King Appoints New Deputy Minister of Defense

King Abdullah issued a royal decree relieving Prince Khaled bin Sultan of his duty as deputy minister of defense and replacing him with Prince Fahad bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, the Saudi Press Agency reported Saturday. Prince Fahad bin Abdullah is a retired general who used to be commander of the Saudi navy.

The sacking of Prince Khaled bin Sultan may come as a surprise to many. The long-serving military officer was the first commander of the Saudi air defense and was chosen as commander of the joint Arab forces during the Gulf War. In 1991, he retired from the military but ten years later he was brought back into the military as assistant defense minister for military affairs. He has been previously seen as a contender for the Saudi throne.