Saudi Arabian National Guard
The Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG, also known as the White Army) is a separate military force of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is not part of the Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

n Defence Forces
Military of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's armed forces are mainly the responsibility of the Ministry of Defense and Aviation. The Ministry also has responsibility for the construction of civilian airports as well as military bases, and for Meteorology departments...

, due to its specific role as a counterbalance to the regular military. It serves both as defence force against external threats and as a security force against internal threats. Its duties include protecting the royal family, guarding against coups, protecting strategic facilities and resources, and protecting the Holy Places of Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 and Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

It is both a standing force of 125,000, with a tribal militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 of 25,000. The SANG is the King's private army consisting of personnel drawn from tribes loyal to the King and Royal Family. It is always commanded by a high ranking member of the royal family. The force was extensively reorganized and retrained by the Vinnell Corporation
The Vinnell Corporation is an international private military company based in the United States specializing in military training, logistics, and support in the form of weapon systems maintenance and management consultancy. They conducted training of portions of the Saudi Arabian National Guard as...

 (using over a thousand US Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 veterans) in the 1980s and performed well in the Persian Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

/Operation Desert Storm especially in the battle for Khafji
Battle of Khafji
The Battle of Khafji was the first major ground engagement of the Gulf War. It took place in and around the Saudi Arabian city of Khafji, from 29 January to 1 February 1991 and marked the culmination of the Coalition's air campaign over Kuwait and Iraq, which had begun on 17 January 1991.Iraqi...


U.S. support continues, delivered both through private contractors and the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

Office of the Program Manager Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program
Office of the Program Manager Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program
- Mission :Office of the Program Manager, Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program is a Security Assistance Organization of the United States Army with the primary mission of managing the modernization effort of the Saudi Arabian National Guard .The United States provides technical and...



The SANG was founded as the successor to the Ikhwan
The Ikhwan was the Islamic religious militia which formed the main military force of the Arabian ruler Ibn Saud and played a key role in establishing him as ruler of most of the Arabian Peninsula, in his new state of Saudi Arabia. The Ikhwan were made up of Bedouin tribes...

, the tribal army of Abdul al Aziz ibn Saud. The Ikhwan had helped Abd al Aziz conquer the Arabian peninsula and take it from Ottoman Turkey in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. However, the Ikhwan committed many excesses and atrocities not just on Turks but on other Arabs as well. The various tribal groups of the Ikhwan also had a tendency to go off and do their own things and thus needed to be brought under a more centralized control. The SANG was also known as the White Army during this time due to the wearing of traditional Arab dress instead of uniforms.


The Saudi Arabian National Guard's communications and chain of Command has maintained a separate network from regular Saudi Arabian military channels with a senior member of the royal family as its head. King Abdullah
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He succeeded to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. When Crown Prince, he governed Saudi Arabia as regent from 1998 to 2005...

 commanded SANG for three decades, from 1962 until 17 November 2010, when he appointed his son, Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah
Mutaib bin Abdullah
*Seba*Nouf*Abdullah*Zeina*Saad*KhalidPrince Mutaib bin Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud is the Commander of the Saudi National Guard since 2010. He is also a state minister. He is a son of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia....

, as the new commander. In addition, three of his sons hold high positions within the organization. SANG's Deputy Commander is Prince Badr
Badr bin Abdul Aziz
Prince Badr bin Abdul-Aziz is a senior member of the Saudi royal family. He is a former Deputy Commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard . He participated in the Free Princes movement in 1962-1964 during which time he lived in exile, mostly in Beirut and Cairo...

, who is a senior member of the Al Saud. Its General Headquarters, located in Riyadh
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

, directly controls the three regional sectors and the training facilities and the King Abdul Aziz Independent Mechanized Brigade of four battalions.

The three Regional (Eastern, Central and Western) sectors each command one or more mechanized or motorized brigades, several independent Security and Military Police
Military police
Military police are police organisations connected with, or part of, the military of a state. The word can have different meanings in different countries, and may refer to:...

 and logistical battalions, but also the irregular fowj battalions.


The SANG has been restructured with the help of the Vinnell Corporation into a light mechanised force equipped with over a thousand Cadillac Gage Commando armored fighting vehicles (now being replaced with LAV-25's). Its mobile force consists of three mechanized brigades and five motorized infantry brigades. The militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 portion consists of around 24 battalions of fowj, tribal warriors on "retainer".

The Eight Brigades are:
  • Imam Muhammad bin Saud Mechanized Brigade (IMBS)
  • Prince Saad Abdulrahman Mechanized Brigade (PSAR)
  • Turki Mechanized Brigade was reported to be in formation in 2002
  • King Khalid Light Infantry Brigade’s strength is unknown
  • King Abdulaziz Mechanized Brigade, was in information in 2002 still unknown
  • Prince Mohammad bin Abdulrahman al-Saud Light Infantry Brigade
  • One light infantry brigade based in Jeddah
  • One light infantry brigade based in Medina
  • Omar bin Kattab light infantry brigade based in Taif

The two original motorised brigades, IMBS and KAAB, had M-102 howitzers (IMBS) and 155mm M-198 howitzers, plus TOW
The BGM-71 TOW is an anti-tank missile. "BGM" is a weapon classification that stands for "Multiple Environment , Surface-Attack , Missile ". "TOW" is an acronym that stands for "Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire command data link, guided missile"...

 anti-tank guided missile systems in the anti-tank platoons of the line motorised companies; two in each company in the IMBS and six in the KAAB. The two brigades each had a headquarters company, four line motorised battalions, a field artillery battalion, a support battalion, and air defence, signals, and engineers companies.

Riyadh Regional Headquarter, which is located in Riyadh, controls:
  • Imam Muhammad bin Saud Mechanized Brigade (IMBS), which controls four battalions (1st-4th) as well as the 1st SANG Artillery Battalion, and is based in Riyadh.
  • Prince Saad Abdulrahman Mechanized Brigade (PSAR), which controls four combined-armed battalions, and is based in Riyadh.
  • Turki Mechanized Brigade was reported to be in formation in 2002. As of 2006, it remains uncertain as to how developed this unit is.
  • King Khalid Light Infantry Brigade’s strength is unknown.
  • Ceremonial Cavalry Squadron.
  • King Khalid Military College.
  • Military Police battalion.
  • Irregular Fowj tribal forces.

Eastern Regional Headquarter, which is located in Dammam, controls:
  • King Abdulaziz Mechanized Brigade (KAAB), was in information in 2002, but its strength and organization is still unknown. Stanton, writing in 1996, identified this brigade as the King Abdul Aziz Brigade, stationed in Hofuf
    Al-Hofuf is the major urban center in the Al-Ahsa Oasis in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.- Overview :...

     south of Dammam. It comprised the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Combined Arms Battalions and the 2nd Artillery Battalion (155mm M-198 towed howitzers.
  • Prince Mohammad bin Abdulrahman al-Saud Light Infantry Brigade.
  • Irregular Fowj tribal forces.

Western Regional Headquarter, which is located in Jeddah, controls:
  • One light infantry brigade based in Jeddah
  • One light infantry brigade based in Medina
  • Omar bin Kattab light infantry brigade based in Taif

Independent Battalions:
  • In addition to the battalions under the control of the three regional HQs, SANG has four independent light infantry battalions, which appear to be dedicated to protecting facilities and installations


The SANG is, by tradition, issued equipment not issued to the regular military, it doesn't possess any tanks but does possess several thousand wheeled armored fighting vehicles and Armoured personnel carrier
Armoured personnel carrier
An armoured personnel carrier is an armoured fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to the battlefield.APCs are usually armed with only a machine gun although variants carry recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided missiles , or mortars...

s. It does possess its own helicopters and light aircraft and all the remaining types of military hardware including artillery. When in modern uniforms personnel wear a green beret, the Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 color for purity. Many soldiers wear for everyday use the American desert style uniform (called DCU or Desert Camouflage Uniform
Desert Camouflage Uniform
The Desert Camouflage Uniform is essentially the same as the United States military's Battle Dress Uniform uniform, only featuring the three-color desert camouflage pattern of light tan, pale green, and brown, as opposed to the dark green, black, brown, and dark tan of the BDU's woodland pattern...

), used in Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and other desert regions throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA
The term MENA, for "Middle East and North Africa", is an acronym often used in academic, military planning and business writing.The term covers an extensive region, extending from Morocco to Iran, including the majority of both the Middle Eastern and Maghreb countries...

) regions.


  • Lieutenant
    Second Lieutenant
    Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.- United Kingdom and Commonwealth :The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign , although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal...

  • 1st Lieutenant
    A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

     (Arabic:ملازم أول)
  • Captain
    Captain (OF-2)
    The army rank of captain is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to command of a company of soldiers. The rank is also used by some air forces and marine forces. Today a captain is typically either the commander or second-in-command of a company or artillery battery...

  • Major
    Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

  • Lieutenant Colonel
    Lieutenant colonel
    Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

  • Colonel
    Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

  • Brigadier General
    Brigadier General
    Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000...

  • Major General
    Major General
    Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

  • Lieutenant General
    Lieutenant General
    Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

  • General
    A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

     (Arabic:فريق أول)
  • Field Marshal
    Field Marshal
    Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...



  • Private (Arabic:جندي)
  • First Class Private (Arabic:جندي أول)
  • Corporal (Arabic:عريف)
  • Vice Sergeant (Arabic:وكيل رقيب)
  • Sergeant (Arabic:رقيب)
  • First Class Segeant (Arabic:رقيب أول)
  • Master Sergeant (Arabic:رئيس رقباء)

External links

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