Is This Man the Key to Taking Down Assad?
Assad warns US intervention will fail 'like Vietnam'
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2013 5:03 AM CDT
Updated Aug 26, 2013 6:16 AM CDT
A UN team scheduled to investigate an alleged chemical attack leaves a Damascus hotel today.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – As the US weighs military action in Syria, the Saudis have put one of the Arab world's canniest geopolitical operators in charge of their attempts to oust Bashar al-Assad, the Wall Street Journal finds. Prince Bandar bin Sultan—the kingdom's current intelligence chief and its ambassador to the US from 1983 until 2005—helped the CIA arm Afghan rebels in the '80s and is now helping funnel money and arms to Syrian rebels, while other influential Saudis lobby for more US involvement.

Sources say Bandar has spearheaded Saudi Arabia's new strategy to aid the rebels from bases in Jordan instead of Turkey, and the CIA is now helping train handpicked rebels at a base in Jordan—something the Jordanian government firmly denies. According to Arab diplomats, the prince visited key Assad ally Vladimir Putin last month and warned him that Saudi Arabia was willing to spend as much as it takes for the side it supports to win—just like when it funded anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan. Bandar is also highly regarded among US officials because of a personal story that is, as the Journal puts it, "so American." His mother was a commoner, and he worked up through the royal ranks to become a heavyweight. He was also educated in America, and owns a personal jet painted in Dallas Cowboys colors.

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Showing 3 of 33 comments
Aug 26, 2013 12:11 PM CDT
Don't know what the Saudis are thinking here? I guess they just don't like Assad? I don't think the rebels are any improvement over Assad though. I would hope at this point anyway we just stay out of Syria and let Syrians settle this civil war.
Aug 26, 2013 12:10 PM CDT
All right, the same guy who helped arm and train Bin Laden is now helping us into our latest debacle. Anyone see a pattern here?
Aug 26, 2013 9:26 AM CDT
it is NOT the people of the US who are weighing anything. It is the omnipotent geniuses in government who understand all things so much better than we do. If we had their wisdom we would stop eating, stop heating our homes and donate the money to the government. Repeal the Patriot Act; dismantle Deutschland Security; restore our late constitution.