US embassy cable - 85RIYADH4906

THE ROLE OF SAUDI PRINCES IN UNIFORM

Identifier: 85RIYADH4906
Wikileaks: View 85RIYADH4906 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Riyadh
Created: 1985-05-27 08:59:00
Classification: SECRET//NOFORN
Tags: KPRP MCAP MASS SA
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 270859Z MAY 85
FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4001
INFO SECDEF WASHDC
AMCONSUL DHAHRAN
AMCONSUL JEDDAH
DIA WASHDC
JCS WASHDC
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ-2/CCJ-3/CCJ-5/POLAD//
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 12 RIYADH 04906 
 
NOFORN 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: KPRP, MCAP, MASS, SA 
SUBJECT: THE ROLE OF SAUDI PRINCES IN UNIFORM 
 
1.  (S - ENTIRE TEXT.) 
 
2.  SUMMARY.  THE PRESENCE OF A NUMBER OF SAUDI 
ROYAL FAMILY MEMBERS IN THE MILITARY--WE CAN IDENTIFY 
MORE THAN 25 AND THERE ARE CLEARLY OTHERS--HAS LONG 
BEEN A SUBJECT OF INTEREST.  ALSO THE FOCUS OF 
CONSIDERABLE ATTENTION HAS BEEN THE ROYAL FAMILY'S 
WELL CALCULATED EFFORTS TO MAINTAIN CAREFUL CONTROL 
OVER THE MILITARY, TO PRECLUDE ITS BECOMING A THREAT 
TO THE REGIME.  THESE EFFORTS HAVE BEEN COMPLICATED 
IN RECENT YEARS BY THE OFTEN  CONTRADICTORY DEMANDS 
FOR AN EFFICIENT, WELL EQUIPPED  FORCE TO RESPOND 
TO REAL THREATS.  A KEY QUESTION IS WHETHER THE PRINCELY 
PRESENCE IN THE MILITARY IS PART OF THE ROYAL FAMILY 
CONTROL MECHANISM.  BUT THERE ARE ALSO OTHER IMPORTANT 
QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE ROYAL PRESENCE IN THE 
MILITARY:  IF NOT THERE AS PART OF A CONCERTED EFFORT 
TO MAINTAIN ROYAL CONTROL, WHAT ARE THE ATTRACTIONS 
OF THE MILITARY FOR PRINCES WHO APPEAR TO HAVE NO 
SHORTAGE OF CAREER CHOICES?  WHAT IMPACT DO PRINCES 
IN UNIFORM HAVE ON MILITARY EFFICIENCY AND UNIT 
MORALE GIVEN THEIR SPECIAL STATUS? 
 
THERE IS CLEAR EVIDENCE OF A GENERALLY CONCEIVED 
PLAN TO MAINTAIN PRINCELY CONTROL OF THE MILITARY, 
SPECIFICALLY IN THE PLACEMENT OF THE MOST SENIOR 
MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY IN POSITIONS OF CIVILIAN 
CONTROL OVER ALL UNIFORMED ELEMENTS--DEFENSE, 
NATIONAL GUARD AND INTERIOR, INCLUDING ITS PARA- 
MILITARY FORCES.  GOING FURTHER, THE PREPONDERANCE 
OF PRINCELY PRESENCE IN THE LAND AND AIR FORCES, THE 
TWO STRONGEST ELEMENTS OF THE MILITARY, AND THE 
EY POSITIONS HELD BY CERTAIN OF THE UNIFORMED PRINCES, 
SUGGESTS A BROADER DESIGN FOR ROYAL PRESENCE AND 
CONTROL.  BUT THERE ARE COUNTER SIGNALS, PROBABLY 
MOST IMPORTANT BEING REAL QUESTIONS AS TO HOW 
EFFECTIVE SUCH CONTROL MIGHT BE, GIVEN THE DIVERSITY 
OF INTERESTS WITHIN THE ROYAL FAMILY.  JUNIOR 
PRINCES IN MANY CASES HAVE VERY LITTLE REASON TO 
FEAR THE IMPOSITION OF DIRECT CONTROLS FROM THE KING. 
OVERALL, IT IS OUR JUDGEMENT THAT THERE IS MORE 
APPEARANCE THAN REALITY TO THE CONCEPT OF MILITARY 
PRINCES, BELOW THE VERY TOP LEVELS, BEING CAREFULLY 
PLACED WITH THE AIM OF ENHANCING FAMILY CONTROL. 
THIS JUDGEMENT IS REINFORCED BY OTHER SOLID 
ALTERNATIVE REASONS FOR PRINCES TO JOIN THE MILITARY: 
GLAMOUR AND EXCITEMENT, THE HISTORICALLY HONORABLE 
STATUS OF MILITARY SERVICE, BUSINESS SPIN-OFFS FROM 
THE LARGE MILITARY BUDGET, AND EVEN USE OF THE 
MILITARY AS A STEPPING STONE FOR BIGGER THINGS. 
WHILE IT IS DIFFICULT TO JUDGE THE DEGREE TO WHICH 
PRINCES EXERT A STABILIZING EFFECT IN THE MILITARY, 
THEIR MERE PRESENCE SHOULD BE OF SOME BENEFIT TO THE 
REGIME.  HAVING PRINCES IN THE ARMED FORCES, REGARDLESS 
OF THEIR MOTIVES FOR BEING THERE, DOES PROVIDE A CERTAIN 
DEGREE OF INFLUENCE AND OVERSIGHT. 
 
AS FOR THE IMPACT OF UNIFORMED PRINCES ON MILITARY 
MORALE AND EFFICIENCY, THIS CUTS BOTH WAYS.  CLEARLY, 
THEY DO COMMAND SPECIAL TREATMENT AND ARE LESS BOUND 
BY MILITARY DISCIPLINE, WITH RESULTING RESENTMENT. 
BUT SPECIAL TREATMENT IS NOT LIMITED TO PRINCES IN 
THE MILITARY; STRICT MILITARY DISCIPLINE IS NOT IN 
THE OVERALL SAUDI TRADITION; AND A NUMBER OF THE 
MILITARY PRINCES MORE THAN BALANCE THE NEGATIVES 
WITH THE HIGH QUALITY OF THEIR MILITARY ABILITY. 
END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  INTRODUCTION.  WHEN WE SPEAK OF MILITARY FORCES 
IN SAUDI ARABIA, WE ARE SPEAKING ABOUT FORCES UNDER 
THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE AND AVIATION (MODA), THE 
SAUDI ARABIAN NATIONAL GUARD (SANG) AS WELL AS THE 
SECURITY FORCES, FRONTIER FORCES AND COAST GUARD 
ELEMENTS OF THE MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR (MOI). 
HOWEVER, FOR PURPOSES OF DISCUSSING THE ROLE OF 
PRINCES IN THE MILITARY, THIS REPORT IS CONFINED 
TO THE TWO MORE CLASSICAL MILITARY INSTITUTIONS, THE 
MINISTRY OF DEFENSE AND AVIATION AND THE SAUDI ARABIAN 
NATIONAL GUARD.  THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS 
REPORT DRAWS HEAVILY ON THE U.S. SECURITY ASSISTANCE 
ELEMENTS IN SAUDI ARABIA, CONTRACTOR PERSONNEL WHO DEAL 
WITH THE ARMED FORCES AS WELL AS THE EXPERIENCES OF 
EMBASSY PERSONNEL.  IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO 
UNDERTAKE ANY MEANINGFUL EFFORT TO PLUMB THE SAUDI 
PUBLIC OR MILITARY CONCERNING THEIR OWN, PERSONAL 
FEELINGS.  SOCIAL PRESSURE, CULTURAL BIAS, FEAR OF 
REPRISAL AND PLAIN DISTRUST OF FOREIGNERS ARE POWERFUL 
IMPEDIMENTS TO DIRECT INFORMATION GATHERING.  WE 
RECOGNIZE THEREFORE THAT OUR LIST OF PRINCES IS NOT 
COMPLETE, THAT THERE ARE PROBABLY OTHER FACTORS WE 
MAY NOT HAVE GIVEN THEIR PROPER EMPHASES, AND THAT 
SUBJECTIVITY MUST ENTER INTO OUR JUDGEMENTS.  HOWEVER, 
NOTWITHSTANDING THESE DISADVANTAGES, THE INFORMATION 
PROVIDED IN THIS REPORT PRESENTS THE BEST PICTURE 
AVAILABLE OF THE ROLE OF PRINCES IN THE SAUDI ARABIAN 
ARMED FORCES AND REPRESENTS A STARTING POINT ON THIS 
USEFUL SUBJECT. 
 
4.  THE PRESENCE OF MORE THAN 25 UNIFORMED PRINCES IN 
THE SAUDI ARABIAN ARMED FORCES RAISES A NUMBER OF 
INTERESTING QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE ROLE PLAYED BY 
THESE ROYAL OFFSPRING.  HOW THESE PRINCES AFFECT THE 
STABILITY OF THE MILITARY AS WELL AS THEIR INFLUENCE ON 
ITS EFFICIENCY AND CREDIBILITY AS A FIGHTING FORCE ARE 
PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS.  IS ROYAL MILITARY 
SERVICE THE RESULT, TO A GREATER OR LESSER DEGREE, OF 
AN ORCHESTRATED PLAN BY THE ROYAL FAMILY TO MAINTAIN 
A DIVERSIFIED PRESENCE IN AND CHECK ON THE MILITARY? 
WHY WOULD A PRINCE, WHO SUPPOSEDLY HAS EVERYTHING HE 
COULD POSSIBLY WANT, JOIN THE MILITARY?  HOW ENCUMBERED 
BY MILITARY DISCIPLINE IS HE?  WHAT IS THE EFFECT ON 
UNIT MORALE AND DISCIPLINE WHEN A PRINCE JOINS THE 
OUTFIT?  DO THESE PRINCES HAVE MUCH INFLUENCE OVER 
MILITARY DECISION MAKING?  IF SO, HOW FAR DOES THEIR 
AUTHORITY EXTEND INTO POLICY MAKING?  DO THEY "ROUGH IT" 
OR ARE THEY A PRIVILEGED LOT RELATIVELY EXEMPT FROM 
UNDERGOING HARDSHIP? 
 
5.  THE SAUDIS ARE EXTREMELY SECRETIVE ABOUT THEIR 
ROYAL AFFAIRS, AS THEY ARE ABOUT THE DEFENSE 
ESTABLISHMENT, AND IT IS THEREFORE DIFFICULT TO 
DETERMINE EXACTLY HOW MANY PRINCES ARE IN MILITARY 
SERVICE.  THE FOLLOWING LIST NOTES THOSE WHOSE DUTIES 
HAVE BROUGHT THEM TO THE MISSION'S ATTENTION OR WHO 
WERE INTRODUCED IN CHANCE MEETINGS.  ONE FURTHER 
DIFFICULTY IN DETERMINING WHO IS OR IS NOT A PRINCE 
IS THE COMMONALITY OF NAMES.  WHILE SOME ARE RELATED 
CLOSELY ENOUGH  TO ABDUL AZIZ FOR THEIR ANCESTRY TO 
BE APPARENT, EACH GENERATION ADDS ANOTHER LAYER OF 
NAMES, CAUSING FAMILY ORIGIN TO BE INCREASINGLY 
OBSCURED TO OUTSIDERS.  SOME PREVIOUSLY KNOWN OFFICERS 
HAVE DROPPED OUT OF SIGHT.  THIS LIST IS THEREFORE 
NOT ALL INCLUSIVE.  BESIDES THE UNIFORMED PRINCES 
CONTAINED IN THE LIST, THERE ARE ALSO A LARGE NUMBER 
OF CIVILIAN PRINCES IN POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY IN ALL 
THE MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS. 
- 
-                 MINISTRY OF DEFENSE AND AVIATION 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 
- 
-SAUDI ARABIAN LAND FORCES (SALF)------------------------ 
 
-        NAME                 RANK/POSITION (IF KNOWN) 
 
AHMED B. SALMAN B. ABDUL AZIZ 
BADR B. FAHD AL SAUD AL KABIR      LTC, MODA STAFF 
BANDAR B. FAHD B. KHALID B. 
- MUHAMMED B. ABDUL RAHMAN         COL. DIR. AL KLHARJ 
-                                  ORDNANCE FACTORY 
FAYSAL B. MUHAMMED B. SAUD 
- AL KABIR                         BG, CDR SALF AVIATION 
 
FAYSAL B. JALAWI                   CPT, MILITARY POLICE 
FAYSAL B. MUSAID B. ABDUL RAHMAN   CPT MILITARY POLICE 
 
KHALID B. BANDAR B. ABDUL AZIZ     G-3 ARMOR CORPS 
MUHAMMED B. NASSIR B. ABDUL 
- AZIZ                             COL. DEP CDR. INFANTRY 
SULTAN B. FAHD B. ABDUL AZIZ       MAJ. POS. UKN. (KING'S 
-                                  SON) 
TURKI B. ABDULLAH AL FAYSAL B. 
- ABDUL AZIZ 
TURKI B. ABDULLAH B. MUHAMMED 
- B. ABDUL RAHMAN                  MAJ, CDR OF MP BN 
-                                  CENTRAL REGION 
FAHD B. BADR B. ABDUL AZIZ         LT, AIRBORNE BDE 
 
-ROYAL SAUDI AIR FORCE (RSAF)---------------------------- 
 
ABDUL RAHMAN B. FAHD AL FAYSAL 
- AL FARHAN                        LTC, BASE CDR, TABUK 
BANDAR B. FAYSAL B. ABDUL AZIZ     COL, DIR. AIR 
-                                  INSPECTIONS 
BANDAR B. ABDULLAH B. MUHAMMED AL 
- SAUD AL KABIR                    F-15 PILOT 
FAYSAL B. ABDULLAH B. MUHAMMED 
- B. ABDUL RAHMAN 
MANSUR  B. BANDAR B. ABDUL AZIZ    LTC, F-15 WING CDR, 
-                                  DHAHRAN 
MUHAMMED B. ABDULLAH B. MUHAMMED 
- B. ABDUL RAHMAN 
TURKI B. NASSIR B. ABDUL AZIZ      COL. BASE CDR, DHAHRAN 
- 
-ROYAL SAUDI NAVAL FORCES (RSNF)--------------------- 
- 
FAHD B. ABDULLAH B. MUHAMMED       CAPTAIN 
- B. ABDUL RAHMAN           DEPUTY CDR, RSNF 
- 
-ROYAL SAUDI AIR DEFENSE FORCES (RSADF)-------------- 
- 
KHALID B. SULTAN B. ABDUL AZIZ    BG, DEP CDR, RSADF, 
-                                 SON OF MIN DEF 
 
KHALID B. ABDULLAH B. MUHAMMED 
- B. ABDUL RAHMAN 
- 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
-               SAUDI ARABIAN NATIONAL GUARD 
- 
MITIEB B. ABDULLAH B. 
- ABDUL AZIZ                      COL, CDR, SANG MILITARY 
 
TURKI B. ABDULLAH B. 
MOHAMMED AL SAUD AL KABIR         MAJOR, S-3, 3D CAB, 
-                                 1ST BDE, SANG 
FAYSAL B. MISHARI B. 
ABDUL AZIZ                        1LT, ASST. S-3, 3D CAB. 
-                                 1ST BDE, SANG 
- 
-                                 (CAB-COMBINED ARMS BN.) 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
- 
-FORMER OFFICER PRINCES OF NOTE--------------------- 
 
BANDAR B. FAHD B. SAAD II           BUSINESS 
 
FAHD B. ABDULLAH B. MUHAMMED        DEPUTY MINISTER FOR 
-  AL SAUD AL KABIR                 CIVIL AVIATION AFFAIRS 
 
FAYSAL B. MISHAL B.A.A.             BUSINESS 
 
MUQRIN B.A.A.                       GOVERNOR OF HAIL 
 
SAUD B. ABDULLAH B. FAYSAL B.A.A.   BUSINESS 
 
FAYSAL B. BANDAR B.A.A.             DEP. GOV. OF ASIR 
 
BANDAR B. SULTAN                    AMB. TO USA 
 
MUHAMMED B. SAAD B.A.A.             VICE GOV. OF QASSIM 
-                                   PROVINCE 
 
ABDUL RAHMAN AL FAYSAL 
-B. ABDUL AZIZ                      FORMER ARMOR PROJECT 
-                                   CDR., RETIRED FOR 
.                                   HEALTH REASONS. 
 
-FORMER OFFICER PRINCES OUT OF CONTACT--------------- 
 
ABDUL MALIK B. MUHAMMED AL 
-AL SHAYKH                          LAST KNOWN RANK. MAJ., 
-                                   SALF 
 
KHALID B. BANDAR B. 
-ABDUL AZIZ                         MAJOR, SALF (?) 
 
 
KHALID B. FAYSAL B. TURKI 
-B. ABDUL AZIZ                      MAJOR, HAWK BN 
-                                   RSADF (?) 
 
AHMED B. NASSIR B. ABDUL AZIZ       MAJ. RSAF (?) 
 
FAHD B. ABDUL RAHMAN B. ABDUL 
-AZIZ                               RSAF INTEL OFFICER (?) 
MISH'ALB. SAUD B. ABDUL AZIZ        (?) 
 
SA'AD B. FAHD B. MUHAMMED           PROBABLY TABUK AIR 
-B. ABDUL AZIZ                      BASE 
 
BANDAR B. FAHD B. MUHAMMED 
B. ABDUL AZIZ 
 
BANDAR AL THUNAYAN AL SAUD          CPT, SANG (?) 
 
SA'AD B. SAUD B. ABDUL RAHMAN       LT, SANG (?) 
 
TURKI AL THUNAYAN AL SAUD           LT, SANG (?) 
 
 
6.  IT IS INEVITABLE THAT, WITH THE SAUDI ROYAL FAMILY 
NOW ESTIMATED TO NUMBER MORE THAN 5,000 MALE MEMBERS, 
SOME OF THESE PRINCES SHOULD FIND THEIR WAY INTO THE 
ARMED FORCES.  IT IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND THE ROLE 
PLAYED BY THE SENIOR PRINCES; THEY ARE THE MINISTERS 
AND SENIOR FUNCTIONARIES AT THE VERY TOP OF THE VARIOUS 
MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS, ENSURING POLITICAL CONTROL AND 
RESPONSIVENESS.  MORE DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND IS THE 
PLACE AND PURPOSE OF JUNIOR PRINCES IN MILITARY SERVICE, 
THOSE IN UNIFORM AND STARTING, AT LEAST, AS JUNIOR 
OFFICERS.  SINCE THE LOYALTY OF ITS ARMED FORCES HAS 
A CLEAR IMPACT ON THE STABILITY OF AL SAUD RULE, 
AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE "ROYAL CONNECTION" WITH 
MILITARY SERVICE IS USEFUL IN JUDGING HOW THE ROYAL 
FAMILY FEELS ABOUT AND DEALS WITH ITS MILITARY 
ESTABLISHMENT, AND HOW NON-ROYAL OFFICERS VIEW THEIR 
AL SAUD COMRADES IN ARMS.   END INTRODUCTION. 
 
7.  THE AL SAUD MONARCHY IS HIGHLY CONSCIOUS OF THE 
UTILITY OF A MODERN MILITARY FORCE AND HAS SPENT 
BILLIONS IN AN EFFORT TO CREATE ONE.  A WELL-TRAINED 
AND SUPERBLY-EQUIPPED MILITARY FORCE IS NOT ONLY VITAL 
TO THE DEFENSE OF THE FRONTIERS, RESOURCES AND RULING 
REGIME IN SAUDI ARABIA AGAINST OUTSIDE AGGRESSION 
BUT IS ALSO USEFUL AS A SYMBOL OF SAUDI NATIONALISM-- 
FOSTERING POPULAR ATTACHMENT TO THE AL SAUD DYNASTY, 
AS DISTINGUISHED FROM OLDER FOCAL POINTS OF LOYALTY 
AND MOTIVATION SUCH AS ARAB LINEAGE OR ISLAMIC FAITH. 
HOWEVER, THE AL SAUD DYNASTS HAVE SEEN MUSLIM 
MONARCHIES FALL TO COUPS D'ETAT MOUNTED BY MILITARY 
OFFICERS.  THE HISTORY OF THE REGION OFFERS MANY 
EXAMPLES, SUCH AS EGYPT, IRAQ, AND LIBYA, IN WHICH 
THE ARMED FORCES OF THE COUNTRY, STRENGTHENED AND 
MODERNIZED, HAVE OVERTHROWN THE MONARCHIAL REGIME 
THEY WERE ESTABLISHED TO DEFEND.  THUS THE SURVIVAL 
OF THE REGIME REQUIRES THAT CIVILIANS--READ MEMBERS 
OF THE RULING FAMILY--MAINTAIN TIGHT CONTROL OVER THE 
MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT.  THE REGIME HAS PUT THIS 
FAMILIAR  PRINCIPLE INTO PRACTICE BY ENSURING THAT 
FAMILY MEMBERS SIT FIRMLY AT THE APEX OF EVERY 
MILITARY OR QUASI-MILITARY COMMAND PYRAMID--WHETHER 
IN THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE AND AVIATION (MODA), THE 
NATIONAL GUARD, OR THE MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR. 
 
8.  GIVEN THESE SAME CONCERNS IT IS ALSO NOT 
SURPRISING THAT, UNTIL FAIRLY RECENTLY, THE RULERS 
OF SAUDI ARABIA DID VERY LITTLE TO IMPROVE THEIR 
ARMED FORCES EITHER QUANTITATIVELY OR QUALITATIVELY. 
THEY WERE CONTENT TO ALLOW THE ESTABLISHMENT OF 
ONLY A MODEST MINISTRY OF DEFENSE AND AVIATION 
(MODA) AND MAINTAINED ONLY AN ANTIQUATED NATIONAL 
GUARD.  BUT THIS VIEW BEGAN TO CHANGE IN THE EARLY 
SIXTIES.  IN THE FACE OF WHAT THEY VIEWED AS 
NASSIRITE AGGRESSION FROM THE YEMEN, THE AL SAUD 
WERE FORCED TO RECOGNIZE THE VULNERABILITY OF THEIR 
OWN REGIME TO OUTSIDE MILITARY THREATS.  THEY BEGAN 
A MODEST ATTEMPT TO IMPROVE THEIR DEFENSE FORCES 
AND NATIONAL GUARD WHICH (WITH THE HELP OF NEW 
OIL WEALTH) BECAME A MAJOR EFFORT TO EXPAND AND 
UPGRADE ALL ELEMENTS OF THE MILITARY.  VAST BUILDING 
PROJECTS AND THE ACQUISITION OF SOPHISTICATED 
WEAPONRY HAVE BEEN A MAJOR SAG PREOCCUPATION FROM 
1974 TO THE PRESENT. 
 
9.   ALTHOUGH THERE WAS LIMITED SAUDI PARTICIPATION 
IN FIGHTING IN THE GOLAN IN 1973, IT WAS THE WAR BETWEEN 
IRAN AND IRAQ WHICH FORCED THE SAG TO COME TO TERMS 
WITH SOME OF THE REALITIES OF MODERN COMBAT.  ALL THE 
NEW EQUIPMENT IN THE WORLD IS OF LITTLE VALUE WITHOUT 
A COHESIVE OFFICER CORPS CAPABLE OF MAKING QUICK, 
SOPHISTICATED USE OF THEIR WEAPONRY.  UNFORTUNATELY, 
THIS IS PRECISELY THE SORT OF MILITARY ORGANIZATION 
BEST SUITED, AND HENCE MORE LIKELY, TO SEEK POWER IN 
ITS OWN RIGHT.  THE AL SAUD HAVE ACCEPTED THE NEED TO 
DEVELOP THE COMMAND, CONTROL, COORDINATION AND STAFFING 
MECHANISMS NEEDED TO OPERATE A MODERN MILITARY FORCE. 
PEACE SHIELD, THE SAUDIS' MULTIBILLION DOLLAR C3 PROGRAM 
FOR AIR DEFENSE, MAY EVENTUALLY LINK THE AIR DEFENSE 
COMMAND, RSAF AND ROYAL SAUDI NAVY, BUT THIS PROGRAM 
DOES NOT BEGIN TO TACKLE THE QUESTION OF COMBINED ARMS 
OPERATIONAL CONTROL.  IT ADDRESSES WHAT UNQUESTIONABLY 
IS THE GREATEST CURRENT THREAT PERCEIVED BY THE SAUDI 
REGIME, THAT OF AN AIR ATTACK AGAINST THEIR PETRO- 
INDUSTRIAL-DESALINATION INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE 
EASTERN PROVINCE.  HOWEVER, IMPLEMENTATION EVEN OF THIS 
PROGRAM HAS BEEN SLOW AND A SYSTEM WHICH INTEGRATES 
ALL THE MILITARY SERVICES, LET ALONE MODA AND THE SANG, 
IS A LONG WAY OFF.  FURTHER STEPS FACILITIATING MILITARY 
COORDINATION BETWEEN SERVICES AND ITS TRANSFER OUT OF THE 
HANDS OF PRINCELY AUTHORITY AND INTO THOSE OF A MILITARY 
GENERAL STAFF DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE IN THE CARDS. 
 
10.  WARY THAT A STRONG, COHESIVE MILITARY MIGHT POSE 
A THREAT TO THEIR RULE, THE AL SAUD TREAT EVERY BRANCH 
OF THE MILITARY AS A SEPARATE ENTITY WITH ITS OWN 
EQUIPMENT, GARRISON AND DISTINCT LINES OF COMMAND AND 
CONTROL.  THUS THE ARMY, NAVY AND AIR FORCE ARE HAMPERED 
BY INCOMPATIBILITY OF COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT, SPARE 
PARTS AND AMMUNITION AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, MUTUAL 
DISTRUST SOMETIMES BORDERING ON DISDAIN.  THE NATIONAL 
GUARD AND MINISTRY OF DEFENSE AND AVIATION HAVE BUT 
LIMITED CONTACT WITH EACH OTHER, LITTLE CHANCE AT 
INTEROPERABILITY, AND NO PROVISIONS FOR JOINT OPERATIONS 
EXCEPT WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE BROADEST MISSION 
STATEMENTS.  ARMY FORCES ARE ALL GARRISONED WELL AWAY 
FROM THE CAPITAL.  THE ONLY GROUND FORCES NEAR RIYADH 
BELONG TO THE NATIONAL GUARD.  RIYADH AIRBASE HAS NO 
FIGHTER SQUADRONS.  IT IS A FAIR ASSESSMENT TO SAY THAT 
THE SAUDI REGIME HAS TRIED TO ACHIEVE A DELICATE BALANCE, 
HAVING THE MILITARY CAPABILITY AND EFFICIENCY TO MEET 
POTENTIAL EXTERNAL THREATS, BUT NOT SO MUCH AS TO 
ENDANGER THE ROYAL FAMILY'S OWN DOMESTIC POSITION. 
 
11.  BUT ARE THE PRINCES IN THE MILITARY AN ELEMENT 
OF THE SAME CONTROL PROCESS?  DOES THEIR PRESENCE HAVE 
AN IMPACT ON THE REGIME'S SECURITY, ON THE EFFICIENCY 
OF THE ARMED FORCES, ON MILITARY MORALE?  DO SENIOR 
PRINCES WITH MINISTERIAL POSITIONS CAREFULLY PLACE THEIR 
JUNIORS IN KEY, UNIFORMED JOBS?  THE COMPLEXITY OF 
AL SAUD FAMILY POLITICS MAKES HIGHLY SPECULATIVE ANY 
ATTEMPT TO INFER THE ORGANIZATION AND CONTROL THAT 
WOULD BE NECESSARY TO PLACE OFFICERS INTO KEY POSITIONS 
IN THE MILITARY SUITABLE FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF A 
WATCHDOG ROLE.  MOREOVER, FAR FROM BEING A MONOLITHIC 
ORGANIZATION, THE AL SAUD FAMILY IS A SPRAWLING ENTITY 
WITH AN ARRAY OF DISCRETE AND SOMETIMES COMPETITIVE 
INTERESTS; COHESION AND INTERNAL CONTROL ARE A MAJOR 
PREOCCUPATION OF THE SENIOR-MOST PRINCES. 
 
12.  UNQUESTIONABLY, THERE ARE REASONS WHY PRINCES 
MIGHT PLAY A ROLE IN THE MILITARY BY DESIGN.  GIVEN 
AN ABUNDANCE OF WELL-EDUCATED, LOYAL PRINCES, A 
LOGICAL MOVE FOR THE AL SAUD TO MAKE WOULD BE TO 
ENCOURAGE SOME OF THESE YOUNG MEN TO JOIN THE MILITARY. 
SUCH MEN, IMBUED AS THEY ARE WITH A VESTED SELF- 
INTEREST IN THE REGIME, COULD SERVE AS ITS EYES AND EARS 
AND ALSO EXERT AN INFLUENCE ON THE REST OF THE OFFICER 
CORPS.  CLEARLY THE TOP ECHELON OF THE SAG IS COMPOSED 
ENTIRELY OF PRINCES.  KING FAHD BIN ABDUL AZIZ IS THE 
SUPREME COMMANDER OF THE ARMED FORCES.  HE EXERCISES 
CONTROL OVER THE REGULAR MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT 
THROUGH HIS FULL BROTHER, SULTAN BIN ABDUL AZIZ, 
MINISTER OF DEFENSE AND AVIATION.  WHILE THE KING IS 
ALSO NOMINAL CHIEF OF THE SAUDI ARABIAN NATIONAL GUARD, 
HIS HALF BROTHER, ABDULLAH BIN ABDUL AZIZ, IS ITS 
COMMANDER.  THE KING WOULD PROBABLY HAVE GREAT DIFFICULTY 
IN EXERTING ARBITRARY AUTHORITY OVER ABDULLAH, 
ESPECIALLY IN MATTERS AFFECTING THE SANG.  DECISIONS 
ARE OFTEN MADE WITH SENIOR FAMILY AGREEMENT.  SINCE 
SURVIVAL OF THE REGIME IS THE AL SAUD FAMILY'S FIRST 
IMPERATIVE, THERE IS LITTLE VISIBLE SIGN OF DISHARMONY. 
AS CROWN PRINCE AND THUS FAHD'S PUTATIVE SUCCESSOR, 
STABILITY OF THE REGIME IS ALSO VERY MUCH IN 
ABDULLAH'S PERSONAL INTEREST. 
 
13.  MANY SEEMINGLY INFLUENTIAL POSITIONS BELOW THE 
CIVILIAN POLITICAL DIRECTION LEVEL ARE HELD BY PRINCES. 
UNTIL RECENTLY, THE DIRECTOR OF AIR  OPERATIONS 
FOR THE RSAF WAS A PRINCE.  TWO OF THE FIGHTER BASE 
COMMANDERS ARE PRINCES.  (A THIRD IS COMMANDED BY 
AN AL-SUDAIRY, ONE OF THE FAMILIES LONG ASSOCIATED 
WITH THE ROYAL FAMILY (SEE PARA 16).  WHILE OFTEN 
ADDRESSED AS "PRINCE," AND CLEARLY POSSESSING 
EXCELLENT ROYAL CONNECTIONS, EARLIER REPORTS OFFICIALLY 
LABELING COL AHMED BIN MUSAID AL-SUDAIRY AS A PRINCE 
WERE IN ERROR.)  A NUMBER OF THE MILITARY POLICE 
LEADERSHIP POSITIONS IN THE ARMY ARE HELD BY PRINCES 
AS WELL.  THE DEPUTY COMMANDER OF THE NAVY IS A PRINCE. 
IN THE SANG, THE MOST POLITICIZED OF THE SERVICES, 
WE FIND NOT ONLY THE TOP TWO POSITIONS HELD BY 
CIVILIANS BUT ALSO CIVILIAN PRINCES IN KEY ROLES AS 
THE SANG COMMANDERS IN THE WESTERN PROVINCE, 
ABDULLAH'S SON KHALID, THE EASTERN PROVINCE, MISHARI 
BIN SAUD,AS WELL AS OTHERS IN MORE REMOVED FINANCIAL 
AND ADMINISTRATIVE POSITIONS. 
 
14.  MOST PRINCES IN UNIFORM ARE OFFICERS IN THE RSAF 
AND THE ARMY (SAUDI ARABIAN LAND FORCES, OR SALF), 
THE TWO ELEMENTS OF THE ARMED FORCES MOST CAPABLE OF 
MOUNTING A THREAT TO AL SAUD RULE.  PRINCES ARE MORE 
COMMON IN THE OFFICER RANKS OF THESE TWO ORGANIZATIONS 
THAN IN ALL THE OTHERS (NAVY, SANG, MOI QUASI- 
MILITARY FORCES).  IF PRINCES ARE IN THE ARMED FORCES 
TO FULFILL AN OVERSIGHT ROLE, THEY ARE CERTAINLY IN 
THE RIGHT BRANCHES OF THE SERVICE. 
 
15.  BUT IF THERE ARE THESE INDICATIONS SUPPORTING 
THE CONCEPT OF DIRECTED ROYAL PLACEMENT IN THE 
MILITARY, THERE IS MUCH CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE 
ALSO TENDING TO SUPPORT THE VIEW THAT THE PRESENCE 
AND PLACEMENT OF PRINCES IN THE MILITARY REFLECTS 
INDIVIDUAL INCLINATION AND AMBITION AS MUCH AS-- 
OR MORE THAN--THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A PUTATIVE 
PROTECTION PLAN ELABORATED BY THE AL SAUD.  PRINCES 
FREELY REFUSE ASSIGNMENTS AND APPEAR TO BE FREE TO 
LEAVE THE SERVICE IF THEY DESIRE TO DO SO.  THE 
AL SAUD LEADERSHIP APPEARS TO BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT 
PUSHING PRINCES TOO FAR TOO FAST AS WELL.  PROMOTIONS 
INTO THE GENERAL OFFICER RANKS HAVE ONLY RECENTLY 
BEEN MADE.  BREAKING THE PROMOTION ICE WAS 
COL. FAHD B. ABDULLAH, FORMER RSAF DIRECTOR OF 
AIR OPERATIONS, WHO BECAME SAUDI ARABIA'S FIRST 
PRINCE TO BE PROMOTED THROUGH THE OFFICER RANKS TO 
BRIGADIER GENERAL IN JANUARY 1984.  THIS PROMOTION 
WAS LATER FOLLOWED BY THE PROMOTIONS OF COL. FAYSAL B. 
MUHAMMED, SALF AVIATION CHIEF, AND KHALID B. SULTAN, 
DEPUTY COMMANDER OF THE RSADF. 
 
16.  THERE IS ALSO A QUESTION AS TO WHETHER ROYAL 
CONTROL IS REALLY FURTHERED THROUGH A PRINCELY 
PRESENCE.  ABDUL AZIZ FATHERED 45 ACKNOWLEDGED SONS 
FROM AT LEAST 22 WIVES.  THE SURVIVORS AMONG THESE 
SONS, TOGETHER WITH THEIR OWN OFFSPRING, HAVE, OVER 
THE YEARS, ESTABLISHED INFORMAL BLOCKS COMPOSED 
GENERALLY OF GROUPINGS OF FULL-BROTHERS BUT ALSO 
INCLUDING HALF-BROTHER ALLIES.  TO THESE MUST BE 
ADDED THE SONS OF ABDUL AZIZ'S RELATIVES WHOSE 
FAMILIES CONSTITUTE THE AL SAUD CADET BRANCHES, 
AND THE CHILDREN OF LONG TIME ASSOCIATES NOW 
MARRIED INTO THE GREATER FAMILY.  THESE LATTER 
GROUPS ARE IN AN AMBIGUOUS, AMBIVALENT POSITION: 
WHILE MANY AL SHAYKH AND AL SUDAIRY DAUGHTERS CONTINUE 
TO MARRY YOUNG SCIONS OF THE AL SAUD, MALE MEMBERS 
OF THESE FAMILIES OFTEN EXHIBIT--AND SOMETIMES ARE 
REMINDED BY THE AL SAUD--THAT THEIR LINEAGE IS 
DISTANT.  THIS DIVERSIFICATION OF FAMILY GROUPINGS, 
WITH THEIR CONCOMITANT LOYALTIES, COMPLICATES THE 
ROYAL PRESENCE IN THE ARMED FORCES AND REFLECTS AMONG 
THE UNIFORMED PRINCES A DIVERSITY OF ROLES, INTERESTS 
AND ASPIRATIONS.  THIS DIVERSITY IMPOSES LIMITS TO THE 
DEGREE OF CONTROL AVAILABLE TO THE SENIOR PRINCES 
THROUGH THE PRESENCE OF PRINCES IN THE MILITARY. 
IT IS SIMILARLY FLAWED EVEN AS AN INFORMATION/ 
INTELLIGENCE CONDUIT.  OFFICER PRINCES ARE OFTEN 
ABLE TO AVOID SUBJUGATING THEIR PERSONAL GOALS AND 
AMBITIONS TO THE DESIRES OF THEIR MORE REMOVED UNCLES 
AND COUSINS. 
 
17.  CONTROL AMONG THE SENIOR PRINCES IS COMPLICATED 
ENOUGH (SEE PARA 12).  IT IS EVEN MORE SO AMONG 
THE JUNIORS.  THE PRINCES ALL APPEAR TO BE LOYAL 
TO THE REGIME.  WHILE THERE MAY BE A VARIETY OF 
DIFFERENT SELF-INTERESTS AMONG THEM, ALL THE PRINCES 
ARE DEPENDENT ON THE MONARCHY FOR THEIR STATION IN 
LIFE.  COMPLICATIONS BEGIN WHEN WE EXAMINE THE 
MAKEUP OF THE ROYAL FAMILY AND SEE THAT WHILE MANY 
BEAR THE TITLE OF PRINCE, ALL PRINCES ARE NOT EQUAL. 
THIS LACK OF EQUALITY OFTEN BRINGS WITH IT A WIDE 
RANGE OF PRIORITIES IN LIFE.  SOME PRINCES, MOSTLY 
FROM THE MORE DISTANT BRANCHES OF THE  FAMILY, 
ARE LESS CONCERNED WITH POWER POLITICS AND MORE 
WITH JUST PLAIN UPWARD MOBILITY.  UNABLE TO ASPIRE 
TO THE HIGHEST OFFICES IN THE LAND, THESE PRINCES 
HOLD A WIDE VARIETY OF OTHER ASPIRATIONS AND 
AMBITIONS.  FIRST PRIORITY FOR THESE MEN CAN BE 
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS, 
THE SECURING OF A CONTRACT, THE PURCHASE OF NEW 
EQUIPMENT OR THE OPENING OF A NEW BRANCH OFFICE, 
JUST AS MUCH AS THE SECURING OF A MILITARY PROMOTION 
OR NEW, BETTER POSITION.  THE REGIME APPEARS TO BE 
FAIRLY TOLERANT OF THIS ATTITUDE. 
 
18.  IN SUM, WE CAN SAY THAT AT THE VERY TOP OF THE 
CHAIN OF COMMAND--THE MINISTERIAL LEVEL--PRINCES 
HAVE BEEN GIVEN ABSOLUTE CONTROL OVER THE ARMED 
FORCES AND OPERATE THOSE FORCES VERY MUCH WITH 
THE SURVIVAL OF SAUDI ARABIA AND THE REGIME IN MIND. 
AS WE GO FARTHER DOWN THE CHAIN OF COMMAND, WE FIND 
A NUMBER OF PRINCES WHOSE REASON FOR BEING THERE IS 
MUCH MORE OBSCURE.  HOWEVER, IF  THEY ARE NOT 
SPENDING A GREAT DEAL OF TIME LOOKING AFTER THE 
INTERESTS  OF THE REGIME, THEY AT LEAST GIVE 
OUTSIDERS THE IMPRESSION THAT THEY MIGHT BE.  THUS 
THE REGIME PROBABLY PROFITS MORE FROM THE PERCEPTION 
THAN THE REALITY, AND MORE SO AMONG THE EXPATRIATE 
COMMUNITY THAN INSIDERS.  ALTHOUGH SOME PRINCES ARE 
IN POSITIONS FROM WHERE THEY CAN OVERSEE THE GOINGS 
ON IN THE MILITARY, THERE ARE ENOUGH 
KEY POSITIONS FILLED BY COMMONERS AND, SIMILARLY, 
ENOUGH POSITIONS FILLED BY PRINCES WHERE THERE IS 
RELATIVELY LITTLE CONTROL OR OVERSIGHT TO CAST 
DOUBT THAT THE AL SAUD MAKE ANYTHING MORE THAN A 
HALF-HEARTED ATTEMPT TO POSITION THEIR TRUSTED SONS 
IN KEY JOBS.  SELECTIONS APPEAR  TO BE BASED ON 
THE PRINCES' INDIVIDUAL DESIRES, AND THE AVAILABILITY 
OF POSITIONS AT A GIVEN TIME. 
 
19.  IF PRINCES ARE NOT IN THE MILITARY TO ACT PRIMARILY 
AS REPRESENTATIVES OF THE REGIME, WHY THEN ARE THEY 
THERE?  FIRST OF ALL, THERE ARE NOT MANY JOBS THAT A 
PRINCE WILL ACCEPT.  WHILE SOME OF THE OLDER, MORE 
RETIRING PRINCES ARE CONTENT WITH THE WORLD OF 
BUSINESS AND FINANCE, THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH MANY 
OF THE YOUNGER, WESTERN EDUCATED AND MORE WORLDLY 
MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY.  FOR SOME, THERE IS SIMPLY 
NO MOTIVATION TO SPEND LONG HOURS TENDING AFTER 
FAMILY BUSINESS INTERESTS.  FOR OTHERS, DEALING 
DIRECTLY IN BUSINESS IS DEMEANING.  FOR STILL OTHERS, 
THERE IS A YEARNING FOR BIGGER, MORE IMPORTANT TASKS. 
 
20.  THROUGHOUT HISTORY, MILITARY SERVICE HAS BEEN AN 
ACCEPTABLE OCCUPATION FOR MEMBERS OF THE NOBILITY. 
DEFENSE OF THE FAITH AND THE NATION, HONOR AND 
GLORY, PRIDE AND ALL THE OTHER MANIFESTATIONS OF 
MILITARY SERVICE PERMIT PRINCES TO JOIN THE ARMED 
FORCES ALONG WITH THEIR COMMONER COUNTRYMEN.  WHILE 
THE PREPONDERANCE OF PRINCES ARE IN THE SALF AND RSAF, 
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF REASONS WHY THIS SHOULD BE THE 
CASE.  IN A COUNTRY WITH LITTLE IN THE WAY OF EXCITING 
DIVERSIONS, FLYING AN F-15 OR AN F-5 WITH THE 
POTENTIAL OF ENGAGING IN AERIAL COMBAT IS VERY 
STIMULATING.  VIRTUALLY ALL THE PRINCES IN THE RSAF 
ARE PILOTS.  TWO FIGHTER BASES ARE COMMANDED BY 
PRINCES.  THEIR ACCESS TO THE BEST EDUCATION, THEIR 
LEADERSHIP ADVANTAGES AND THE BASIC ABILITY OF MANY 
OF THE RSAF PRINCES ALL MAKE THEIR APPOINTMENT TO 
LEADERSHIP POSITIONS A LOGICAL OUTCOME OF SERVICE. 
 
21. SERVICE IN THE LAND FORCES GROWS OUT OF A LONG 
TRADITION OF GROUND COMBAT.  THE VIEW AMONG THE 
BEDOUIN OF SAUDI ARABIA IS THAT SERVICE IN THE "GROUND 
GAINING ARMS" OF THE MILITARY, WHETHER FOR DEFENSE, 
OR IN OLDER TIMES FOR THE HONOR IT WAS POSSIBLE TO 
ACQUIRE IN THE ONCE PERENNIAL RAIDING, IS THE MOST 
HONORED FORM OF MILITARY SERVICE.  IF MANY OF THE MORE 
EDUCATED, COSMOPOLITAN SAUDIS, PRINCES AND COMMONERS, 
ARE FINDING THE OTHER BRANCHES OF SERVICE--AIR FORCE, 
NAVY AND AIR DEFENSE--EQUALLY ATTRACTIVE, FAMILY AND 
SOCIAL PRESSURE STILL FORCE  MANY OF THOSE WHO DO 
ENTER MILITARY SERVICE TO ENTER THE LAND FORCES AND 
SANG.  RELUCTANT AS SOME MAY BE TO JOIN, SERVICE IN 
THE SANG CAN AMOUNT TO A FAMILY OBLIGATION FOR FAVORS 
GIVEN OR EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE.  AT THE SAME TIME, 
SANG OFFICERS AUTOMATICALLY INCUR A DEBT OF LOYALTY 
TO CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH.  THIS REQUIREMENT PROBABLY 
KEEPS PRINCES WHOSE FAMILY LOYALTIES ARE TO OTHER 
SECTORS OF THE FAMILY, OUT OF THE SANG. 
 
22.  JOINING THE ARMED FORCES CARRIES WITH IT A NUMBER 
OF OBVIOUS BENEFITS.  A NUMBER OF PRINCES HAVE USED 
MILITARY SERVICE TO ESTABLISH THEIR CREDENTIALS AS 
CAPABLE LEADERS AND HAVE GONE ON TO OTHER CAREERS 
IN GOVERNMENT.  OTHERS SEEM INCLINED TO GO FROM THE 
MILITARY INTO BUSINESS HAVING MADE LUCRATIVE CONTACTS 
OR BEGUN THEIR FORTUNES IN OTHER WAYS WHILE IN THE 
SERVICE.  OTHERS STAY IN THE SERVICE BALANCING MILITARY 
DUTY WITH PRIVATE ENTERPRISE.  HOWEVER, ONE FACT STANDS 
OUT ABOVE ALL THE REST--MILITARY SERVICE IS NO BAR 
TO GETTING WEALTHY.  MANY OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN 
HAVE AMASSED GREAT FORTUNES THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF 
MILITARY SERVICE.  UNTIL RECENTLY, MODA WAS A SEEMINGLY 
INEXHAUSTIBLE SOURCE OF CONTRACTS, PROJECTS, PROCUREMENT 
ACTIONS AND BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES.  WITH NO ENFORCEMENT 
OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST LAWS AGAINST PRINCES, MEMBERS 
OF THE MILITARY, TOGETHER WITH THEIR CIVILIAN RELATIVES, 
TAPPED THIS VAST RESERVE OF FUNDS.  FOR PRINCES, THE 
INSIDE TRACK PROVIDED BY THEIR FAMILY CONNECTION 
HAS MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR THEM TO OUTSHINE ALL THEIR 
NON-ROYAL COLLEAGUES.  THE HIGHER IN RANK, THE BIGGER 
THE OPPORTUNITIES. 
 
23.  SOME OFFICERS, SUCH AS COL TURKI BIN NASSIR, 
BASE COMMANDER AT DHAHRAN AND SON OF NASSIR BIN 
ABDUL AZIZ, HAVE MADE NO SECRET OF THEIR BUSINESS 
ACTIVITIES.  AMONG HIS INTERESTS ARE SEVERAL 
BUSINESSES IN WHICH THE F-15 SQUADRON COMMANDER LTC 
MANSOUR BIN BANDAR, ANOTHER PRINCE, IS HIS PARTNER. 
OTHER PRINCES, SUCH AS THE FORMER RSAF DIRECTOR 
OF AIR OPERATIONS, BG FAHD BIN ABDULLAH BIN MUHAMMED 
BIN SAUD AL KABIR, AND HIS YOUNGER UNCLE, BG FAYSAL 
BIN MUHAMMED BIN SAUD AL KABIR, CONDUCT BUSINESS 
THROUGH RELATIVES OR OTHER SURROGATES OUTSIDE THE 
MILITARY.  WHILE FAYSAL, HEAD OF ARMY AVIATION, 
APPEARS TO OWN ONLY A TRAFFIC  LIGHT COMPANY, 
IN REALITY HE IS TIED THROUGH HIS BROTHERS INTO 
MANY ESTABLISHMENTS DIRECTLY RELATED NOT ONLY TO 
ARMY AVIATION BUT ALSO OTHER MILITARY AREAS FROM 
WHICH HE TOO IS PROFITING.  LTC MANSOUR BIN BANDAR, 
THE COMMANDER OF THE F-15 SQUADRON AT THE DHAHRAN 
AIR BASE, RECENTLY DECLINED A TRANSFER WHICH WOULD 
HAVE MADE HIM BASE COMMANDER IN TAIF.  THE REPORTED 
REASON FOR THIS REFUSAL WAS THE REQUIREMENT TO 
GIVE UP PERSONAL CONTROL OF HIS BUSINESS OPERATIONS 
IN THE EASTERN PROVINCE. 
 
24.  MINDEF SULTAN'S SON, BG KHALID BIN SULTAN, IS 
THE DEPUTY COMMANDER OF THE ROYAL SAUDI AIR DEFENSE 
FORCES.  IN HIS ROLE AS DEPUTY COMMANDER, KHALID 
HAS PROFITED SMARTLY FROM THE VARIOUS WEAPONS 
DEALS HE HAS HELPED ENGINEER.  REPORTEDLY, BOTH 
KHALID AND HIS FATHER OBTAINED HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS 
OF DOLLARS IN THE RECENTLY CONCLUDED DEAL TO PURCHASE 
SHAHINE MISSILES FROM THE FRENCH.  OTHER PRINCES 
HAVE PROFITED BY WRITING THE SPECIFICATIONS NEEDED 
FOR A PARTICULAR WEAPON OR SERVICE TO FIT A PARTICULAR 
COMPANY'S OFFER OR THE TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR 
COMPETITIVE RUNOFFS.  OFTEN, AS FOR EXAMPLE IN THE 
CASE OF A LARGE FOOD SERVICE COMPANY SUPPORTING MODA, 
THE OWNER CAN BESTOW THE CONTRACT ON HIMSELF, IN THIS 
CASE, VICE DEFENSE MINISTER ABDUL RAHMAN.  INSIDE 
TRADING IS A COMMON PRACTICE.  SINCE THERE ARE NO 
CONFLICT OF INTEREST WORRIES, THE PRINCES OFTEN ACT 
WITH IMPUNITY.  A NUMBER OF PRINCES ARE MANEUVERING 
ACTIVELY FOR A PIECE OF THE PEACE SHIELD OFFSET 
PACKAGE.  SOME HAVE ARRANGED THE PLACEMENT OF PERSONAL 
EMPLOYEES WITH COMPANIES THEY THOUGHT WOULD GET A 
PIECE OF THE ACTION. 
 
25.  DESPITE AL SAUD PREOCCUPATION WITH IT, MONEY 
IS NOT THE ONLY ATTRACTION FOUND IN MILITARY SERVICE. 
WHILE SOME PRINCES DEVOTE THEMSELVES ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY 
TO SELF ENRICHMENT, AND OTHERS, LIKE THE SAUD AL KABIR, 
CONTENT THEMSELVES WITH MONEY AS A HANDSOME SIDELINE 
TO THEIR MILITARY CAREERS, OTHERS HAVE HIGHER 
ASPIRATIONS.  THE MILITARY CAN BE A STEPPING STONE 
TO BIGGER THINGS.  IT IS CLEARLY NOT A DISADVANTAGE. 
AMONG THE MOST OBVIOUS EXAMPLES ARE THAT OF BANDAR 
BIN SULTAN, ANOTHER SON OF THE MINISTER OF DEFENSE, 
AND MITIEB BIN ABDULLAH, SON OF THE CROWN PRINCE. 
BANDAR WAS DOUBTLESS A BUSINESSMAN WHEN HE WAS IN 
UNIFORM.  FOR THAT MATTER, HE STILL IS INVOLVED 
IN BUSINESSES HE HAD WHEN F-15 COMMANDER IN DHAHRAN. 
HOWEVER, HE IS ALSO A VERY AMBITIOUS MAN WHO ASPIRES 
TO DOING GREAT THINGS FOR HIS COUNTRY.  BANDAR WAS 
QUICK TO SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY OFFERED BY THE ARMS 
SALE DEBATE IN THE U.S. IN THE EARLY 80'S.  HE 
QUICKLY BECAME AN ARTICULATE SPOKESMAN FOR HIS 
COUNTRY'S MILITARY POLICY NEEDS.  HIS FAMILY 
CREDENTIALS AND POLITICAL ACUMEN ENABLED HIM TO 
GAIN ACCESS TO THE KING'S EAR AND HIS PERSONAL 
CHARM AND ABILITY EARNED HIM THE KING'S ATTENTION. 
NOW AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES AND SOMETIMES 
MIDDLE EAST NEGOTIATOR FOR THE KING, BANDAR IS RUMORED 
TO BE HEADING FOR AN EVEN LARGER FOREIGN POLICY ROLE. 
ABDULLAH'S SON, MITIEB, IS ALSO A VERY AMBITIOUS MAN. 
USING HIS POSITION AS SON OF THE SANG COMMANDER, MITIEB 
HAS QUICKLY RISEN IN RANK, FAR FASTER THAN ANYONE ELSE 
IN THE ORGANIZATION.  HE ANSWERS ONLY TO HIS FATHER 
AND PERHAPS HIS FATHER'S MOST SENIOR ADVISOR.  MITIEB 
IS NOT SATISFIED WITH THE MILITARY LIFE, HOWEVER. 
REPORTEDLY, HE IS ANXIOUS FOR A ROLE SIMILAR TO THAT 
OF BANDAR.  IF AND WHEN HIS FATHER BECOMES KING, 
MITIEB MAY WELL GET HIS WISH.  SOME OTHERS WHO HAVE 
MOVED ON ARE LISTED IN LAST SECTION OF LIST PROVIDED 
IN PARA 4.  THE VERY FACT THAT A NUMBER OF PRINCES 
HAVE MOVED ON FROM APPARENTLY SUCCESSFUL MILITARY 
CAREERS TENDS TO FAVOR THE VIEW THAT THE ROYAL 
FAMILY IS NOT THAT CONCERNED WITH THE PRINCELY 
PRESENCE IN THE MILITARY. 
 
26.  REGARDLESS OF THEIR REASON FOR BEING THERE, 
THE FINAL KEY QUESTION IS: WHAT IMPACT DOES THE 
ROYAL CONNECTION HAVE ON THE ARMED FORCES?  COMMAND 
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE PRINCES AND THEIR COMMONER 
COLLEAGUES ARE ESTABLISHED BY PRINCE SULTAN AND 
PRINCE ABDULLAH.  IN THE SANG, NONE OF THE PRINCES 
APPEAR TO ANSWER TO ANYONE BUT THE CROWN PRINCE OR 
HIS MOST SENIOR DEPUTY.  HOWEVER, THE SANG IS SMALL, 
IS MORE ABDULLAH'S PRIVATE DOMAIN, AND ITS UNIQUE 
TRIBAL ORIENTATION MAKES THE PLACE OF PRINCES 
(ESPECIALLY PRINCES RELATED TO ABDULLAH) MORE 
SECURE.  IN MODA, PRINCES ARE USUALLY IN A POSITION 
TO TAKE ORDERS FROM COMMONERS.  OFFICIAL POLICY 
SAYS THEY ARE TO BE TREATED ACCORDING TO THEIR RANK. 
BUT THE REAL RELATIONSHIP IS UNCLEAR.  A PRINCE 
HAS DIRECT ACCESS TO THE TOP, EITHER PERSONALLY OR 
THROUGH HIS FAMILY.  THE HIGHER THE PRINCE, THE 
EASIER IT IS FOR HIM TO GET HIS OWN WAY IN A DISPUTE. 
WE DO NOT HEAR, HOWEVER, OF MANY DISPUTES WHICH 
REQUIRE ROYAL SETTLEMENT FROM ABOVE.  WE KNOW OF 
RIVALRIES BUT NOT OPEN INSUBORDINATION.  IT IS 
PROBABLE THAT ANY PRINCE WHO CANNOT GET ALONG IN 
MODA IS QUIETLY MOVED OUT.  WHILE STORIES ABOUND 
AS TO THE ACTUAL REASON, BG FAHD BIN ABDULLAH'S 
RECENT RETIREMENT WAS REPORTEDLY DUE IN PART TO 
THE PERSONAL POWER HE HAD ACQUIRED OVER RECENT 
YEARS, POWER WHICH SOMETIMES APPEARED TO EXCEED THAT 
OF HIS NOMINAL BOSS, THE RSAF COMMANDER.  (WHETHER 
OR NOT THIS PROMPTED HIS PROMOTION/REMOVAL IS UNCLEAR. 
MOST OBSERVERS AGREE HIS COMING IS AT LEAST A BENEFIT 
TO CIVIL AVIATION AND A TECHNICAL PROMOTION.) 
 
27.  BUT TIGHT MILITARY DISCIPLINE IS NOT REALLY IN 
THE SAUDI TRADITION--FOR COMMONERS AS WELL AS ROYALTY. 
SAUDI SOCIETY REMAINS CLOSE TO THE STRONG BEDOUIN 
ETHIC OF FIERCE PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE AND STRONG, 
FAMILY/CLAN ORIENTED LOYALTY.  WHILE NOT OBVIOUS, 
EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING HAS ITS PLACE IN THE ORDER 
OF IMPORTANCE.  LOYALTY IS FIRST TO ONE'S FATHER 
AND THEN TO A LESSER DEGREE, TO OTHER PERSONS, 
INSTITUTIONS AND PURSUITS.  IN THE ARMED FORCES, 
THIS HAS RESULTED IN THE REDUCTION OF WHAT ARE 
ELSEWHERE STRICT MILITARY REGULATIONS INTO THE 
LEAST RESTRICTIVE, LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR. 
WESTERN CONCEPTS OF MILILARY DISCIPLINE AS APPLIED 
IN THE SAUDI ARABIAN ARMED FORCES ARE LIBERAL, 
AND TO OUTSIDERS OFTEN SEEM PATENTLY INEFFECTIVE. 
SOLDIERS ON GUARD DUTY CAN BE SEEN WITHOUT LACES 
IN THEIR SHOES OR OUT OF PROPER UNIFORM IN SOME 
OTHER WAY.  ALTHOUGH FORBIDDEN BY REGULATIONS, 
SOLDIERS AND SAILORS CAN STILL BE SEEN LEAVING 
THEIR OFFICES AT 2:00 PM (DAY'S END) AND GETTING 
INTO  THEIR TAXI CABS TO BEGIN A SECOND OCCUPATION. 
 
28.  DESPITE OFFICIAL PRONOUNCEMENTS TO THE CONTRARY, 
WITH NO EQUALITY BETWEEN PRINCES AND OFFICERS OF EQUAL 
RANK, LARGE DISPARITY IN PAY AND ALLOWANCES (PRINCES 
GET A ROYAL STIPEND OF AROUND USD 120,000 PER YEAR, 
DEPENDING ON PLACE IN THE FAMILY), AND A VAST ARRAY 
OF PREREQUISITES SUCH AS FREE USE OF GOVERNMENT OWNED 
AIRCRAFT, HOMES, ETC., IT IS NOT SURPRISING THAT THEY 
ARE RELATIVELY ISOLATED FROM THEIR COMMONER COLLEAGUES 
WITHIN THE MILITARY.  PRINCES ASSOCIATE VERY LITTLE 
OUTSIDE THEIR OWN CIRCLES, BUT THIS INDEED IS THE 
CASE WITH FAMILIES IN THE REST OF SAUDI SOCIETY. 
HOWEVER, WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE ARMED FORCES IS THAT 
THE BONDS OF COMRADESHIP ARE VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTENT. 
WHILE PRINCES HAVE, THROUGH THEIR PERSONAL CONNECTIONS, 
THE ABILITY TO EXERT PRESSURE ON BEHALF OF THEIR UNITS, 
INFLUENCE IS THE WAY VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING IS MOVED IN 
THE SAUDI BUREAUCRACY AND NOT MUCH CREDIT IS GIVEN FOR 
DOING SOMETHING WHICH IS EXPECTED.  THE PRESENCE OF A 
PRINCE IN THE UNIT IS THEREFORE NOT NECESSARILY A 
BOON TO MORALE. 
 
29.  THE MISSION IS AWARE OF COMPLAINTS AMONG COMMONER 
OFFICERS ABOUT THE OBVIOUS PRIVILEGES AND EXCESSIVE 
GREED OF ROYAL FAMILY MEMBERS.  THERE HAS ALSO BEEN 
QUIET GRUMBLING ABOUT EXCESSIVE ADVANCEMENT, SUCH AS 
IN THE CASE OF CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH'S SON MITIEB. 
WHILE OFFICERS WILL MOST GENERALLY WITHHOLD THEIR 
COMMENTS FROM FOREIGNERS, THE FACT THAT A FEW HAVE 
BEEN WILLING TO SPEAK IS PROBABLY INDICATIVE OF WIDER, 
PRIVATE ATTITUDES IN THE OFFICER CORPS.  (THERE IS 
NO PROVISION FOR COMPLAINTS SUCH AS THESE AND THEREFORE, 
IF THEY ARE WIDESPREAD, THEY ARE PROBABLY VOICED ONLY 
AMONG CONFIDANTS.  WE KNOW OF CASES IN WHICH OFFICERS 
WITH OUTSPOKEN OPINIONS HAVE BEEN MOVED TO ATTACHE 
POSITIONS OUT OF THE COUNTRY, BEEN GIVEN RETIREMENT, 
OR BEEN SECONDED TO NON-MILITARY, GOVERNMENTAL 
ORGANIZATIONS.)  PERHAPS THE EVIDENCE OF CAUTION 
OF MOVING PRINCES TO THE MOST SENIOR POSITIONS 
INDICATES SOME ROYAL FAMILY AWARENESS OF THE POTENTIAL 
PROBLEMS IN TERMS OF OFFICER CORPS MORALE IF THEIR 
OWN ARE PUSHED TOO FAR.  THE SANG APPEARS TO BE LESS 
AFFECTED THAN MODA AND MORE RELAXED ABOUT THE PRINCELY 
ROLE. 
 
30.  OVERALL, PRINCES DO NOT APPEAR TO HELP OR HARM 
THE CAPABILITY OF THE ARMED FORCES.  WHILE IT IS 
DEBATABLE HOW MUCH THEIR EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES 
AFFECT MORALE, THEIR ABILITY TO  CUT THROUGH RED 
TAPE AND FACILITATE MATTERS ON BEHALF OF THEIR UNITS 
SHOULD HELP OFFSET AT LEAST ANY NEGATIVE FEELINGS. 
WHILE SOME MAY COME IN FOR CRITICISM, THE PROVEN 
ABILITY OF OTHERS HAS CERTAINLY BEEN RECOGNIZED AND 
LEADERS SUCH AS COL. MITIEB, OVERALL, ARE RESPECTED 
BY THEIR COLLEAGUES AND SUBORDINATES.  HOWEVER, THE 
FINANCIAL ADVANTAGES WHICH ONCE FELL TO EVERYONE 
WITH A LITTLE IMAGINATION ARE DWINDLING FAST.  SOON, 
THE CASE MAY BE THAT ONLY PRINCES WILL HAVE THE CLOUT, 
ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND OPERATING LATITUDE TO MAKE 
IT RICH.  IF THIS OCCURS, THEIR PLACE IN THE MILITARY 
MAY BECOME MORE CONTROVERSIAL. 
 
31.  THE MERE PRESENCE OF PRINCES IN THE ARMED FORCES 
PROVIDES SOME DEGREE OF STABILITY TO THE AL SAUD 
REGIME.  REGARDLESS OF THEIR MOTIVES IN ENTERING 
THE MILITARY, THEIR OVERSIGHT CAPABILITY AND 
INFLUENCE ON EVENTS IN THE MILITARY MUST INEVITABLY 
HAVE SOME EFFECT ON UNIT PERSONNEL.  AND INEVITABLY, 
EVEN IF LINKS TO THE SENIOR PRINCES ARE WEAK, THERE 
MUST BE SOME FEEDBACK ON MILITARY ATTITUDES FROM 
THE PRINCELY PRESENCE.  WHETHER OR NOT A PRINCE 
IMPROVES OR DETRACTS FROM THE MORALE OR CAPABILITY 
OF HIS UNIT IS MORE OR LESS DEPENDENT ON HIS ATTITUDE 
TOWARD THE PROFESSION AND HIS PERSONAL INTERESTS. 
HOWEVER, HIS PRIMARY BENEFIT TO THE REGIME, WHETHER 
BY DESIGN OR NOT, IS THE ROYAL PRESENCE HIS ASSIGNMENT 
BRINGS. 
 
 
SUDDARTH 

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