International affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe has reported on the doings of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief, since the prince was a fixture in the American administrations of Ronald Reagan and both Bushes. “Many saw him as a pernicious influence on these Republican administrations,” writes Manthorpe in today’s column — especially in the hours after 9/11. His new column examines why the prince’s career finally hit the skids — and the role of Syria. An excerpt:
The sacking of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, is public acknowledgement that the strategy for ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad has not only failed, but spawned a new generation of skilled Islamic terrorists.
The departure of Prince Bandar on Wednesday was announced in a brief statement from the royal palace of Saudi King Adbullah, the prince’s uncle. It is the end of a career that has been a major influence on relations with the United States and Washington’s approach to the Middle East for several decades.
For 22 years until 2005, Prince Bandar was the Saudi ambassador to Washington. He charmed and smarmed his way into close relations with both President Ronald Reagan and both presidents George Bush. Indeed, he became such a fixture in the retinues of those administrations that he was often called “Bandar Bush.”
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