King Bandar of Arabia
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King Bandar of Arabia

MER WEEKEND READING: See MER WORLD for major 3-part series of articles about Saudi Arabia and the U.S.


MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 2/16/2002: Is it cowardice or ignorance that lies behind the rule of Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia -- the man effectively in charge of the oil and petrodollar "Kingdom" at this crucial historic time? It's some of both actually. Cowardice because year after year, issue after issue, Abdullah always refuses to follow through on his well-known and often-stated convictions. True Abdullah sometimes articulates himself well, in private that is, and true he even begins to take steps to regain dignity and independence for "the Kingdom", as the expose this week in The Washington Post points out; but then he always backs off and never really follows through. Ignorance because just as King Fahd before him -- now essentially non-functional with more than two dozen mostly foreign physicians managing to keep him alive -- the de facto Saudi King has allowed the Kingdom's Playboy Ambassador in Washington to continue to manipulate crucial affairs in tandem with the Americans and the Israelis. Doing just that was what took place on matters of greatest historical importance back in 1990 when the Ambassador -- Bandar bin Sultan (son of the Defense Minister who is half-brother to Abdullah -- accompanied then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney (now the VIP) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell (now the Secretary of State) to Riyadh where deceptive information was purposefully presented to the Saudi Royals who were then informed the American Army was already on its way. Much the same took place early in the second Bush Presidency last year when it was Bandar, again cavorting with the same Washington team, once more mislead the Saudi Royals about what the Americans, and what their real ally Israelis, are really up to -- this after Abdullah tried to take serious steps to finally make it evident that the time had finally come for the Saudis to stop taking their orders from the Americans. Once you leave "the Kingdom" itself and travel to the seat of power here in Washington it is Prince Bandar who has built around himself a network of well-paid advisers, public relations firms, intelligence types, "client organizations", and political operatives which all combined give him more power and influence than Abdullah. He's been at it in Washington, and to a lesser degree in Europe, for more than twenty years now; often doing things that if they ever became publicly known would be quite scandalous -- both politically and personally. Furthermore, just as the Americans schemed to replace King Hussein in Amman with their man (another Abdullah in this case) rather than allow the long-in-waiting Crown Prince to take power, something similar but much more convoluted is afoot regarding the far more important country of Saudi Arabia. How long Fahd will remain alive is unknown of course. And whether half-brother Sultan, now the Defense Minister and Bandar's father (his mother was a servant woman) will ever be King after Abdullah is also unknown. What is happening however, no matter how much denied, is that Bandar has positioned himself with the Americans (and with the Israelis too for that matter with whom he has purposefully developed close personal behind-the-scenes dealings) so that if his father ever becomes King he can attempt to position himself to follow Sultan when the current Royal generation is no more. And if Sultan never does makes it to the throne and a power struggle breaks out for any reason, Bandar knows he has the support and resources of the American Empire at his disposal as does no one else. Bandar has already has a major influence in many quarters through his money-peddling schemes, including his control of various well-known organizations and personalities. But most of all it is Bandar's dealings with the Americans and with the Israelis that have given him such extraordinary power; and through which he has essentially become at crucial times their agent delegated to deal with the Saudi Royal family and make sure the oil and money and strategic capabilities of Saudi Arabia are used largely for U.S. purposes. More than any other Arab it was Bandar who helped bring about the Gulf War, the destruction of Iraq, and then the disastrous apartheid-like "Peace Process" which he personally helped engineer. Bandar should have been "recalled" and "reassigned" long ago; but the betting remains that Abdullah, like Fahd before him, has neither the courage nor the knowledge, and probably not even the power, to do so. The Washington Post series of articles this week should be read and pondered. But even with all three lengthy parts and extras, what the Post reports is hardly the complete story...not by far. There's very little detail about the hundreds of billions used to build up the huge military infrastructure in "the Kingdom" primarily for use by the Americans...started long before the Gulf War. There's hardly anything about the close under-the table relationship between the Saudis and the Israelis over the years, designed by Bandar primarily to try to safeguard the Saudi relationship with the US, especially with the Congress and the media -- an approach now in disastrous shambles. And there is a great deal of unreported looking the other way, "protection" if you will, when it comes to the largely hidden but extremely important role Bandar has tried to play in the affairs of Washington in so many political, media, and economic ways -- primarily of course by using the enticement of money to grease his way. Nearly everything Bandar has attempted is however now in crisis, or already destroyed, with the very future of Saudi rule of Arabia more in doubt than ever before and a tremendous legacy of loathing and hatred which the Playboy Ambassador and his constant excesses has helped generate. It was Bandar as well who had such a great influence in bringing about the serious political and strategic mistakes that in turn brought about the conditions that lead to the phenomena of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaida; but here too not much insight about these crucial developments that have now changed our world forever from the Post articles. But even so, there are in this series many insights and first-time public revelations important to know and understanding in this historically unique relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia; a relationship which has had such tremendously negative implications in so many ways for the people of the region from Algeria to Egypt, from Iraq to Iran, from Lebanon to Palestine. For it is in fact this U.S.-Saudi connection that has so benefited the U.S. over the years and in the end so harmed the people of the region -- except for the now shaking Royals who have siphoned away such grand fortunes into foreign which today represents the resources that really belonged all along to the Arab peoples and certainly not to much-despised Playboy Ambassadors like Bandar bin Sultan.

To read the series of articles about the U.S. and Saudi Arabia published in The Washington Post: http://www.MiddleEast.Org/world

Comment on these article(s)

February 2002


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