The truth is that it came as no surprise that the Saudi monarch appointed Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz to a very important administrative and political post in the kingdom; the post of second deputy prime minister.
King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz truly has completed his project of consolidating the Saudi ruling regime, making use of the Basic Law of Governance that states that such an appointment is appropriate. To those who try to understand the politics and administration of Saudi Arabia, I would say that it is no surprise that Saudi rule has lasted over a hundred years and has over three hundred years of experience in governing.
For anybody following Saudi affairs, Prince Naif’s competency requires no explanation as the man is entrusted to the most serious and important ministry, namely the Interior Ministry, which is held responsible for security matters and maintaining stability. The most important issue with which this ministry has been entrusted is the fight against terror and the Al Qaeda organization, which is the greatest direct threat against Saudi Arabia. When details were revealed on the size of the organization, its individual members, its systems and its suspicious funding from foreign parties, people said that it could not be defeated and the proof lied in the fact that it existed in Pakistan, Iraq and Europe; but the mission [of the Saudi Interior Ministry] ended in success. In practical terms, Saudi Arabia has been the biggest target for terrorists, more so than the West; in spite of this, the terrorists were defeated, which came as surprise because of timing, quantity, quality, and continuity. Since its emergence, Al Qaeda has declared that Saudi Arabia is its primary target whereas New York, London, Casablanca and Sanaa were nothing more than a way to put others under pressure and practice runs.
The Minister of Interior and his ministry that is responsible for hunting hundreds of terrorists were both successful in ending the threat of Al Qaeda in terms of ideology and organisation. It has also been successful in eliminating the roots of the organisation and the networks linked to it, as well as its financiers, supporters and sympathisers.
More challenging to Saudi Arabia is the daily preservation of security in a country that is located in a troubled region and amongst dangerous regional and international political disputes that do not abstain from utilising terrorism, drug smuggling and disorder as political tools.
Moreover, we know Prince Naif not only as a security official but also as a politician. We also got to know him through the media sector, as he understood the needs of the media representatives and the importance of communicating with them and convincing them rather than dictating to them. Although he is the person responsible for security, he was very progressive in dealing with the freedom of the media.
Approximately ten years ago, I met Prince Naif and I tried to convince him of our need, in society and the media, for the Internet. Paradoxically, he was the one that rushed to approve the request whereas three certain government-affiliated institutions rejected it. I explained to Prince Naif that the Internet will not be free from security issues and breaches of morality. He answered that he will not get in the way of something that could benefit society because of a limited number of cases of misconduct.
As for those who are keeping an eye on the Saudi political structure, they will find that the appointment of Prince Naif is emphasis of continuity and the power of the regime.