Saudi Arabia Calls for Islamic Summit
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has called for an “extraordinary Islamic solidarity meeting” to be convened in August to bring together the world’s Muslim leaders. The aim of the summit will be to discuss how the Islamic world can combat what Saudi state TV called the “dangers of fragmentation and sedition.” According to an invitation received by Lebanese President Michel Sleiman, the leaders will gather August 14 to 15 in Mecca. The principal mission of the summit will be to discuss the situation in Syria, but the announcement of the summit comes as Saudi Arabia itself deals with internal unrest, particularly in the Eastern Province after the arrest of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Family of the cleric were allowed to visit Nimr Sunday, and reported that he has been on hunger strike since July 19, and has signs of torture on his body. This was the second time family has been allowed to see Nimr since his arrest.
Given the unrest, the kingdom announced this week the reshuffling of some senior officials.Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former ambassador to the U.S. for 22 years, was appointed Saudi Arabia’s new spy chief, replacing Prince Muqrin bin Abdul-Aziz who was shifted to a special royal advisory role. Prince Bandar is known for his hawkish views and aggressive style, and will also retain his previous role as Secretary General of the National Security Council.