KSA: New Director for Spy Agency
Former Saudi envoy to Washington Prince Bandar bin Sultan has been named the new chief of the Kingdom’s intelligence agencies, replacing Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz who has been criticized lately for his handling of some sensitive issues.
Prince Muqrin becomes advisor to the King Abdullah while Mr. Bandar, a popular diplomat in the US and the West, will keep his post of secretary general of the National Security Council.
These key-nominations come amid growing tension and clashes between Sunni Saudi authorities and Shiite minority in some regions of the oil-rich monarchy.
Prince Bandar served as ambassador to the U.S. from 1983 to 2005, a period that includes landmark events such as the first Gulf War and the 9/11 terrorists attacks on the United States.
During his two decade mission in Washington, Mr. Bandar developed close ties with U.S. leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties as well as with influential senators. He is best known as a successful businessman and a diplomatic broker. He played a crucial role in bringing closer Washington and Riyadh in the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
According to some experts, Bandar comeback as intelligence head may be a sign that the Saudis are looking forward to play a more influential role in the tumultuous Arab Spring as Russia and China continue to protect Assad , while defiant Iran is developing its nuclear capacities, threatening regional stability.
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