World News

Saudi king shakes up government in wake of Khashoggi killing

Posted December 27, 2018 10:03 a.m. EST

— Saudi Arabia's King Salman ordered a government reshuffle on Thursday, appointing a new foreign minister and refreshing other top posts, after the global fallout over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir was demoted to minister of state for foreign affairs, and replaced by a veteran former finance minister, Ibrahim Al-Assaf, according to a royal decree.

King Salman also named Prince Abdullah bin Bandar, son of Prince Bandar Al Saud, who once served as Saudi ambassador to Washington, the new head of the National Guard and announced the hiring of several security intelligence officials.

Al-Jubeir has previously said that Khashoggi's killing was a "tremendous mistake." In an interview with Fox News in October, he said that the Washington Post columnist's death was the result of a rogue operation, and added that his government would punish those responsible for his "murder."

Turkish investigators, and the Saudi Public Prosecutor's Office, have said that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the Kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2 by a 15-man team of Saudi agents sent from Riyadh. The CIA concluded in November that such a mission could not have been carried out without the authorization of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, heir apparent to the Saudi throne.

Thursday's appointments and cabinet changes come as King Salman and his son, bin Salman, attempt to demonstrate that they are overhauling the Saudi state security apparatus in the wake of Khashoggi's killing.