World Bulletin / News Desk
Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the architect of Riyadh's attempts to bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been removed from his post earlier this month.
His departure, months after he was quoted warning of a "major shift" from the United States over its Middle East policy, is believed to be an attempt help to smooth relations with Washington as Riyadh pushes for more U.S. support for Syrian rebels.
According to a report in 5pillarz, Bandar was dismissed because of 'the big fear is that the “moderate” Islamists are losing ground to the most extreme jihadi groups', which he is accused of supporting.
Prince Bandar, who has recently spent time in the United States and Morocco for medical treatment, was replaced on an interim basis by a deputy.
"Prince Bandar was relieved of his post at his own request and General Youssef al-Idrissi was asked to carry out the duties of the head of general intelligence," state news agency SPA said, citing a royal decree.
The decree did not say if Prince Bandar would continue in his other position as head of the National Security Council.
A former ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar was appointed intelligence chief in July 2012, in charge of helping Syrian rebels bring down Assad, an ally of Riyadh's biggest regional rival Iran.
While serving as ambassador to the U.S., he is believed to have played a key role in the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 to protect Saudi interests in Kuwait.
He was also closely involved in Saudi support for Egypt's military rulers after they ousted first freely elected president Mohamed Morsi last year, diplomatic sources in the Gulf have said.Last Mod: 21 Nisan 2014, 17:37