Hot and Cold Running Bandar

Yesterday, just weeks after the time Al Arabiya announced Prince Bandar bin Sultan would resume his duties as head of Saudi intelligence (and therefore the mastermind of the Saudi-backed effort to oust Bashar al-Assad), Bandar was replaced by a little-known deputy.

He had resumed his position in March, just two days before the President visited the Kingdom.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan is on his way back to Riyadh where he will resume his tasks as head of Saudi Intelligence,reported news portal NOW Lebanon.

An informed Saudi source confirmed the report to Al Arabiya News.

“This is without doubt bad news for Tehran, Damascus and Hezbollah, particularly that anti-Saudi media has been propagating false information for the past two months that Prince Bandar’s absence has been due to his dismissal and due to a Saudi decision to back away from its policies regarding the regional conflict,” said the source in Riyadh.

The source confirms that Prince Bandar has actually been away due to medical reasons, however, he has resumed his activities this week from the Moroccan city of Marrakesh; where he has been recovering and where he has met with former Lebanese PM Saad Hariri and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed.

But today he’s out.

Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan has been relieved of his post at his request, the official Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday.

The royal decree announcing that Prince Bandar was stepping down as president of General Intelligence gave no reasons for the move. He has been replaced by General Yousef Al Idrissi, the decree said.

I’m not sure anyone knows what these tea leaves mean. It may be that the “shoulder” injury Bandar had been treated for remains a serious health issue. It may be that — as one piece suggested — he retains some power here and has not ceded it back to Mohammed bin Nayef, who had taken over before Bandar’s return in March. It may be that this and King Abdullah’s designation of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz as second in succession were done to time with Obama’s visit, to signal that America’s more favored successor, Mohammed bin Nayef, was not going to take over any time soon.

But it also comes among two other developments that may be related. First, since about the beginning of the year and increasingly in recent weeks, the Saudis are actually cracking down on terrorism, both real — including those who went to fight in Syria — and imagined. Perhaps the former, too, was a show for the US. But it did seem to reflect some concerns that Saudi efforts in Syria were increasing security concerns for the Kingdom (as well as other countries in the region and not).

Perhaps most interesting, however, is that the same day that Bandar got “sacked” videos started showing opposition figures in Syria with US made anti-tank missiles, which is the kind of thing Bandar has decades of experience arranging. We’ll see whether those disappear like Bandar or represent a new escalation of efforts to oust Assad.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+1Email to someone

11 Responses to Hot and Cold Running Bandar

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel Happy Monday. When the world became safe for serial fraudster and money laundering accomplice HSBC again.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @BobbyChesney: @bmaz They seem to have wanted to maximize impression of constraint, but w/out paying full price in practice. I'm sensing…
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @lawfareblog: Robert Chesney: "Waiving the "Imminent Threat" Test for CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan?" http://t.co/yxKjG6CQBG
7hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @BobbyChesney Works as a PR salve for a complicit and unrestrained Executive Branch?
8hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @BobbyChesney: Big issue this story raises: what work does the "imminent threat" test really do when "imminent" means "continuing"? http…
8hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz .@BobbyChesney @adamentous If there can be such a blanket, non-specific "waiver" on "imminent threat", then there is no requirement at all.
8hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @dpottzzz @william_pitts I dunno, I think this is yet another thing I can hold over @AZ_Dream_Killer #GoDevils
8hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @MikeBerco: I have no idea what I'm watching on ESPN2 right now... But GO DEVILS!! #HeroesOfTheDorm
8hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @william_pitts: The best part of #HeroesOfTheDorm ? U of A probably sucks at it too. #GODEVILS
8hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz No clue what this is, but I bet @Popehat would grok it.
8hreplyretweetfavorite
April 2014
S M T W T F S
« Mar   May »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930