Saudi princes and ministers have been arrested, while two key ministers were replaced. The move further consolidates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s power.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday arrested 11 princes and dozens of former and current ministers, in a major purge following the establishment of an anti-corruption commission.

Separately, Saudi King Salman appointed two new ministers to key security and economic posts, in a move that further cements Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s power as he prepares to take over the throne.

Read more: Saudi Arabia’s next-in-line: a hawk and economic reformer

Prince Miteb bin Abdullah was replaced by Khaled bin Ayyaf as head of the National Guard, an elite internal security force.

Prince Miteb is the son of late King Abdullah and the last remaining member of that branch of the royal family to hold a top position of power. He was considered a possible contender for the throne before the rapid rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of 81-year-old King Salman.

The 32-year old crown prince will also head the anti-corruption commission, which the government said has the power to issue arrest warrants, impose travel restrictions and freeze bank accounts.

The arrested suspects were not named, but include four current ministers.

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Consolidating power

Prince Mohammed, known by the initials MBS, is already considered the county’s de facto ruler.

He is also the minister of defense, leads the kingdom’s economic reforms to lessen dependence on oil and drives a more aggressive foreign policy. He has presented himself as a more liberal figure in the conservative kingdom, implementing a number of social reforms.

The shake up consolidates Prince Mohammed’s control over state institutions and security after he was appointed crown prince in June, sidestepping his older cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef from the line of succession and removing him as interior minister.

The kingdom’s security apparatus is now largely under his control, eliminating any threat of internal dissent.

Minister of Economy and Planning Adel Fakeih was also replaced by his deputy, Mohammad al-Tuwaijri. The head of the navy was also replaced.

cw/bw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Courtesy: Fox News

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