Friday, April 18, 2014

Prince Bandar steps down

Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has, by royal decree, been relieved of his duties as national security adviser and director of Saudi intelligence services. According to the national news agency, the decision was made "at his request."

A brilliant personality, born to Prince Sultan and a slave, he was the right-hand man of King Fahd who had appointed him ambassador to the United States upon his accession to the throne. There, he was befriended by former CIA chief and then Vice-President George H. Bush, who considered him as his "adopted son." He was thus admitted into the U.S. ruling class and into many of its clubs.

He was entrusted with taking charge of the former Wahhabi fighters in Afghanistan and became the patron of Al Qaeda and, upon the death of Osama bin Laden in late 2001, the one and only undisputed leader of the international terrorist network. He funded Al Qaeda’s operations in particular with the one billion pounds sterling that he had misappropriated with complete impunity in connection with the Al-Yamamah arms deal [1].

At the death of King Fahd, he was recalled to Saudi Arabia. He became the leader of the Sudeiri clan and, in that capacity, was appointed national security adviser. In 2010, he tried to organize a coup to place his father in power. He was subsequently banished, only to return one year later, on the death of Prince Sultan. as head of the Sudeiris. He then led the Saudi response to the political movements that shook the Arab world [2].

During the NATO war against Syria, he organized the 18 July 2012 attack that decapitated the military command in Damascus. He was then appointed chief of Saudi intelligence, but fell victim to a retaliatory attack, on July 26 [3]. Hospitalized for nearly a year, he survived [4] and gradually resumed his activities. In a poor state, he never again made a statement in public. In 2013, he tried to rally Russia to the Saudi case, going as far as to threaten Putin with staging attacks during the Sochi Olympic Games [5]. He resented the U.S. refusal to bomb Syria during the chemical weapons crisis, creating a serious standoff between Washington and Riyadh [6].

Complications resulting from the injuries sustained on July 26, 2012 forced him to be hospitalized in the United States in late 2013 and later in Morocco. Under pressure from John Kerry, he was divested of the Syria dossier in February 2014.

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