Bandar bin Sultan
Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (Template:Lang-ar, born March 2, 1949) is an influential Saudi politician and was Saudi ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005. He was appointed Secretary-General of the National Security Council by King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz on October 16, 2005.
Born in Taif, Saudi Arabia, Prince Bandar is a son of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. His mother was a family servant; under Sharia all sons have equal status. He received a Masters in International Public Policy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Prince Bandar's diplomatic experience began in 1978, when he successfully lobbied the United States Congress to approve the sale of F-15s to Saudi Arabia. In 1983 he was appointed ambassador to the United States.
Prince Bandar has formed close relationships with several American presidents, notably George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, who gave him the affectionate nickname "Bandar Bush". His friendship with Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne Cheney, extends to the years before Cheney took office as the United States Vice President. The close relationship with the Bush family is also described in Craig Unger's book House of Bush, House of Saud and is highlighted in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.
Prince Bandar has endured controversy over allegations in the book Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward that President George W. Bush informed him of the decision to invade Iraq ahead of Secretary of State Colin Powell. Also, the book alleged a deal had been worked out to reduce oil prices just ahead of the November 2004 election. Bandar publicly endorsed President Bush.
On June 26 2005, Prince Bandar reportedly submitted his resignation as ambassador to the United States for "personal reasons". Bandar's return to Saudi Arabia was announced weeks prior to the death of King Fahd upon which Bandar's father, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz became the nation's Crown Prince. It has been rumoured that Bandar's return was timed in order to secure a position in the new government. In October 2005 he became the kingdom's national security chief.
After the ambassadorship
- Since Turki [Prince Turki al-Faisal] became ambassador, Bandar made several secret trips to the U.S., ostensibly to visit his palatial Aspen mansion [...] But Bandar had permission to land at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, ostensibly for refueling, which allowed him to move incognito to Camp David for meetings with National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley. Bandar also met with NSC Middle East Director Elliott Abrams, a prominent neocon.
Bandar is more "truculant" toward Iran than is Turki, his successor as U.S. ambassador (2005-2006), according to de Borchgrave, and Bandar even persuaded other high Saudi government officials to his point of view, including King Abdullah, Defense Minister Sultan, and Interior Minister Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, to his point of view that (in de Borchgrave's description) "nothing short of military action would deter Iran from becoming the world's 10th nuclear power."
- The Saudi Question: Who's Who: The House of Saud, Public Broadcasting Service's Wide Angle, broadcast 4 October 2004
- NBC: Saudi envoy to U.S. offers resignation, MSNBC 27 June, 2005.
- Bandar stays as envoy to US: Saudi, Gulf Times, 28 June, 2005
- Tensions remain among Saudi royals, BBC News, 1 August, 2005
- de Borchgrave, Arnaud, "Analysis: Arabian Medicis", article at UPI Web site, dated December 27, 2006, accessed December 29, 2006