Muhammad bin Nayef

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Muhammad bin Nayef
Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz 2013-01-16 (2).jpg
Minister of Interior
In office 5 November 2012 – present
Predecessor Ahmed bin Abdulaziz
Monarch King Abdullah
Full name
Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Saud
House House of Saud
Father Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Mother Al Jawhara bint Abdulaziz bin Musaed bin Jiluwi Al Saud
Born 1959 (age 54–55)
Jeddah
Religion Islam

Mohammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Arabic: محمد بن نايف بن عبد العزيز آل سعود‎) (born 1959) is the Minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia, in office since 2012, and a member of the House of Saud.[1] He is one of the potential contenders to the Saudi throne.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Prince Muhammad was born in Jeddah.[3][4] However, there are different reports of Prince Muhammed's birth date. Stig Stensile gives his birth year as 1957,[5] while the official website of the Saudi embassy at Washington, D.C. and Joseph A. Kéchichian report his birth date as 1959 and 30 August 1959, respectively.[6][7] He is the second eldest son and one of ten children of the late Prince Nayef.[5][8] Prince Saud is his older brother.[9] Their mother is Al Jawhara bint Abdulaziz bin Musaed Al Jiluwi[8][10] who is a member of the Al Jiluwi branch of the House of Saud.[11]

Muhammad bin Nayef was educated in the United States[12] and received a bachelor of arts degree in political science in 1981.[13] He attended the FBI's security courses from 1985 to 1988, and was trained at Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism units from 1992 to 1994.[5]

Career[edit]

Muhammad bin Nayef was appointed assistant interior minister for security affairs in 1999. He had been a businessman before this appointment.[13] He was widely credited for the success of the Ministry’s counter-terrorism program.[14] He was also regarded as the architect of the government’s counter-insurgency program.[15] He also served as the director of civil defense during his term as assistant minister.[16] He was considered to be an effective assistant interior minister.[17]

In 2004, he was appointed to the rank of minister, becoming number two at the ministry of interior.[5] In October 2010, he warned the U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser of the 2010 cargo plane bomb plot.[18][19] After the appointment of Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as interior minister upon the death of Prince Nayef in July 2012, Prince Muhammad became deputy interior minister.[1][20]

On 5 November 2012, King Abdullah issued a royal decree and dismissed Prince Ahmed, minister of interior, from his office and appointed Prince Muhammad as minister.[1] He became the tenth interior minister of Saudi Arabia.[3] Prince Muhammad took the oath of office in front of King Abdullah on 6 November 2012.[21] His appointment was not regarded very positively by human rights activists due to Prince Mohammed's professional experience as a tough enforcer who imprisoned thousands of suspected troublemakers in Saudi Arabia.[22] However, he is regarded as less corrupt and less likely to personally abuse his power in comparison to other senior princes of his generation.[22]

Prince Muhammad met with David Cameron, British Premier, in January 2013.[23] Then he met with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., on 14 January 2013.[24] They discussed issues of security and regional developments.[24] In February 2014, Prince Mohammad was made responsible for Syria, replacing Bandar bin Sultan, then intelligence chief of Saudi Arabia.[25] Muhammad has been assisted in this effort by Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah, the minister of the Saudi Arabian National Guard.[26]

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki reportedly accused Saudi Arabia of playing a negative role in Syria, Iraq and other countries, saying "They are attacking Iraq, through Syria and in a direct way, and they announced war on Iraq, as they announced it on Syria, and unfortunately it is on a sectarian and political basis." [27]

Other positions[edit]

In November 2009, King Abdullah appointed Muhammad as a member of the influential Supreme Economic Council of Saudi Arabia.[4][28] This move was regarded as approval of the increase in then-Crown Prince Nayef's power by King Abdullah.[29] On the other hand, this appointment enables Prince Muhammed to extend his influence over the government's economy policy.[30]

Views[edit]

Muhammed bin Nayef, unlike most of the royal family, actively talks to the media.[31] Concerning the struggle against terrorism, he adopts a policy of the iron fist like his father, late Prince Nayef.[30] He, and other decision-making elites, believe terrorism must be treated as a form of crime and fought with ruthless policing methods.[32] Walid Jumblatt described Muhammed bin Nayef as the Saudi equivalent of General Ashraf Rifi, former director-general of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces.[33]

Muhammed bin Nayef was commended by Western intelligence agencies for Saudi Arabia's counterterrorism programs.[31] He called for a "security channel" with the United States to facilitate information exchange. He firmly supported U.S. President Barack Obama in his opposition to the release of detainee interrogation photographs. He thought that Yemen was a "dangerous failed state" and becoming a serious threat to Saudi Arabia. He further believed that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was losing control. He suggested a strategy of directly working with Yemeni tribes, condemning terrorism.[34]

He thought that establishing cooperation with Pakistan in regard to Afghanistan required cooperating with Pakistan. He praised General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as a "good man". He voiced his concerns concerning Iran’s nuclear program. He defers foreign policy issues to the King.[35] After his appointment as interior minister, U.S. diplomats argued that he is "the most pro-American minister in the Saudi Cabinet".[36]

Influence[edit]

The Economist describes Prince Muhammad as energetic and low-key, and states that he is one of the candidates for the throne when the line of succession passes to the grandsons of King Abdulaziz.[37] He was also considered to be one of the possible contenders after his father's death in June 2012.[38][39] In 2011, Michael Hayden reported that Prince Mohammad was the world's fifth most powerful defenders.[40]

Assassination attempts[edit]

Muhammed bin Nayef escaped four assassination attempts unhurt.[41] The third attempt was on 27 August 2009.[41] Muhammed bin Nayef was slightly injured by Abdullah Hassan Al Aseery (Al Asiri), a suicide bomber linked to Al Qaida. Al Aseery spoke to Muhammad bin Nayef a few days prior to the bombing and expressed a desire to turn himself in as part of the country's terrorist rehabilitation program. This was an apparent ploy to get admitted to the Prince's palace. Al Aseery is believed to have traveled to Jeddah from Yemen's province, Marib. During Ramadan, Al Aseery waited in line at the Prince's Jeddah home as a "well-wisher". He exploded a suicide bomb, killing himself, but only slightly injuring Muhammed bin Nayef, who was protected from the full force of the blast by Al Aseery's body.[42][43] Muhammad bin Nayef appeared on state television with a bandage around two of his fingers on his left hand. He stated, "I did not want him to be searched, but he surprised me by blowing himself up. However, this will only increase my determination to fight terrorism in the kingdom".[44] In the attack, an explosive device hidden inside the body was used. These are commonly known as a surgically implanted improvised explosive device, or as a 'Body Cavity Bomb' (BCB).[45]

This was the first assassination attempt against a royal family member since 2003, when Saudi Arabia faced a sharp uptick in Al Qaeda-linked attacks.[46][47] The last assassination attempt against Prince Muhammed was in August 2010.[41]

Personal life[edit]

Muhammed bin Nayef is the son-in-law of late Sultan bin Abdulaziz[37] and he has two daughters: Sara and Lulu.[13][48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Saudi Arabia's king appoints new interior minister". BBC. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "10 Saudi Royals Who Could Become the Next Crown Prince". Riyadh Bureau. 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Profile: Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif". Asharq Alawsat. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Al Qahtani, Badr (November–December 2012). "Prince Mohammed Bin Naif". The Majalla 1577: 48. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d Stig Stenslie (21 August 2012). Regime Stability in Saudi Arabia: The Challenge of Succession. Routledge. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-136-51157-8. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Kéchichian, Joseph A. (6 November 2012). "New Saudi interior minister indispensable". Gulf News. Retrieved 7 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Biographies of ministers". Saudi Embessy. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Murphy, Caryle (5 June 2008). "The heir apparent". Global Post. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "Saudi king names new governor for restive oil region". Reuters (Jeddah). 14 January 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Family Tree of Nayif bin Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud". Datarabia. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Teitelbaum, Joshua (1 November 2011). "Saudi succession and stability". BESA Center. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Prince Muhammad escapes assassination attempt". SUSRIS. Arab News. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c Murphy, Caryle (10 September 2010). "In Saudi Arabia. A softer approach to fighting terror". Global Post. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "Saudi Succession Developments". Foreign Reports Inc. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Teitelbaum, Joshua (8 December 2010). "King Abdullah’s Illness and the Saudi Succession". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "CDO Grants Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Medal of Commander". Gulf in the Media (Riyadh). Saudi Press Agency. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  17. ^ Davidson, Christopher M. (21 February 2011). "Lords of the Realm". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  18. ^ Mazzetti, Mark; Worth, Robert F. (30 October 2010). "U.S. Sees Complexity of Bombs as Link to Al Qaeda". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ Sharp, Jeremy M. (3 March 2011). "Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations". Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  20. ^ "Changes in Saudi Arabia and Syria". Middle East In Focus. Commentary. 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  21. ^ "Prince Muhammad takes oath of office". MENAFN. Arab News. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  22. ^ a b "The younger generation, at last?". The Economist. 10 November 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  23. ^ Henderson, Simon (14 January 2013). "Leadership Change in Oil-Rich Saudi Province". The Washington Institute. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  24. ^ a b "Obama's Meeting with Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Nayef" (Press Release). Washington DC: US Office of the Press Secretary. 14 January 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  25. ^ Thomas W. Lippman (16 April 2014). "Saudi Intel Chief Prince Bandar Is Out, But Is He Really Out?". Middle East Institute. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  26. ^ Henderson, Simon (21 February 2014). "Saudi Arabia's Domestic and Foreign Intelligence Challenges". Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  27. ^ "Saudi Arabia and Qatar in 'war on Iraq': Maliki". 9 March 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  28. ^ "Royal Decree to add Prince Saud Al Faisal, Prince Mohammed bin Naif". Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Supreme Economic Council. 16 November 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  29. ^ Clasmann, Anne-Beatrice (20 November 2009). "Discreetly, Saudis speculate about the throne succession". M&C News. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  30. ^ a b "The Al Saud succession challenge". AMEinfo. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  31. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Al Qaida fighter". MSNBC. 11 July 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  32. ^ Taheri, Amir (2004). "Saudi Arabia: Between Terror and Reform". American Foreign Policy Interests: 457–465. doi:10.1080/10803920490905523. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  33. ^ "Jumbulatt recounts Suadi trip, Money problems, Syrian threats". Al Akhbar. 11 July 2006. 
  34. ^ "Special Advisor Holbrooke's' meeting with Saudis". Wikileaks. 17 May 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  35. ^ "Saudi Arabia: General Jones". Wikileaks. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  36. ^ "Obama meets pro-U.S. young Turk in aging Saudi cabinet". World Tribune (Washington). 15 January 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  37. ^ a b "Time, surely, for a much younger one". The Economist. 29 October 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  38. ^ Abdullah Al Shihri; Brian Murphy (17 June 2012). "Death of Saudi prince moves younger generation toward crown". Times Colonist. AP. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  39. ^ Lippman, Thomas W. (16 June 2012). "Saudi Arabia Moves Closer to A New Generation of Leaders". Al Monitor. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  40. ^ "Michael Hayden: The World's 7 Most Powerful Defenders And Offenders". Forbes. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  41. ^ a b c Al Oraifij, Abdullah (16 August 2010). "Fourth assassination attempt against Prince foiled". Saudi Gazette (Riyadh). Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  42. ^ Slackman, Michael (28 August 2009), "Would-Be Killer Linked to Al Qaeda, Saudis Say", The New York Times, retrieved 13 May 2010 
  43. ^ "Saudi prince spoke to bomber on phone before attack". Reuters. 2 September 2009. Archived from the original on 2 September 2009. "On the recording broadcast by Saudi-owned Al Arabiya, the two men are heard exchanging pleasantries and congratulating each other for the holy month of Ramadan, which was then being observed by Muslims around the world, indicating that the conversation took place in recent weeks. 'I need to meet you to tell you the whole story', the man told the prince. 'If you come I will sit with you and both of us can give whatever he has to his companion', the prince replied" 
  44. ^ "Saudi prince wounded by suicide bomber vows to fight Al-Qaida". Haaretz. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  45. ^ Bunker, R.J. Flaherty, C. (2013). Body Cavity Bombers: The New Martyrs. A Terrorism Research Center Book. iUniverse, Inc. Bloomington, 2013.
  46. ^ "King commended the efforts of the Prince in the service of country and religion". Al Arabiya (in Arabic). 28 August 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  47. ^ "Al Qaeda claims Saudi prince bomb". BBC. 30 August 2009. Retrieved 3 November 2012. 
  48. ^ "Family Tree of Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud". Datarabia. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 

Media related to Muhammad bin Nayef at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Minister of the Interior
2012 – present
Succeeded by
incumbent