Subject: MIRA's Arabia Unveiled: Prince of the Month: Bandar bin Sultan

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Source: Arabia Unveiled
Issue: No. 4, February 1997; a service of MIRA (Movement for Islamic
Reform in Arabia)
Title: Prince of the Month: Bandar bin Sultan
Email: <[email protected]>


Links to Itha`at Sawt al-'Islah (Radio Voice of Reform), MIRA's propaganda
radio (which includes both fixed programs - interviews on the foundation
and policies of the movement - and weekly transmissions)  and their
English newly updated _Arabia Unveiled_ are now available via the MSANEWS
Launch pad. (eds.) 


* Bandar bin Sultan: The unlikely mix of Saudi Ambassador and CIA agent


For those who know him, Bandar has grown up unhappy and deprived of any
real fatherly love. His mother was a slave girl of Sudanese origin, which
caused his father to steer clear of him. Because of the status of his
mother, his father, Defense Minister Sultan has for a long time denied
that Bandar was his son. So intense was Sultan's irrational behavior that
he thought that Bandar would grow up with a slave mentality. Sultan only
refrained from disowning Bandar as a result of King Faisal's intervention.

Bandar was born in 1950 and, owing to his father's rejection spent most of
his childhood with his uncles. He would only meet other members of his
family on special occasions such as at gatherings at his aunt Hissa
al-Sudeiriyah. He also made good childhood relationships with the Sudeiri
children, such as his half brothers Fahd bin Sultan (born in 1953) and
Khalid bin Sultan (1949) and also with his cousins Mohammed bin Fahd
(1948), Sultan bin Fahd (1951) and Su'ud bin Nayef (1955).

At the insistence of, his now mature child and Bandar's uncles, Sultan
eventually agreed to meet Bandar and patched up his relationship with him. 
To Sultan's surprise, the unwanted child showed a high level of
intelligence, which he had developed in the company of the Sudanese in
whose company he grew up after being rejected by his other brothers. 

Bandar was then sent to attend American schools along with the other
Sudeiri children. In 1967, he joined the British Air Force Academy in
Cornwall. After his graduation he was sent for further training in
American air bases in Texas and in Carolina. At the end of his air force
training, Bandar joined John Hopkins University in the United States where
he graduated four years later in International Relations and Politics.

Bandar's relations with the United States started under the Presidency of
Jimmy Carter where he built up strong ties with Carter's collaborators,
Hamilton Jordan and Robert Strauss. He thus, gradually eased himself into
the position of intermediary between his country and the American
Administration by conveying messages and views between the two sides.

In 1979, during a trip to the United States, Bandar paid a visit to
President Jimmy Carter who stressed his country's strong relationship with
Saudi Arabia and promised assistance to Riyadh if the Iran-Iraq war
threatened the Saudi Kingdom.

Following Iran's initial victories over Iraq and the occupation of part of
the Basra area by Iranian troops, the United States sent on 28th September
1981 a delegation to Arabia headed by General David Jones, joint Chief of
Staff, to convey to them that the turn of the war was worrying Washington
who feared the fall of the House of Saud. The American delegation was
welcomed at Dahran Airport by Prince Fahd bin Abdallah and Prince Bandar
who was then promoted to the position of commander of a squadron of jet

The House of Saud, which was already alarmed by Iranian victories over
Iraq, enabled Bandar to play a key role in acquiring AWACS radar planes. 
Requested by Bandar, General David Jones conveyed to the Carter
Administration the Saudi need for the AWACS, but the pro-Zionist lobby in
Congress opposed the sale of AWACS to an Arab country on the grounds that
it this would constitute a threat to Israel. 

But months later, the Saudi's felt an even greater need for the AWACS. 
They needed someone who could convince Washington of such an urgent need
and give assurances that the radar planes would not be a threat to the
Zionist State. The House of Saud agreed that the man tailor-made for this
mission was Bandar, who indeed succeeded and thus, Arabia obtained the
American-manned AWACS. 

His success earned him the promotion of Ambassador to Washington. Bandar
soon became very friendly with the Head of Operations at the CIA who was
in charge of contacting foreign diplomatic missions in Washington. He
reportedly involved himself in CIA activities and surprised diplomats with
lavish parties organized by his wife Fiha, daughter of Faisal bin
Abdelaziz in defiance to the Kingdom's traditions and moral code. 

One of the missions entrusted to Bandar was to find a solution to the
Palestinian issue and the recognition of Israel by the Arab States. Being
involved with the CIA, Bandar also played a role in the Western Sahara in
favor of Morocco in its dispute with Spain. Similarly, he played a role
in the Lebanese conflict and was in charge of supplying the Phalangist
movement with Saudi arms and armored vehicles through Port Said and via
Malta, but his plan was frustrated when the Maltese authorities
intercepted the ship. 

In the Lebanon hostage crisis he stated to Al-Sharq al-Awsat (25/02/85) 
that he was making every effort to obtain the release of the hostages. In
Sudan, he intervened on the side of the separatists of the South and
provided them with financial and medical assistance. His relationship with
the CIA led him to becoming entrusted with a mission to assassinate Sheikh
Fadlallah of the Lebanese Hisbullah but the bomb intended to kill the man
missed its target. Bandar also involved himself in many other murky
affairs such as with the Nicaraguan Contras. 

Saudi Ambassador and CIA agent - What a nice mix ! 

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               / /|_/ /\ \/ __ |/    / _/ | |/ |/ /\ \  
              /_/  /_/___/_/ |_/_/|_/___/ |__/|__/___/  

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