Monday, August 27, 2007

US helps Saudis train oil security force

from AFP

Saudi authorities have recruited around 5,000 members of the Facilities Security Force and plan to raise the number to 8,000-10,000 over the next two years as an interim target, the Nicosia-based Middle East Economic Survey said. The plan to set up a 35,000-strong force to guard oil and other vital installations was announced in July by Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz as the oil powerhouse continues to battle suspected Al-Qaeda militants ... The decision to recruit from outside the ranks of the existing armed forces and security services has necessarily slowed the process. Saudi Arabia already maintains a 75,000-strong army, an air force of 18,000, a navy of 15,500 and an air defence force of 16,000, according to MEES. These formal armed forces are on top of the 75,000-man National Guard, a tribal force loyal to the Al Saud ruling family.

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