Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar assassinated, report says - 08-01-2012, 05:09 PM
Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:4AM GMT
Saudi Arabian spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been assassinated, a report says.
The Paris-based Voltaire Network confirmed the death of 63-year-old Prince Bandar on its website on Monday, citing unofficial sources.
The international non-profit organization, which publishes a free website (voltairenet.org) in eight languages, said that Prince Bandar was killed because of his role in the July 18 deadly bombing in Damascus.
The bombing killed at least four high-profile Syrian security officials, including Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha and his deputy Assef Shawkat who was also President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law.
However, there has been no confirmation or denial neither from Saudi officials nor from the Syrian government yet.Bandar, who was Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005, was named the kingdom’s Secretary General of the National Security Council in 2005. On 19 July 2012, he was appointed Director General of the Saudi Intelligence Agency by King Abdullah.
Many said his promotion was a reward for the role he played in organizing the attack in Damascus, the organization reported.GJH/AS
Saudi silence on intelligence chief Bandar’s fate denotes panic
DEBKAfile Special Report July 31, 2012, 1:52 PM (GMT+02:00) http://debka.com/article/22225/Saudi...-denotes-panic
Mystery over missing Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan
Disquiet in Washington, Jerusalem and a row of Middle East capitals is gaining ground the longer the Saudi government stays silent on the reports of the assassination of the newly-appointed Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, purportedly in a revenge operation by a Syrian intelligence death squad. If true, it would shoot a devastating tentacle out from the Syrian conflict to the broader region.
It is widely feared that Saudi rulers are too traumatized to respond by the fear of Iranian penetration of the highest and most closely guarded circles of Saudi government, possibly climaxing in Bandar’s assassination.
The unconfirmed reports of his death attribute its motive to revenge by Iran and Syria for the bomb explosion five days earlier in Damascus which killed four of Bashar Assad’s top managers of his war on the uprising against his regime.
The prince, son of the late crown prince Sultan, has not been seen in public since Saudi General Intelligence headquarters in Riyadh was hit by a bomb blast Monday, July 23 killing his deputy, Mashaal al-Qarni.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly 550 of Friday, July 26, was the first world publication to report this attack, in the face of a massive official blackout, from its exclusive intelligence sources.
Now as then, debkafile’s sources have obtained no confirmation that Prince Bandar was injured or killed in that attack. King Abdullah made him Director of Saudi Intelligence on July 19, just a day after the Damascus bombing. But our sources doubt whether a Syrian intelligence squad would be capable of reaching deep inside Riyadh. They therefore postulate that the deed was committed or orchestrated by a clandestine Iranian agency.
It wouldn’t be the first time.
In 2003 and 2004, Iran initiated a wave of bombing attacks inside the Saudi kingdom carried out by Al Qaeda, supplying its terror squads with intelligence, explosives and money. Al Qaeda experts ran those operations. One of them, Saif al-Adal, was later freed by Iran and is now based in Pakistan.
Iran’s terror masters may have gone back to their tested stratagem of hiring Al Qaeda terrorists for an insider job against the Saudi regime.
For Tehran, all means are justified for the preservation of their foremost Arab ally, Syrian ruler Bashar Assad, in power. Furthermore, Iran’s ability to strike deep into the heart of the Saudi capital is meant to serve as a timely object lesson for their Middle East enemies that Iran’s arm is long enough to reach inside any of their capitals.
The attack on Riyadh therefore throws a new perspective on the military calculations actuating the “Arab Spring” and governing US and Israel plans to strike Iran’s nuclear program in the very near future. In the same way, the Damascus bombing of July 18 dragged the Syrian civil war outside its borders to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Iran.
The unconfirmed report claiming Prince Bandar was critically injured and his doctors had lost the fight to save him, spilling out since Sunday July 29, has gained wide resonance – not because it was verified but because of its momentous strategic significance. Corroboration is still lacking. debkafile reports that Washington too is groping the dark and has turned to its many Middle East intelligence contacts for a glimmer of light on what has happened to the key Saudi figure – so far without success.
It looks as though the enigma will be solved one way or another only after an authoritative account or an official statement is forthcoming from the Saudi government or if the missing prince appears in public. The absence of any word from the Saudi government increases the trepidation in Washington and among concerned parties in the Middle East.
08-01-2012, 05:12 PM
Rumors fly of Bandar's death
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
ASPEN — In the newspaper business, the first rule about covering someone's death is to make sure of one thing: The person is actually dead. If a reporter is 99.9 percent certain a person is dead, that's not good enough, at least not for this publication.
With that ethical posturing out of the way, Prince Bandar bin Sultan — a man well known in Aspen circles because of his generosity to nonprofits, fat tips to ski instructors and other worker bees, and the palatial Starwood estate near Aspen that he recently sold for $49 million to hedge-funder John Paulson — is reported to have been assassinated.
At least that's the buzz online with a few news sites. Here are a few headlines from over the past 24 hours (as I'm writing this at 4:49 p.m. Tuesday).
• “Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar assassinated: report” — Tehran Times
• “Saudi silence on intelligence chief Bandar's fate denotes panic” — Debka.com
• “Report: Saudi intelligence chief murdered by Syrian hit men” — DigitalJournal.com
• “If This Story Is True Saudi Arabia Could Go to War With Iran” — Valuewalk.com
• “Has the New Saudi Spy Chief Been Whacked?” — GasestoneInstitute.org
It was the Tehran Times, which considers itself the voice of the Islamic Revolution, that broke the story. But there hasn't been a peep about Bandar's death from Al Jazeera, arguably the most credible news outlet in the Middle East.
Not a whimper from The New York Times or CNN, either, at least as this is being written.
The news outlets that are reporting his death, citing unnamed sources, say he “was killed because of his role in the July 18 deadly bombing in Damascus.” That Saudi Arabia won't give any confirmation or denial about Bandar, who was appointed as head of the Saudi intelligence agency a day after the bombing, only fuels the fire.
Bandar's Aspen attorney, William Jordan III, wasn't in his office Tuesday. High-ranking officials with the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday they hadn't heard about the alleged assassination of Bandar (I'm not exactly sure why they'd have a direct pipeline on the Saudi royal family, but it never hurts to ask).
In the meantime, we'll see how this whole thing plays out if it plays out at all.
08-01-2012, 06:58 PM
An enigmatic personality who has periodically vanished from the scene of politics in different junctures in time, Prince Bandar bin Sultan was appointed as the Director General of Saudi Arabia’s main intelligence agency on July 19, an appointment which took place at a critical time, namely when the unrest in Syria was growing gravely worrisome thanks to the influx of the Saudi-funded rebels infiltrating the Syrian soil.
Known as ‘Bandar Bush’ on account of his close ties with former US President George Bush, the prince-cum-spymaster is widely considered as a linchpin in CIA-Mossad dastardly subterfuges in Syria and Iran and his appointment to such a sensitive position is from an intelligence point of view regarded a strategic step to contribute to the materialization of these sinister plans.
On July 18, a blast rocked the headquarters of the National Security Bureau (NSB) in Damascus and killed President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law and Deputy Defense Minister Gen Assef Shawkat, Defense Minister Gen Daoud Rajiha, former Defense Minister Hassan Turkomani and NSB chief Hisham Ikhtiar.
The role of CIA and Mossad in Syria unrest is highlighted in an article dated July 18 by David Ignatius who is well-connected to intelligence sources, “The CIA has been working with the Syrian opposition for several weeks under a non-lethal directive that allows the United States to evaluate groups and assist them with command and control. Scores of Israeli intelligence officers are also operating along Syria’s border, though they are keeping a low profile.”
In view of the complicated nature of the terrorist attack, one cannot easily rule out the possibility of the CIA-Mossad joint operations.
A Wikileaks cable dated May 2, 2007 details how Mossad is contributing covert assistance to Saudi intelligence.
“MOSSAD is using Nicosia, Cyprus as a primary transit hub into Riyadh, to assist the Saudi intelligence services with intelligence collection and advice on Iran. Sources advised the Saudis are playing both sides of the fence -- with the jihadists and the Israelis -- for fear that the US does not have a handle on either. Several enterprising MOSSAD officers, both past and present, are making a bundle selling the Saudis everything from security equipment, intelligence and consultation.”
As a main game player in Syria crisis, the regime of Riyadh is reportedly exerting pressure on Jordan to create a buffer zone for the armed gangs and groups fighting to overthrow the anti-Israeli government of President Bashar Assad. According to a report in the al-Quds al-Arabi Daily, the Saudi monarchy is persuading Amman to join the anti-Syria war by cutting off its financial aid to the country. The Saudi spymaster Bandar Bin Sultan is tasked with forcing Jordanian kingdom to agree to host the Free Syrian Army on its soil in return for the aid. In line with this development, Bandar bin Sultan has secretly met with top Jordanian security and military officials along with Saudi Crown Prince Salman Abdul Aziz over the issue.
Saudi Arabia has long been working on a plan to overthrow the regime in Syria and sabotage the Islamic Republic through Bandar bin Sultan who served as the Saudi ambassador to the US from 1983 to 2005. In 2006, Bandar visited Washington a couple of times and discussed the Bush administration’s plan for a new strategy in the Middle East with former Vice president **** Cheney and Bush’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy Elliott Abrams.
The two neocons together with the prince had wrought out a fiendishly meticulous plan to bring about changes to the satisfaction of the US government and the Saudi kingdom. Part of their grand scheme was to bring about regime changes in Syria and Iran and impose a rotten American version of democracy in the two countries. For his part, Bandar had given them assurances that the Saudi monarchy would wholeheartedly favor this plot. To this end, the Saudi Kingdom has since then spent a deluge of dollars on carrying out covert operations in Iran and Syria with the assistance of CIA (See The King's Messenger: Prince Bandar bin Sultan and America's Tangled Relationship With Saudi Arabia by David B. Ottaway and David B Ottaway p. 257).
With the flourish of Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East, Saudi Arabia found quite a good excuse to foment unrest in Syria with the help of the al-Qaeda elements who were readily at its disposal, innocuously attribute it to another popular uprising in the region and pave the ground for a regime change in Syria. Bandar bin Sultan, who is the secret architect of this crisis, reappeared in his new capacity as the Saudi superspy to accomplish this long-entertained plot. In this unholy cause they started championing, they saw fit to factor in other intelligence agencies such as Mossad and CIA in order to make sure their modus operandi would raise no suspicious whatsoever.
As time passes and the situation in Syria unravels, the satanic role of Prince Bandar bin Sultan in stoking up chaos in the crisis-ravaged country under the aegis of the Saudi monarchy becomes more crystallized and the thickening plot to overthrow the Syrian regime under the banner of a popular uprising starts to surface.
Ismail Salami is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Ismail Salami
08-01-2012, 07:12 PM
Though not yet announced by the Saudi authorities, the death of Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been confirmed to Voltaire Network by unofficial souces.
Prince Bandar had just been appointed head of Saudi intelligence on July 24: a promotion which was interpreted as a reward for having organized the attack in Damascus on July 18. The Saudi services, with logistical support from the CIA, had managed to blow up the headquarters of the Syrian National Security during a Crisis Cell meeting: Generals Assef Chaoukat, Daoud Rajha and Hassan Tourkmani were killed instantly. General Amin Hicham Ikhtiar died soon after from his wounds. This operation, called "Damascus Volcano" was the signal for the attack on the capital by a swarm of mercenaries, mainly coming from Jordan.
Prince Bandar was himself the target of a bomb attack on July 26, and subsequently succumbed to his injuries.
A brilliant and cynical personality, Prince Bandar was 63 years old. He was the son of Prince Sultan (irremovable defense minister from 1963 until his death in 2011) and of a slave. Confidant of King Fahd, Bandar was ambassador to Washington throughout his reign (1983-2005). He became close to George H. Bush (then Vice-President of the United States), who regarded him as an "adopted son," prompting the U.S. press to dub him "Bandar Bush". Endowed with an outstanding genius for covert action, he brokered the Al-Yamamah arms deal, managing to divert more than one billion pounds, according to British official sources. He then used this windfall, and many more, to finance the activities of jihadist groups around the world, including Al Qaeda.
In early 2010, Prince Bandar attempted to overthrow King Abdullah to place his own father on the throne. The plot failed and he was banished from the kingdom, but the monarch’s declining health enabled him to return to Saudi Arabia a year later. Since the death of Prince Sultan in October 2011, he had become the de facto leader of the Sudairi clan, the hawkish wing within the royal family.
His death constitutes a serious blow to the whole system of Western covert action in the Muslim world. It took Syria only one week to mount this spectacular reprisal operation.
08-01-2012, 07:40 PM
y AL ARABIYA WITH REUTERS
Saudi Arabia’s prince with the twinkling eye, hawkish views and fondness for the Dallas Cowboys football team is back, now heading the kingdom’s intelligence agency.
On Thursday night Prince Bandar bin Sultan was appointed Saudi Arabia’s new spy chief at a moment when the world’s top oil exporter is engaged in a bitter rivalry with Shiite Muslim power Iran played out in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain.
The sociable Bandar, 63, who vanished from public view when he was recalled from Washington by King Abdullah in 2005 after notching up 22 years as the kingdom’s ambassador there, will immediately be thrust into a game-changing Middle East crisis.
“He’s just the right person for the right time in Saudi. They have a more hawkish foreign policy and he’s the leading hawk of the House of Saud,” said David Ottaway, Bandar’s biographer and a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.
The United States’ closest Arab ally is a firm supporter of the Syrian rebels now battling in Damascus to oust President Bashar al-Assad and is mending fences with Washington after a disagreement over last year's Arab uprisings.
“Bandar is quite aggressive, not at all like a typical cautious Saudi diplomat. If the aim is to bring Bashar down quick and fast, he will have a free hand to do what he thinks necessary. He likes to receive an order and implement it as he sees fit,” said Jamal Khashoggi, an influential Saudi commentator.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has described arming the rebels as “a very good idea.”
As Syria’s crisis enters a potentially decisive stage in the aftermath of Thursday’s assassination of top security chiefs in a bomb blast, Riyadh’s princely rulers are concerned about blowback from Assad’s allies in Iran.
With Syria in flames, Iraq still weak and Egypt navigating an uncertain transition towards democracy, Saudi Arabia now stands alone as the Arab world's most stable major nation.
Ottaway said Bandar had previously negotiated with both Syria and Iran, as well as with Russia, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council that has vetoed resolutions against the Assad government written by Riyadh.
“He wants to see Saudi Arabia flex its muscles, particularly if the Americans are there with him,” he added.
Bandar’s close ties to American politicians and officials, including a personal friendship with both presidents Bush, has also fuelled speculation that his appointment is aimed at bolstering Saudi Arabia’s key alliance at a turbulent time.
“Bandar is the ultimate shuttle diplomat. I think he is in a position to play a role perhaps beyond his portfolio in gathering coalitions and persuading reluctant partners and solidifying those who are of a like mind,” said Robert Jordan, U.S. ambassador to Riyadh from 2001-03.
Bandar’s plump form and goatee-beard were a common sight in the White House of successive administrations, both at the alliance’s apotheosis during the 1990-91 Gulf War, and its nadir following al-Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the United States, in which 15 of the 19 aircraft hijackers were Saudi citizens.
Yet despite his ostensibly high birth as a son of Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, a ruling family powerbroker and defense minister for five decades, Prince Bandar’s rise to prominence was never assured.
Instead of working royal connections to secure the plum post of Washington ambassador, he joined the air force, eventually heading its aerial acrobatics team, and fell in love with the United States during a training mission.
“He grew up feeling he had to prove himself. Probably the reason he became a pilot was because it didn’t matter if you were a prince or a peasant to how good a pilot you were,” said Ottaway.
In repeated visits he built a close rapport with American officials, catching the eye of his uncle, King Fahd, who appointed the bon vivant ambassador in 1983.
“Flamboyant, dramatic, personable, smart, canny and probably manipulative,” was the judgment of General Brent Scowcroft, National Security Adviser to the first President George Bush.
At times this flamboyance caused difficulties -- he was sometimes seen to make policy on the hoof independent of Riyadh, causing friction with other officials.
“But he’s a practical man. I’m sure for a position such as this he will not carry out a policy shift without checking with the king first,” said Khashoggi.
That independent streak also helped stirred rumors after he was recalled to Riyadh by King Abdullah in 2005 that he was out of favor. In fact, said Ottaway, Bandar’s effective disappearance from public life was simply a question of health. “He was in hospitals and spa treatments a lot,” he said.
08-01-2012, 07:40 PM
Since yesterday, the least reliable news sources in the world--namely the Tehran Times and the pro-Assad Voltaire Network--have been reporting that the newly-appointed Saudi Arabian spy chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has been assassinated. I wasn't taking these reports seriously at all, given that they're emerging from what are indeed the least reliable news sources in the world. But it's now 7:00 pm here in Istanbul, and I'm still not seeing any sign of the man. You'd think he'd want to dispel this story by showing his face, wouldn't you?
Bandar, as the National describes him, is "a former fighter pilot, an avid fan of American football and one of the most renowned networkers ever to work the corridors of power in Washington." But he's also, according to rumor, a few tiger tokens short of a toaster:
Where does one start? Bandar certainly used to be a firm pair of hands, but recently that grasp has been shakier. Although Bandar endeared himself to successive U.S. administrations for being able to get things done -- as well as the sumptuous parties he hosted at his official residence in Virginia overlooking the Potomac -- the prevailing story about him recently has been about his mental state. William Sampson, a (friendly) biographer, noted that Bandar's "first period of full-blown depression" came in the mid-1990s. Another biographer, David Ottaway, described Bandar as a "more than occasional drinker," and most conversations about him seemed to revolve around, only partly mischievously, whether he had finished detoxification or not.
If he hasn't made an appearance by tomorrow, perhaps we should take the rumors a little more seriously. Maybe he has been whacked--which would be very serious indeed, for all the obvious reasons.
Or perhaps Bandar's on a bender? That wouldn't be good, either.
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