Khalid bin Sultan
|Khalid bin Sultan|
|Prince Khalid during the Gulf War|
|Deputy Minister of Defense|
5 November 2011 – 20 April 2013
|Minister||Salman bin Abdulaziz|
|Preceded by||Abdul Rahman bin Abdulaziz|
|Succeeded by||Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Saud|
|Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and General Inspector for the Military Affairs|
17 January 2001 – 5 November 2011
|Minister||Sultan bin Abdulaziz|
24 September 1949 |
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
|Alma mater||Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Air War College
|Service/branch||Royal Saudi Air Force|
|Years of service||1968-1991|
Early life and education
Prince Khalid was born on 24 September 1949. He is the eldest son of the late Prince Sultan and full brother of Fahd bin Sultan, Faisal bin Sultan and late Turki bin Sultan. Their mother is Munira bint Abdulaziz bin Musaed bin Jalawi. She died in Paris in August 2011. Moneera bint Abdulaziz was sister of Alanoud, spouse of King Fahd. She was also cousin of King Khalid and Prince Muhammed.
Khalid bin Sultan is a graduate of King Saud University. He then attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and graduated in 1968. He also studied at the US Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He graduated from the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. He also holds a master's degree in political science, which he received from Auburn University in 1980.
In the first years as a soldier, despite his choice to be selected for special forces personnel, Khalid bin Sultan was given a command of an artillery platoon in Tabuk province. Later, his position advanced as he was given a task for conducting contract and purchasing of Saudi Arabia's first guided missile with People's Republic of China. For this prominent role, he was given an honorary title "Father of Saudi Arabia's Missile".
After years in the army, thinking that air defense should be given more important role in the national defense, he established the Saudi air defense force, and became its first commander. Shortly after occupation of Iraq to Kuwait in the first Persian Gulf War, he was chosen as the commander of the joint Arab forces, and shared an equal position and responsibility with general Norman Schwarzkopf of US Army. King Fahd promoted Prince Khalid to field marshal afterward. In 1991, he retired from the military to focus on business. In January 2001, he was brought back into the military as assistant defense minister for military affairs.
In early 2011, he announced that “more than 70 percent of military equipment can be produced locally" and the future creation of a government branch for domestic military growth. He was regarded as a likely candidate to replace his deceased father as defense minister in 2011. However, he was appointed deputy defense minister in November 2011. His term lasted until 20 April 2013 when he was replaced by Fahd bin Abdullah, another member of the royal family. Traditionally, the decision follows exemption "based on his request," but the royal order issued exempting Khalid bin Sultan from office, did not include this phrase.
2009 Yemen bombing
In November 2009, Khalid bin Sultan led a Saudi military intervention in Yemen. The campaign had various tactical mistakes[according to whom?] and Khalid was heavily criticized. The Saudis had 130 casualties and Yemen lost over 1000.
In December 2009, Khalid gave a 48-hour ultimatum for Houthi withdrawal from Al Jabri. Soon, he declared that the campaign had ended after the Houthi promised through Al-Quds Al-Arabi they would withdraw from the border in exchange for a cease fire. The Houthi also stated that the Yemen government had used Saudi territory to bomb targets.
In February 2010, Ambassador Smith met with Khalid. Smith brought attention to Saudi air strikes on Yemeni hospitals. Khalid admitted that the event occurred because Yemen had designated the area as a Houthi military base. He also stated that this event occurred because of inaccurate military equipment and the U.S. refusal to provide Predators. He went on to state that Saudi strategy was to force the Houthis to reconcile with the Yemeni government by a strong show of military force. He complained that it was difficult to avoid civilian casualties. The Saudi-Yemeni joint committee granted clearances to Khalid bin Sultan for attacks to be conducted. He complained that Yemeni intelligence was unreliable and politically motivated. Yemen data claimed terrorist positions in a place when in actuality the place was the office of General Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar, a political adversary to President Saleh.
King Abdullah was not pleased by Khalid's leadership when Saudi troops could not quickly push back al Houthis Yemeni rebels, who had seized Saudi territory in late 2009. King Abdullah specifically expressed his concerns over the long duration of the conflict, large number of casualties, and Saudi incompetence. Therefore, this situation led to decrease in his potential succession of his father as defense minister. Joseph A. Kéchichian, a Middle East analyst, argued after Khalid's removal from office on 20 April 2013 that there are three potential reasons for his dismissal, one of which is about his activity in 2009 mentioned above. The others were related to his involvement in procurement of arms in 2010 and 2013.
At the end of the 1990s, Prince Khalid had business contacts with French electronics group Thomson-CSF. In September 2000, Khalid founded The Living Oceans Foundation in the USA. He was named as the Perseus winner of 2012. The award is given to the yacht owners who make efforts and contributions toward marine wildlife conservation.
Khalid is the chairman for the committee of the Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz International Prize for Water. He is chair of board of trustees of Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Foundation. He is also a member of the board of trustees of the Arab Thought Foundation that is a Saudi think-tank group, attempting to improve the relations between Arab nations and the Western nations.
In the late 1990s, Khalid expressed an opinion concerning the Turkish-Arab relations. According to him, Arabs should ask themselves what brought about this crisis. After criticizing Arab politics for an inability to "cope with rapid changes on the ground," he states how they "assumed Turkey would be on their side forever, even if it gained no benefit thereby." The Arab side, on the other hand, "did not comprehend the complexities of the internal situation in Turkey, or that country's regional and international considerations. This created a climate that could push Turkey ever further into the camp of unfriendly countries." Finally, he proposed improving Turkish-Arab ties "[s]olely by granting supreme importance to mutual economic interests. It is vital to find a form of economic integration between the Arabs and Turks, even if it is a gradual process." And he proposes Turkish-Arab cultural collaboration, calling on Arabs and Turks to "start purging history books and textbooks of mutual insults." He also encouraged military cooperation between Turkey, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.
In February 2013, Khalid made a statement about Ethiopia's right to use the Nile waters, which was officially denounced by the Saudi government. His remarks were as follows: "The Ethiopian Renaissance dam….is for political plotting rather than for economic gain and constitutes a threat to Egyptian and Sudanese national security."
Khalid firstly married to King Fahd's daughter, Lulua. They divorced in 1978. They have three children. Their first child, Reema died when she was four months old. His other children from his first marriage are Faisal (born 1973) and Sara (born 1976). Later, he married to another full uncle's daughter, Abeer bint Turki bin Abdulaziz. They have five children: Hala, Fahd, Salman, Mishail and Abdullah.
He published a memoir about his life, entitled Desert Warrior, that revealed many secrets about the first Gulf War—such as the fact that Israel alerted its nuclear-armed missile forces after Iraq started firing Scuds at Tel Aviv both to warn the Iraqis not to use chemical warheads and to press Washington to do more to hunt Scuds in western Iraq.
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