King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia's monarch, has sacked Prince Khaled bin Sultan, the deputy defense minister and the favorite son of the previous heir. He appointed former navy commander Prince Fahad bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Abdul-Rahman.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is due to visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to discuss another round of arms' sales to GCC's oil rich member states. Prince Khaled, a Western educated third generation official, headed Arab coalition forces during the first Gulf War in Kuwait (1991); he also owns the pan-Arab Al-Hayat London-based newspaper.
The King did not provide an explanation for the significant sacking, but the Prince was lately taking the heat of a sex scandal, exposed by a former bodyguard. Mark Young claimed in his book that the Prince made a million dollar sexual proposal to Hollywood actress Brigitte Nielsen, also the ex-wife of Rocky Star Sylvester Stallone.
Mark claimed in his book, titled the "Saudi Bodyguard", claimed that Prince Khalid had posted a half naked poster of the actress on his bedroom wall, and had offered her $1 million in return for sex.
Although the book is about two years old, the scandal only recently found its way to the Arab press.
As with many scandals, this particular one has not been corroborated well, while many observers see the step as part of a delayed reform by the incumbent King following the passing away of his brother, the late heir to the Saudi thrown.