Ahmed bin Abdulaziz
Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is a member of House of Saud who served as deputy minister of interior of Saudi Arabia from 1975 to 2012 and briefly as Minister of Interior in 2012. He was detained in Saudi Arabia in March 2020 on the orders of his brother and nephew, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad, and charged with treason.
Early life and educationPrince Ahmed was born in Riyadh on 5 September 1942. He is the son of Ibn Saud and Hassa bint Ahmed Al Sudairi and the youngest of the Sudairi brothers. Prince Ahmed is supposedly the 31st son of Ibn Saud.
Ahmed bin Abdulaziz received his primary and secondary education at Princes' School and Anjal Institute in Riyadh. He completed secondary education in 1961. He studied English and some science subjects at the University of Southern California. He then graduated from the University of Redlands in 1968 with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. On 26 July 1999, Prince Ahmed was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the University of Redlands.
CareerAfter his graduation, Prince Ahmed dealt with business. He was the chairman of National Gypsum Company from 1969 to 1970. In 1971, he was appointed the undersecretary of Makkah Province. He also served as the deputy governor of Makkah Province during the reign of King Faisal. Later, King Khalid appointed him as the deputy minister of interior in 1975 which lasted until 18 June 2012 when he was named interior minister.
His main function as deputy interior minister was to deal with the different provinces of the Kingdom. Ahmed bin Abdulaziz was also operational head of special security force, which reports directly to interior minister. This force was established in 1979 after the poor performance of the SANG at the Grand Mosque Seizure in Makkah.
Prince Ahmed was given the task of introducing reforms in the Eastern Province during the early 1980s to improve the province where the kingdom's Shi’ite minority lives. In fact, this task was given him in the wake of the riots experienced in the province in 1979 to make observations about the effects of the Iranian Revolution and the Shi’ite dissention on the security of oil industry. Prince Ahmad openly declared that the Saudi government had neglected the region and had actively discriminated against its Shi’ite population. He also promised massive investments in the development of Al-Hasa's economic infrastructure, educational system, and other services. The other task of Prince Ahmed as deputy interior minister was to coordinate the contacts with ulema. He also served as the vice president of the supreme commission for industrial security and chairman of preparatory committee for national security. In addition, he was the deputy chairman of civil defense council. Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi stated that Prince Ahmed was mostly involved in administrative matters instead of security during his tenure as deputy interior minister.
Prince Ahmed was appointed interior minister on 18 June 2012 after the death of interior minister Prince Nayef. It was reported that he would not change the major security policies of Saudi Arabia since the country experienced a threat from Al Qaeda in Yemen and an unrest among its Shi'ite Muslim minority. His appointment as interior minister was also regarded at the time as a move, signalling that he was the most likely candidate to rule Saudi Arabia after King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman. However, Prince Ahmed's tenure only lasted until 5 November 2012, and he was succeeded by Mohammed bin Nayef, who had been deputy interior minister. The official reason for Prince Ahmed's removal was given as his request. However, his objection to dividing the security forces into independent units was one of the actual reasons for his dismissal.
Prince Ahmed was also the chairman of the supreme hajj committee during his term as interior minister.
Exclusion from the SuccessionNawaf E. Obaid argued in 2002 that three members of House of Saud were especially popular, although many of them were believed to be corrupt. Prince Ahmed was one of these popular members; the others were Crown Prince Abdullah and Riyadh governor Prince Salman. Prince Ahmed was also seen as one of the potential candidates to the Saudi throne at the beginning of the 2000s. However, on 5 November 2012 he was sidelined in the sense that he was left without any major job and on 1 February 2013 Prince Muqrin was appointed second deputy prime minister and on 27 March 2014 to the new position of deputy crown prince.
ArrestOn 7 March 2020 Prince Ahmed was arrested in addition to the former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Prince Nawwaf bin Nayef based on the claims of plotting to overthrow King Salman. His son, Prince Nayef bin Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, who served as the head of Land Forces Intelligence and Security Authority, was also detained on the same day.
Views and activitiesTogether with interior minister Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prince Ahmed was reported to pay massive bonuses to successful security officers, but they also had a reputation for honesty and using the massive security budget only for the mission and not to enrich themselves.
Ahmed bin Abdulaziz visited Pakistan in November 2005 for three days and examined the extent of destruction caused by the Kashmir earthquake from an airplane. He promised to provide Pakistan whatever needed for the rebuilding process after the earthquake. He encouraged all Muslim nations to provide aid to Pakistan. He also condemned terrorism and stated it was incompatible with Islam. Prince Ahmed called for a "border fence" between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The plan for the fence was initiated in 2006 and he stated repeatedly it would not become a "segregation wall".
On 29 November 2010, he attended the Crown Prince Cup, an annual horse race on behalf of Crown Prince Sultan, who was in Morocco. He said in a press conference in 2011 that for women, driving is against the law. After his appointment as interior minister, it was argued that, like Salman, he was also a supporter of King Abdullah's cautious reform initiatives.
Ahmed bin Abdulaziz is one of three members of the Allegiance Council who did not support the appointment of Mohammad bin Salman as crown prince on 21 June 2017. The others were Muhammad bin Saad Al Saud and Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. The latter represented his older brother brother, Khalid bin Abdullah, at the meeting of the council.
In 2018 Ahmed bin Abdulaziz left Saudi Arabia for London. On 4 September 2018, he was confronted by protesters shouting slogans against him and the Saud Dynasty outside his residence in London. He responded to the protesters by asking them to blame the current ruling Saudi Monarch and the current Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman instead. Following the repercussions from the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, news reports suggested that he had returned to Saudi Arabia in October 2018 to help the Royal Family control the situation and possibly help usurp some of the Crown Prince's powers.
Personal lifeAhmed bin Abdulaziz has two wives with whom he has five daughters and seven sons. His eldest son, Abdulaziz, is secretary general of Arab Ophthalmology. Another son, Nayef, holds a PhD from Cambridge University and is a colonel in the Saudi Armed Forces with responsibilities for strategic planning. He served as the head of Land Forces Intelligence and Security Authority until his arrest on 7 March 2020.
One of Prince Ahmed's daughters, Falwa bint Ahmed, is married to Salman bin Sultan, former assistant general secretary of the National Security Council and Prince Sultan's son. Another son, Prince Sultan, was appointed by Royal Decree as Saudi Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, and he is known to have a keen interest in politics and international affairs.
Prince Ahmed was honorary president of Saudi Alzheimer's Charitable Society.