Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat –When one thinks of the security of Saudi Arabia, one immediately thinks of Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and vice versa. This is because newly appointed Crown Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz is synonymous with the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As the long-time Saudi Interior Minister, Crown Prince Naif has played a major role in the security and stability being witnessed by Saudi Arabia today, despite the huge challenges he has faced over the years.
Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was appointed Crown Prince yesterday; succeeding Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz who tragically passed away last week after a long illness.
Born in Taif in 1934, Crown Prince Naif has been involved in Saudi Arabian political life for more than 59 years, holding a number of important political posts throughout his career, most recently that of Crown Prince and Saudi Deputy Prime Minister. He first entered political life as Governor of Riyadh in 1953. He was appointed Deputy Interior Minister in 1970, before being appointed Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia in 1975. It is in this latter role that Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz is most well-known.
Crown Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz has been hugely successful in combatting terrorism in Saudi Arabia, and Al Qaeda in particular, forcing the terrorist organization to practically flee the country for neighboring Yemen and elsewhere. The terrorist attacks that occurred in Saudi Arabia in 2003, most prominently the Riyadh Compound Bombings, represent perhaps the sternest test faced by Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz. However his calm and collected handling of this crisis, and the subsequent successes he achieved in combatting Al Qaeda, is something that everybody can clearly recall.
Crown Prince Naif’s successful tactics and methods of combatting terrorism in the Kingdom are today held up as an example by the international community. He targeted terrorism financing in particular, dismantling charities that used to collect donations for Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist network, whilst also attempting to rehabilitate Saudi caught in the clutches of religious extremism. The “Munasaha” rehabilitation program attempts to rehabilitate the extremist ideology and beliefs of those found guilty of terrorism-related offenses. This program has been subject to widespread international praise. Prince Naif’s tactics in the “war on terror” have led political leaders and security experts to call on intelligence and security agencies around the world to benefit from the Saudi counter-terrorism experience
However combatting terrorism and Al Qaeda were not the only issue that the newly appointed Saudi crown prince contended with, for Saudi Arabia also faced numerous regional challenges during his tenure as Interior Minister, including the various Gulf wars, and the Yemeni Huthi rebels attack on Saudi Arabia. Despite all this, Prince Naif has been successful in protecting and maintaining the security and stability of Saudi Arabia, and surmounting numerous crises.
For more than 36 years, Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz has protected the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s national security, and stood against all those who have attempted to destabilize the Kingdom.
Crown Prince Naif is also known for his philanthropic and charitable work, and he played a prominent role in supervising relief operations for the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples, particularly following the recent Israeli wars conducted against southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Indeed Prince Naif has played an important role in leading the Kingdom’s efforts and programs to provide aid and relief to people affected by war or natural disaster across the globe.
Crown Prince Naif’s commitment to education is also well-known, and he has pursued a policy of providing special training and education programs to Saudi Interior Ministry staff. He also founded the Naif Arab University of Security Sciences [NAUSS], which specializes in security related studies.
Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz is known as a straight-talking and wise government official, and he has a particularly strong relationship with the media. He is one of the longest serving Arab Interior Ministers, and has strong diplomatic relations with Arab and international officials and world leaders. He is currently Honorary President of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers.
In addition to his duties as Interior Minister, Prince Naif holds a number of other important posts in Saudi Arabia, including; Chairman of the Executive Council of Civil Defense, Chairman of the Executive Commission for Industrial Security, and Chairman of the Executive Hajj Committee, amongst others.