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New Saudi King removes ‘controversial’ Tuwaijri, head of Royal Court

Before the funeral of the late King Abdullah was completed, the new Saudi King Salman bin-Abdulaziz on Thursday appointed his half-brother Prince Muqrin bin-Abdulaziz as crown prince and removed the Head of the Royal Court Khaled al-Tuwaijri.

Al-Tuwaijri had been the head of the Royal Court, a powerful position inside the Royal Family, under the late King Abdullah. Observers believed his removal was in effect a dismissal of the plan laid down by the late King and his son Miteb, who was expected to be the deputy crown prince, with Al-Tuwaijri.

Several media sources reported the disappearance of the “controversial” Khalid al-Tuwaijri as soon as King Abdullah died.

Al-Tuwaijri was born in 1960 and studied law in Saudi Arabia; he obtained a masters degree in political sciences in the United States and another in Islamic criminal law in Saudi Arabia. He is an author and poet.

He started working in the civil service 25 years ago and held several positions until he became head of the Royal Court under the late King Abdullah. He was described the black box of King Abdullah as he was a special aide and secretary of the King. He was also appointed by the King as the secretary general of the committee that appoints the monarchy’s positions.

Some observers including Arabi 21 were reportedly not surprised by Al-Tuwaijri’s fall from grace because of the differences which emerged recently between him and senior members of the Royal Family, who described him as the “head of corruption” and the one seeking to “destroy the country and run the Royal Family.”

He was also described as  the “octopus” and the prime leader of the “westernisation project” and the “patron of the secularists” in Saudi Arabia. He was accused of trying to “shield” the king and prevent most of the Royal Family members from meeting him.

Al-Tuwaijri was also being accused of coordinating campaigns with Saudi newspapers against the religious scholars who fought his secularisation efforts.

Arabi 21 reported that Al-Tuwaijri’s removal means the removal of a certain plan laid down by the late King Abdullah and his close allies. However, it is still not certain whether this marks the end of an era despite the “smooth succession” of positions which seem contrary to previous regional and international expectations.

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