Prince Bandar bin Sultan replaced at his own request, reportedly after being sidelined in Saudi response to Syria crisis
Saudi Arabia has appointed a new intelligence chief to replace Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the official news agency SPA has announced.
It said Bandar was “exempted … from his position at his own request” and replaced by his deputy, Yousef al-Idrissi.
Bandar, a former ambassador to the United States, is widely regarded as among the most influential powerbrokers in the Middle East and headed the kingdom’s response to the Syrian conflict.
He went abroad for several months for health reasons, and diplomats said he had been sidelined in Saudi efforts to support Syrian rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
They said the Syria file had been transferred to the interior minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who cracked down on al-Qaida following a wave of deadly attacks in the Gulf state between 2003 and 2006.
Bandar’s management of the Syria file had triggered American criticism, diplomats said. The prince himself reproached Washington for its decision not to intervene militarily in Syria and for preventing its allies from providing rebels with weapons, according to diplomats.
Media run by the Syrian regime and its allies in Lebanon have repeatedly lashed out at Bandar, accusing him of supporting Sunni Islamist radicals in Syria.
theguardian.com, Tuesday 15 April 2014 20.05 BST
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