of a surprise because he was among dozens of prominent Saudi royals and businessmen detained in Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton in November, 2017.

He is set to maintain his political and security posts after Thursday's reshuffle, including that of defence minster.

Senior U.S. officials indicated they might back Prince Ahmed as king, Reuters reported last month, citing unidentified people close to the Saudi court.

  • Jon Douglas