King Abdullah issued a royal decree appointing Prince Salman bin Sultan deputy minister of defense, the official Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday. Prince Salman, son of the late Crown Prince, replaces Prince Fahad bin Abdullah bin Mohammed who was appointed in this position last April.
THe royal decree said Prince Salman will be relieved from his previous position as Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence and Security Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC), an office that he has held for the past two years.
Born in February 2, 1976 in the eastern city of Dhahran, Salman bin Sultan is considered young by Saudi standard. He received his education in the kingdom and has a bachelor degree in military sciences from King Abdulaziz Military College. After graduation he started his career as a lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force. In 1999 he was transferred to the Saudi Military Mission in Washington DC where he remained until 2003 when his military service was concluded and he was appointed as a diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He worked at the Foreign Ministry until he joined the NSC, where he worked with his older half-brother Prince Bandar bin Sultan, former Saudi Ambassador in the US and current Chief of Intelligence.
Prince Salman is said to be playing an important role in Saudi handling for the crisis in Syria. Reuters reported last May that he was “running relations with the Syrian rebels,” as Saudi Arabia took over from Qatar as the main outside backer of the rebels.