UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz

On Ramadan 26, 1438, June 21, 2017, Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz pledged allegiance to Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz on the occasion of his selection as the Crown Prince at Al-Safa Palace in Makkah, praying to Allah Almighty for his all success.

A royal decree of 30 April 2015 removed Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz bin Saud as next in line to the throne and replaced him with Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 55, who headed a crackdown on al-Qaeda in the country a decade earlier. "We have decided to respond to his highness and what he had expressed about his desire to be relieved from the position of crown prince," said a statement from the royal court, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The decree named "Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as crown prince" as well as deputy prime minister and said he would continue in his position of interior minister and head of the political and security council, a coordinating body.

Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz (MBN) was born in Jeddah on August 30, 1959 corresponding to Safar 25,1379AH, a son of the late Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who had served as deputy prime minister and interior minister. He studied elementary, intermediate and secondary levels of education at Al-Asemah Institute in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia’s new deputy crown prince didn’t get a degree from Lewis & Clark College, the college said, contradicting a statement by the Saudi Embassy. The Saudi Embassy said this month that Prince Mohammed bin Nayef graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 1981. The college said in a statement that the prince completed coursework in the late 1970s but didn’t get a degree. The prince is “remembered fondly by our alumni, faculty, and staff,” the college said, adding it’s proud Nayef studied there. The Saudi embassy said the error resulted from a mistranslation.

He conducted several advanced military courses the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and abroad related to security matters and combating of terrorism. He had worked in the private sector until the year 1419AH. A Royal Order was issued on May 13, 1999 appointing him as Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs at an excellent rank.

On October 16, 1999, the then Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Commander of the National Guard approved his accession to the membership of the Supreme Information Council. His services were extended for a period of four years effective from Muharram 27, 1424AH in accordance with a Royal Order on Dhu Al-Hijjah 27, 1423AH.

On Jamadah I, 4, 1425 AH, a Royal Order was issued appointing him as Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs at a rank of minister. In September 2008, a royal order was issued for the extension of his services.

The Ministry of Interior is one of the largest Saudi government agencies -- paramilitary forces alone number about 130,000 men -- and includes the internal security intelligence service (the Mubahith), all local and national police, the Special Security Forces, the Special Emergency Forces, Customs and Immigration, the Coast Guard, and the Border Guard.

On July 22, 2004, he was appointed to the rank of minister where he oversaw the implementation of the kingdom’s successful counter-terrorism campaign. Nayif and his officers enjoyed widespread support among most Saudis for having restored order and stability following the 2003-2006 terrorist insurgency. The professionalization and competence of today's Ministry of Interior, and initiatives such as its terrorist rehabilitation program, have succeeded in restoring public trust and support for the government, and this provided Nayif with a strong political base. On August 27, 2009, he was subjected to an assassination attempt carried out by a wanted man, who had claimed that he wanted to surrender himself. Before this incident, he was subjected to several assassination attempts, including an attempt in his office at the Ministry of Interior in Riyadh, and another attempt by a terrorist group during his visit to Yemen.

Prince Mohammed bin Naif participated in a joint meeting between the then Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) delegation headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces on 2/7/2010.

He paid dozens of visits to many countries on security missions and led successful negotiations with international officials on sensitive security issues in the fields of terrorism and narcotics. He participated in a historic visit of the Saudi delegation to Iran headed by late Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz on April 17, 2001AD, during which Saudi-Iranian security agreement was signed for combating the organized crime, international terrorism, arms smuggling and money laundering.

He supported the establishment of the first center of its kind in the world to advise and monitor extremists and individuals returning from conflict zones, and this Saudi experience has been followed up in more than 20 countries. Prince Mohammed bin Naif led the biggest process for the development of the structures and functions of security sectors at the Interior Ministry according to the latest technical and scientific studies.

MOI is the largest and most domestically influential Saudi ministry. While nominally third in the MOI leadership hierarchy, by 2009 HRH Prince Mohammed bin Naif (MbN), the son of Min Int Prince Naif, was the de facto MOI chief. MbN was held in high regard by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and well-respected by the Saudi populace for his effective work in beating down Al Qaeda in the Kingdom and running an effective deradicalization program which has gained wide local and tribal support. MbN repeatedly stated the importance to the global economy of preventing terrorists from attacking Saudi oil facilities, asserting the Saudi goal is to prevent attacks from ever being carried out, and looking to the US to be an active partner in achieving this goal.

The elder Nayif's public image benefited from the accomplishments and good reputation of his son, Assistant Minister of the Interior Mohammed bin Nayif (MbN), who has had day-to-day oversight of Saudi counter terrorism efforts. MbN is more rounded, more intellectual, more educated (in the US, it was said), and would probably make a better king than his father. On the other hand, European media reported that one of Nayif's wives, Maha bint Mohammed bin Ahmed Al-Sudairi was sued in Paris for USD 24.5 million in unpaid shopping bills, not the first time she had created such embarrassment for her husband. Not surprisingly, Saudi media said nothing about the matter.

"The reshuffle is not good news for human rights activists or political reformists. Mohammed bin Nayef was already extremely powerful before becoming first crown prince, and he made his name as the man who would defeat terrorism and al-Qaeda. He is known for taking a hard line, and that will likely continue, particularly with the kingdom now involved in a major war in Yemen," said Toby Matthiesen, author of The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism.

Karen Elliott House, a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, wrote in 2016 that "Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, who is also Minister of Interior and the individual in charge of keeping his country safe from domestic terrorism, is largely invisible these days.... Trapped between the king he must serve and the cousin who may well dislodge him, Mohammed bin Nayef has quietly continued to earn plaudits from his fellow countrymen for largely keeping the Kingdom safe from Islamic State terrorists and their young Saudi collaborators. He is seen as a quiet doer, not a talker.... As Minister of Interior, this English-speaking prince has worked very closely with the United States on counter terrorism and is widely admired by U.S. officials. This, however, could be a negative for the prince given the palpable disappointment in the royal family over U.S. Mideast policy in recent years."

Were King Slaman to die without having promoted his son to crown prince, many Saudis believe that as king, Mohammed bin Nayef would waste little time before removing his cousin Mohammad bin Salman from power. Mohammed bin Salman already has sons who could succeed him. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, unusual for a Saudi, has only daughters. That fact eases the minds of other branches of the royal family would still have an opportunity to be king.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 22-06-2017 19:01:09 ZULU