Saudi Arabia appointed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s full younger brother as deputy defense minister on Saturday and named a princess as the kingdom’s first woman ambassador to the United States.
The appointments, published in state news agency SPA, follow Riyadh’s efforts to overcome a global outcry over last year’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents, which damaged relations with key Western allies.
Prince Mohammed has been defense minister since 2015, when he intervened against Yemen’s Iranian-aligned Houthis.
Prince Khalid, a former fighter pilot, had been ambassador to Washington for less than two years. The new envoy, Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, is the daughter of a former long-time ambassador to the United States.
She had a career in the private sector before joining the kingdom’s General Sports Authority where she championed women’s participation in sports and focused on increasing women’s empowerment.
Princess Reema becomes ambassador as Saudi Arabia is opening up and granting women more freedoms, but also amid heightened tensions with Washington, a key security and economic partner.
*The story was edited by Ahram Online.