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Khalid bin Sultan Al Saud

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Khaled bin Sultan (Arabic: خالد بن سلطان بن عبد العزيز آل سعود‎) (born 24 September 1949) is the former deputy minister of defense and a member of House of Saud.

Khaled bin Sultan
Prince Khaled during the Gulf War
Deputy Minister of Defense
In office
5 November 2011 – 20 April 2013
MonarchKing Abdullah
MinisterSalman bin Abdulaziz
Preceded byAbdul Rahman bin Abdulaziz
Succeeded byFahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Saud
Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and General Inspector for the Military Affairs
In office
17 January 2001 – 5 November 2011
MonarchKing Abdullah
MinisterSultan bin Abdulaziz
Personal details
Born (1949-09-24) 24 September 1949 (age 69)
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
NationalitySaudi Arabian
ParentsSultan bin Abdulaziz
Munira bint Abdulaziz bin Musaed bin Jalawi
Alma materRoyal Military Academy Sandhurst
Air War College
Auburn University at Montgomery
Military service
Allegiance Saudi Arabia
Branch/service Royal Saudi Air Force
Years of service1968–1991
Battles/warsGulf War

Shia insurgency in Yemen


Early life and educationEdit

Prince Khalid was born on 24 September 1949.[1] He is the oldest son of the late Prince Sultan[2] and full brother of Fahd bin Sultan, Faisal bin Sultan and late Turki bin Sultan. Their mother is Munira bint Abdulaziz bin Musaed bin Jalawi.[3] She died in Paris on 24 August 2011.[4] Moneera bint Abdulaziz was a sister of Alanoud, spouse of King Fahd. She was also cousin of King Khalid and Prince Muhammed.[1]

Khalid bin Sultan is a graduate of King Saud University. He attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst from January 1967, where he was a corporal in the cadet government, and graduated in 1968, thus fulfilling a teenage dream. [5][6][7] He also studied at the US Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.[6] He graduated from the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.[6][7] He also holds a master's degree in political science, which he received from Auburn University at Montgomery in 1980.[8]


In the first years as a soldier, despite his choice to be selected for special forces personnel, Khalid bin Sultan was given a command of an artillery platoon in Tabuk province. Later, his position advanced as he was given a task for conducting contract and purchasing of Saudi Arabia's first guided missile with People's Republic of China. For this prominent role, he was given an honorary title "Father of Saudi Arabia's Missile".

After years in the army, thinking that air defense should be given more important role in the national defense, he established the Saudi air defense force, and became its first commander. Shortly after occupation of Iraq to Kuwait in the first Persian Gulf War, he was chosen as the commander of the joint Arab forces,[9] and shared an equal position and responsibility with general Norman Schwarzkopf of US Army.[10] King Fahd promoted Prince Khalid to field marshal afterward. In 1991, he retired from the military to focus on business. In January 2001, he was brought back into the military as assistant defense minister for military affairs.[11][12]

In early 2011, he announced that “more than 70 percent of military equipment can be produced locally" and the future creation of a government branch for domestic military growth.[13] He was regarded as a likely candidate to replace his deceased father as defense minister in 2011.[14] However, he was appointed deputy defense minister in November 2011.[15] His term lasted until 20 April 2013 when he was replaced by Fahd bin Abdullah, another member of the royal family.[15] Traditionally, the decision follows exemption "based on his request," but the royal order issued exempting Khalid bin Sultan from office, did not include this phrase.[16][17]

2009 Yemen bombingEdit

In November 2009, Khalid bin Sultan led a Saudi military intervention in Yemen. The campaign had various tactical mistakes[according to whom?] and Khalid was heavily criticized. The Saudis had 130 casualties and Yemen lost over 1000.[14]

In December 2009, Khalid gave a 48-hour ultimatum for Houthi withdrawal from Al Jabri. Soon, he declared that the campaign had ended after the Houthi promised through Al-Quds Al-Arabi they would withdraw from the border in exchange for a ceasefire. The Houthi also stated that the Yemen government had used Saudi territory to bomb targets.[18]

In February 2010, Ambassador Smith met with Khalid. Smith brought attention to Saudi air strikes on Yemeni hospitals. Khalid admitted that the event occurred because Yemen had designated the area as a Houthi military base. He also stated that this event occurred because of inaccurate military equipment and the U.S. refusal to provide Predators. He went on to state that Saudi strategy was to force the Houthis to reconcile with the Yemeni government by a strong show of military force.[19] He complained that it was difficult to avoid civilian casualties. The Saudi-Yemeni joint committee granted clearances to Khalid bin Sultan for attacks to be conducted.[20] He complained that Yemeni intelligence was unreliable and politically motivated. Yemen data claimed terrorist positions in a place when in actuality the place was the office of General Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar, a political adversary to President Saleh.[19][21]


King Abdullah was not pleased by Khalid's leadership when Saudi troops could not quickly push back al Houthis Yemeni rebels, who had seized Saudi territory in late 2009.[17] King Abdullah specifically expressed his concerns over the long duration of the conflict, large number of casualties, and Saudi incompetence. Therefore, this situation led to decrease in his potential succession of his father as defense minister.[18] Joseph A. Kéchichian, a Middle East analyst, argued after Khalid's removal from office on 20 April 2013 that there are three potential reasons for his dismissal, one of which is about his activity in 2009 mentioned above.[22] The others were related to his involvement in procurement of arms in 2010 and 2013.[22]

Paradise PapersEdit

In November 2017 an investigation conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism cited his name in the list of politicians named in "Paradise Papers" allegations.[23]

Other positionsEdit

At the end of the 1990s, Prince Khalid had business contacts with French electronics group Thomson-CSF.[24]

Khalid is the chairman for the committee of the Prince Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz International Prize for Water.[25] He is chair of board of trustees of Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Foundation.[26] He is also a member of the board of trustees of the Arab Thought Foundation that is a Saudi think-tank group, attempting to improve the relations between Arab nations and the Western nations.[27]

He owns the newspaper Al-Hayat. It is said that he does not interfere in its articles as long as no royal criticism is published.[28]


Turkish-Arab relationsEdit

In the late 1990s, Khalid expressed an opinion concerning the Turkish-Arab relations. According to him, Arabs should ask themselves what brought about this crisis. After criticizing Arab politics for an inability to "cope with rapid changes on the ground," he states how they "assumed Turkey would be on their side forever, even if it gained no benefit thereby." The Arab side, on the other hand, "did not comprehend the complexities of the internal situation in Turkey, or that country's regional and international considerations. This created a climate that could push Turkey ever further into the camp of unfriendly countries." Finally, he proposed improving Turkish-Arab ties "[s]olely by granting supreme importance to mutual economic interests. It is vital to find a form of economic integration between the Arabs and Turks, even if it is a gradual process." And he proposes Turkish-Arab cultural collaboration, calling on Arabs and Turks to "start purging history books and textbooks of mutual insults." He also encouraged military cooperation between Turkey, Pakistan, and Arab states of the Persian Gulf.[29]


In February 2013, Khalid made a statement about Ethiopia's right to use the Nile waters, which was officially denounced by the Saudi government. His remarks were as follows: "The Ethiopian Renaissance dam….is for political plotting rather than for economic gain and constitutes a threat to Egyptian and Sudanese national security."[30]

Personal lifeEdit

Khalid's first marriage was to his first cousin, Lulua, King Fahd's daughter. They divorced in 1978.[1] They have three children. Their first child, Reema died four months old. His other children from his first marriage are Faisal (born 1973) and Sara (born 1976).[1] Later, he married to another full uncle's daughter, Abeer bint Turki bin Abdulaziz.[1] They have five children: Hala, Fahd (born 1985), Salman (born 1993), Mishail and Abdullah (born 1988).[31]

One of his daughters, Princess Hala, married to King Abdullah's son, Turki bin Abdullah, who was a pilot in the Royal Saudi Air Force, on 13 January 2010 in a cousin marriage (first cousins, once removed).[32]

His son Faisal bin Khalid is the current Amir of the Saudi Northern Borders Region.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Sharaf Sabri (2001). The House of Saud in commerce: A study of royal entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia. New Delhi: I.S. Publications. ISBN 81-901254-0-0.
  2. ^ "New Saudi deputy defense minister a decorated marine officer". Al Arabiya. 21 April 2013. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Princess Munira passes away". Arab News. 24 August 2011. Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Wife of Saudi crown prince dies in Paris hospital". The Daily Star. 25 August 2011. Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  5. ^ Bin Sultan, Khaled (1995). Desert Warrior. London: Harper Collins. p. 60-76.
  6. ^ a b c Bidwell (12 October 2012). Dictionary of Modern Arab History. Routledge. p. 372. ISBN 978-1-136-16298-5. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  7. ^ a b Sami Moubayed (26 October 2011). "A Saudi Game of Musical Chairs". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  8. ^ "A gift for a prince". Herald Journal. 18 December 1991. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  9. ^ "The Saudi Question". PBS. 7 October 2004. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  10. ^ "The Saudi Question". Brookings Institution. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  11. ^ Ed Blanche (30 March 2002). "'Coup-proof' Arab regimes must tread carefully in changing world". Lebanonwire. Archived from the original on 26 November 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  12. ^ Anthony H. Cordesman (1 April 2003). Saudi Arabia Enters the Twenty-First Century: The Political, Foreign Policy, Economic, and Energy Dimensions. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-275-97998-0. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  13. ^ Glen Carey (19 January 2011). "Saudi Arabia Plans More Military Hardware Output, Arab News Says". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  14. ^ a b Simon Henderson. "Foreign Policy: A Prince's Mysterious Disappearance". NPR. Archived from the original on 23 October 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
  15. ^ a b "Saudi deputy defence minister Prince Khalid Bin Sultan replaced". Gulf News. Reuters. 20 April 2013. Archived from the original on 24 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  16. ^ "الخلافات تطيح بنجل "سلطان الخير" .. وابن الطيران يتحول لـ"الدفاع"". moheet. 20 April 2013. Archived from the original on 23 April 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  17. ^ a b Abeer Allam (21 April 2013). "Saudi king sacks deputy defence minister". Financial Times. Abu Dhabi. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  18. ^ a b "Sitrep on Saudi military operations against the Houthis". Wikileaks. 30 December 2009. Archived from the original on 26 April 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia: Renewed assurances on satellite imagery". Wikileaks. 7 February 2010. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  20. ^ "Saudi jets bomb Yemeni Houthis". Al Jazeera. 5 November 2009. Archived from the original on 5 April 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
  21. ^ Mohammed Aly (6 November 2009). "Saudi Forces Bomb Yemeni Rebels on Southern Border". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 6 April 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
  22. ^ a b Joseph A. Kéchichian (21 April 2013). "No possible change seen in Saudi succession line". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 24 April 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  23. ^ "Explore The Politicians in the Paradise Papers - ICIJ". ICIJ. Archived from the original on 6 November 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  24. ^ "The Political Leadership - King Fahd". APS Review Gas Market Trends. 29 November 1999. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  25. ^ "About the Prize" Archived 27 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  26. ^ "Who we are?". Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Foundation. Archived from the original on 20 September 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  27. ^ "Board of Trustees". Arab Thought. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  28. ^ "Ideological and ownership trends in the Saudi media". Wikileaks. 11 May 2009. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  29. ^ Amikam Nachmani (June 1998). "The Remarkable Turkish-Israeli Tie". The Middle East Quarterly: 19–29. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  30. ^ "Saudi King sacks anti-Ethiopian Prince from cabinet". Daily Ethiopia. 21 April 2013. Archived from the original on 28 June 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  31. ^ "Family Tree of Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud". Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  32. ^ Kapoor, Talal (13 February 2010). "A Princely Rivalry: Clash Of The Titans?". Datarabia. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2012.