Aug. 13, 2013
By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times Online

Talk about The Comeback Spy. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush (for Dubya he was like family), spectacularly resurfaced after one year in speculation-drenched limbo (was he or was he not dead, following an assassination attempt in July 2012). And he was back in the limelight no less than in a face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Saudi King Abdullah, to quote Bob Dylan, “is not busy being born, he’s busy dying”. At least he was able to pick up a pen and recently appoint Bandar as head of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate; thus in charge of the joint US-Saudi master plan for Syria.

The four-hour meeting between Bandar Bush and Vlad the Hammer by now has acquired mythic status. Essentially, according to diplomatic leaks, Bandar asked Vlad to drop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and forget about blocking a possible UN Security Council resolution on a no-fly zone (as if Moscow would ever allow a replay of UN resolution 1973 against Libya). In return the House of Saud would buy loads of Russian weapons.

Vlad, predictably, was not impressed. Not even when Bandar brazenly insisted that whatever form a post-Assad situation would take, the Saudis will be “completely” in control. Vlad – and Russian intelligence – already knew it. But then Bandar went over the top, promising that Saudi Arabia would not allow any Gulf Cooperation Council member country – as in Qatar – to invest in Pipelineistan across Syria to sell natural gas to Europe and thus damage Russian – as in Gazprom’s – interests.

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