Manama: As Saudi Arabia announced the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud sacked Ahmad Asiri, the deputy head of the kingdom’s intelligence services, Saud Al Qahtani, the consultant at the Royal Court, and three senior officers.
King Salman also ordered the formation of a ministerial commission, headed by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman to oversee the restructuring and revamping of the Saudi Intelligence Presidency.
More decisions could be announced later as the investigation of 18 suspects in connection with the case is progressing.
Asiri, 66, had received military training in some of the world’s most prestigious academies, including Sandhurst in the United Kingdom, West Point in the United States, and Saint-Cyr in France.
He rose to prominence through an outstanding career in military and security positions.
In 2014, he was appointed as consultant at the office of the defence minister and in 2015, he was appointed the official spokesman for the Arab Coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen.
In 2017, he was appointed as the Vice-President of the Saudi Intelligence Presidency, a post he held until King Salman ordered he be relieved.
Asiri speaks Arabic, English and French, the three languages he used with ease whenever he addressed journalists during his conferences as the spokesman for the Arab Coalition.
Saud Al Qahtani
Al Qahtani, 40, has been a highly visible media figure thanks to his remarkable activity on social media, particularly Twitter.
He holds a degree in law from King Saud University and a Master’s degree in criminal justice from Nayef Arab University.
In 2003, he became a law consultant at the Crown Prince’s Court. In 2004, he was made in charge of the media department.
In 2005, he became the deputy director general of the media monitoring centre at the Royal Court.
He was later promoted director general of the media monitoring and analysis at the Royal Court before he was appointed consultant at the court.
Al Qahtani was often direct in his Twitter postings, particularly vis-a-vis Qatar and Iran, staunchly attacking their stances.
His first tweet after he was relieved from the position early on Saturday was to thank King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad for the great opportunity and special honour to serve Saudi Arabia throughout the years.
He pledged to remain “a loyal servant in the service of his country forever” and promised that Saudi Arabia’s status would always be high.