UPDATE: 17 April 2014 – Royal decree exempts Prince Bandar – kingdom’s pointman on Syrian conflict – “from his position at his own request”.
Saudi Arabia has replaced intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the kingdom’s pointman on the Syrian conflict, “at his own request”, according to the official news agency.
In a royal decree, Bandar was “exempted … from his position at his own request” and replaced by his deputy, Yousef al-Idrissi, the news service reported on Tuesday. Bandar, a former ambassador to the US, is widely regarded as among the most influential power brokers in the Middle East.
But he went abroad for several months for health reasons, with diplomats saying he had been sidelined in Saudi efforts to support rebels battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
According The International Business Times, in response to the operation that took place in Damascus on July 18 after which the four senior staff officials of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad were killed (including Defence Minister Dawoud Rajiha), Syrian Intelligence had succeeded the assassination of Saudi spy chief, Prince
Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Quoting sources from a Parisian newspaper, IBT said that Bandar was killed in a bomb attack on July 28, 2012. Mention that there is no official source to confirm these assumptions.
Well, a couple of days after the attack on the Syrian security headquarters, Iranian PressTV reported that was an attack on the Saudi security headquarters. But they said that “deputy of newly-appointed Saudi intelligence-chief Prince Bandar has been killed according to some accounts and that attack seems to have been meant for Prince Bandar himself”.
However, we noticed that the news about the assassination of Bandar comes on the announcement that the U.S. Justice Department is determined to continue its investigation in (the same) Prince Bandar case (where he is accused of receiving bribes from the largest arms dealer in the United Kingdom, BAE Systems, with the complicity of officials from the Ministry of Defence of United Kingdom). Investigations were opened first in the UK in 2006 and subsequently extended to U.S., but then at the request of former Prime Minister Tony Blair case was closed. “The Saudi Prince, who spent at least 20 years as the Saudi ambassador to the United States, received GBP hundreds of millions in bribes by the British contractor with the full knowledge of British Ministry of Defense”, a report by state-run broadcaster BBC revealed for the first time in 2007. The money was channeled to Prince Bandar’s account through a US bank in Washington for over a decade.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States between 1983 and 2005. He was appointed Saudi intelligence chief last month, reportedly a reward for having orchestrated the Damascus attack. Citing a royal decree, the official Saudi Press Agency announced on Thursday (17 July 2012) the replacement of Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz with the former envoy, Prince Bandar bin Sultan. “Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz has been deposed from his current post and appointed as the king’s advisor and special envoy” the Saudi state TV reported.
Update: Saudi officials have denied the veracity of this information.