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Saudi military leaders sacked as Yemen war hits stalemate


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Saudi Arabia has fired its military chief of staff in a shake-up apparently aimed at overhauling the defence ministry during the ruinous war in Yemen.

It also announced the appointment of a female minister as it tries to broaden the role of women in the workplace in the ultraconservative Sunni kingdom.

Saudi Arabia made the announcement in a flurry of royal decrees carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Military chiefs in Saudi Arabia have been replaced as the war in Yemen hits stalemate (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

It said King Salman “approved the document on developing the ministry of defence, including the vision and strategy of the ministry’s developing programme, the operational pattern targeting its development, the organisational structure, governance and human resources requirements”.

Prominent among the personnel changes was the firing of military chief of staff General  Abdulrahman bin Saleh al-Bunyan.

He will become a consultant to the royal court, and was replaced by General Fayyadh bin Hamid al-Rwaili, a former commander of the Royal Saudi Air Force.

The appointment of Tamadhir bint Yosif al-Rammah as deputy minister of labour and social development comes as the kingdom prepares to allow women to drive this year.

The decisions come as a Saudi-led coalition, chiefly backed by the United Arab Emirates, remains mired in a stalemate in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country.

Over 10,000 people have been killed in the war in which Saudi-led forces back Yemen’s internationally recognised government.

They are fighting Shiite rebels and their allies who are holding the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and much of the north of the country.

The kingdom faces wide international criticism for its air strikes killing civilians and striking markets, hospitals and other civilian targets.

Aid groups also blame a Saudi-led blockade of Yemen for pushing the country to the brink of famine.

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