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For 22 years — until 2005 — he was Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington. Since then, he’s been out of the picture. Until recently, says Jackson Diehl at the Washington Post:

In the past month Bandar has held three meetings with the Iranian national security chief, Ali Larijani, most recently last Wednesday in Riyadh. He’s met twice with Vladimir Putin, in Moscow and Riyadh, to talk about Middle East affairs; overseen talks between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leaders; and quietly shuttled to Washington to brief President Bush. He helped broker this month’s Palestinian accord on a unity government as well as a Saudi-Iranian understanding to cool political conflict in Lebanon. And he’s been talking with the most senior officials of the Iranian and U.S. governments about whether there’s a way out of the standoff over Iran’s nuclear weapon.

[ . . . ] In his last visit to Washington he offered a rosy report on his travels. Iran, he assured his American friends, had been taken aback by President Bush’s recent shows of strength in the region, by the failure of his administration to collapse after midterm elections and by the unanimous passage of a U.N. resolution imposing sanctions on Tehran for failing to stop its nuclear program. The mullahs, he said, were worried about Shiite-Sunni conflict spreading from Iraq around the region, and about an escalating conflict with the United States; they were interested in tamping both down.

Bandar and Larijani already worked to stop incipient street fighting between Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement and pro-Western Sunni and Christian parties several weeks ago. But the Saudis have bigger plans: Bandar reported to Washington that he’s hoping to split Iran from Syria — reversing the maneuver that Egypt tried. The means would be a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran over a Lebanese settlement that included authorization of a U.N. tribunal to try those responsible for the murder of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. That would be poison to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who almost certainly was behind the murder.

How much of this is true? I don’t know — Diehl doesn’t mention his sources. But it sure makes for an interesting story.

Cross-posted at American Future.

  • http://none sid davisson

    Very interesting.How long before mainstream broadcast media picks-up this info?

  • Confused

    Sid,

    To answer your question, judging by the amount of air time spent on Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Simpson, not any time soon. The mainstream media is in the business to make money and the gossip column attracts a lot of consumers.

  • bob in fl

    Very interesting, indeed. In spite of their differences, the 2 major players in the region could both benefit from an agreement to lessen the conflict there Isolating Syria & Hezbollah, who are no serious threat to either, makes sensefor both countries. Further cooperation over Iraq could conceivably lessen tensions there, to the economic benefit of both. Most importantly, with a truce between them, US influence would be reduced in the area & in the UN.

    History shows Arab & Persian cooperation works. OPEC, founded in 1972 (?), is the best example. By all members cutting production, the oil producing nations sent crude oil prices to its highest level, before & since (adjusting for inflation.) Their national treasuries grew at an astounding rate. Of course, since then, the West has played the divide & conquer game, bringing prices down to a degree.

    The only reason gas prices aren’t over $4/ gallon here is because Saudi Arabia & the smaller crude exporting nations have been running at almost full production. In exchange, the US offers security guarantees, which will become useless if the US establishes a strong presence there. The Shah & Saddam are examples, which the countries left there will not forget. Who wouldn’t choose to negotiate with a neighbor who has not invaded other countries in the region over foreigners who keep abandoning former & invading former allies?

  • bob in fl

    On to the media. The Washington Post is one of the papers who are least controlled by large corporations. Most of the media will not carry this story. NBC is owned by one of the top 5 defense contractors in the world. Why would they wish to decrease their bottom line? Why would Fox? If peace broke out, telecommunications’ profits would tumble due to lack of viewer interest. Britanny & Anna Nicole cannot make up that kind of revenue.

  • Lucky

    Bandar is so full of hot air one can’t believe much about other than his inflated sense of self.