Saudi Arabia replaced its foreign minister and shuffled other key government posts Thursday as its leaders continue to grapple with the backlash to the killing by Saudi agents of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Prince Abdullah bin Bandar was named head of the National Guard. Bin Salman will retain his roles in the government, including deputy prime minister and defense minister.
Khashoggi's murder by government agents triggered a wave of global outrage, and fueled speculation that the king may curtail his son's powers.
The reshuffle of the government was expected as the Cabinet must be replaced and reappointed by royal order every four years, according to a statement from the government communications office.
Turki al-Sheikh, a confidant of the crown prince, was removed as head of the Sports Authority and replaced by Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal. The reshuffle comes as Saudi Arabia seeks to fix its tarnished image after Khashoggi's murder, widely seen as its worst diplomatic crisis since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, in which most of the hijackers were identified as Saudi nationals. The kingdom denies the crown prince had any involvement.
But leading lawmakers, including Republican allies of the president like Sen. The Saudis are also coming under increasing pressure to end their military campaign in Yemen against rebels backed by Iran.
Earlier this month, the Senate passed a resolution saying it believes the crown prince is responsible for Khashoggi's murder. President Vladimir Putin's chief Middle East envoy on Tuesday warned the USA against trying to influence the royal succession.
Musaed al-Aiban, a long-time government minister who most recently headed a national cybersecurity authority, was named national security adviser.
He also ordered a shakeup of the kingdom's supreme council that oversees matters related to security.
Amid a global fallout, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir was demoted to minister of state for foreign affairs and named a new minister, Ibrahim Al-Assaf, who previously served in the finance ministry, CNN reported citing a royal decree. But the appointment as foreign minister of Assaf, who holds a seat on the boards of state oil giant Aramco and the vast Public Investment Fund, indicates an emphasis on "economic diplomacy" as the kingdom seeks to reassure foreign investors rattled by the Khashoggi crisis, analysts say. "There is an effort to balance the fast pace of reform with bolstering government procedures and institutions".
Also, he said, King Salman and Prince Mohammed "have to be able to make sure that they have qualified people at the top working for them who can deliver, and are of course loyal".