Bandar gets the boot as Saudi spy chief

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Rabi' al-Thani 21, 1435 2014-02-21

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

The uppity Bandar bin Sultan has been given the boot as Saudi spy chief. The Syrian file has been taken away from him and handed over to Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef in a clear indication that the Saudi regime has come around to accepting defeat in its destructive policy in Syria. It is trying to cut its losses and find a face-saving exit from the mess.

Washington DC, Crescent-online
Friday February 21, 2014, 08:57 EST

Saudi spy chief Bandar bin Sultan’s solo mission in backing terrorists in Syria has come crashing down, according to reports from Washington and Riyadh.

According to these reports, Bandar has been relieved of his duties as spymaster, especially in handling the Syria file where Saudi efforts to try and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Asad has been a total failure.

Far from achieving any results, flooding Syria with takfiri mercenaries, many from Saudi Arabia is likely to have serious repercussions for the kingdom al al-Qaeda in the early nineties once the war in Syria ends.

Saudi Arabia has assigned Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef to lead Riyadh’s anti-Damascus policies.

While shunning the publicity that Bandar is so fond of hogging, Mohammed bin Nayef has considerable experience in neutralizing extremists. This is what he was responsible for during the 1990s when his father, Nayef bin Abd al-Aziz was interior minister.

Mohammed bin Nayef was recently in the US and had meetings with officials from the White House as well as the State Department. American officials have made no secret of the fact that they were irked by Bandar’s public rebuke of Washington.

Media reports in the kingdom said the Saudi interior minister went to Washington to coordinate President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to Riyadh. This was only part of his mission.

The Washington Post reported on February 19 that Mohammed bin Nayef had recently represented Saudi Arabia at a conclave of Western and Arab spymasters in the United States, where he held talks with US National Security Adviser Susan Rice over the policies in Syria.

Washington insiders say American officials had asked for Bandar’s removal from the Syria file because he had failed completely. Unable to resist American demands, the Saudi king ordered the change. Bandar is said to be currently in Morocco where he has a palace and is probably recovering from serious back pain. Bandar also goes into bouts of depression.

The Wall Street Journal quoting a Saudi analyst serving as adviser to senior royals said the world will begin to see a “new strategy for Syria—quieter, more open, not too extreme. There will be more politics to it, and probably much less military.”

Does this mean that the Saudi regime has accepted defeat in Syria and is anxious to find a face-saving exit from the mess?


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