Bandar bin Sultan: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Policy Architect Power Broker Ambassador
Bandar bin Sultan, member of the House of Saud was Saudi Arabia’s most influential ambassador to the United States also served as Secretary General of the National Security Council and was King Abdullah’s special envoy.
Early Childhood Life
Bandar bin Sultan was born on March 2, 1949 to Sultan bin Abdulaziz and Khiziran in Taif, Saudi Arabia.
Bandar bin Sultan is a graduate of Royal Air Force College Cranwell in the class of 1968.
Bandar went on to graduate school for a master’s degree in International Public Policy at the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Prince Bandar diplomatic career kicked off as the King’s personal envoy in 1978. The Prince lobbied for approval of a series of successful deals with the United States during his tenure as ambassador of Saudi Arabia to USA.
In the USA the Prince was instrumental in President Jimmy Carter’s Panama Canal Treaty. This led to Bandar’s appointment by King Fahd as emissary to Carter granting him permission to act independently of Saudi Arabia –US ambassador.
King Fahd made Prince Bandar the military attaché at the Saudi Embassy in 1982. King Fahd appointed Prince Bandar as Saudi Arabia Ambassador to the United States in 1983.
During Bandar’s time in office as the King’s personal envoy to Washington, and Ambassador the Prince rubbed shoulders with five US Presidents, ten secretaries of state, eleven national security advisors, according the Prince, extensive influence in the United States foreign policy.
During the Bush Administration, Prince Bandar recommended “military action against Iraq and supported Dick Cheney’s agenda for “The New Middle East.”.
In the Clinton Administration, Bandar persuaded “President Muammar Gaddafi to turn in two suspects allegedly involved in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.”
Bandar resigned as ambassador of United States on June 20, 2005. Despite leaving ambassador post, Prince Bandar continued to maintain strong relationships with the Bush Administration and high ranking White House Staff and influenced decisions at the international and national level.
King Abdullah appointer Bandar bin Sultan as secretary-general of the newly created Saudi National Security Council in October 2005.
Prince Bandar visited Damascus and met President Bashar Assad within a month of his appointment as secretary General of National Security Council.
Bandar held talks with Hezbollah leaders, to iron out Lebanon crisis during Iran itinerary discussions in 2007.
Speculation surrounding Prince Bandar’s two year disappearance from public life became the subject of debate in the corridors of power creating unprecedented media frenzy.
In 2011, Bandar was sent to Pakistan, India, Malaysia and China to garner support for Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Bahrain.
On 19 July 2012, Bandar bin Sultan was appointed director general of Saudi Intelligence Agency replacing Muqrin bin Abdulaziz. “Prince Bandar organized the visit of Manaf Tlass, who defected from Syria on 6 July 2012, to Saudi Arabia in the last week of July 2012.”
Bandar’s excellent negotiation skills came handy in sealing the 1985 Al Yamamah deal, a series of massive arms sales by the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia worth GB£40 billion (US$80 billion).
Prince Bandar married Haifa bint Faisal, have eight children, four sons and four daughters most of whom are highly placed in society.
Prince Bandar has a number of properties in prime locations in the United Kingdom, and United States. Glympton Park, Oxfordshire property in United Kingdom and the 32 room house in Aspen, Colorado, United States are two prime properties he frequents in luxury aboard his private Air-Bus A-340.
The Prince bought the land in 1989 and built the vacation home called Hala Ranch. This property perched on a mountain top of 95 acres is larger in size than the White House. It includes 15 bedrooms ad 16 bathrooms overlaid with 24 karat gold fixtures.
Honors and Awards
Bandar received the Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Hawk Flying Medal of Aviation and the King Faisal Medal for outstanding participation in aviation. The Prince was awarded honorary degree of doctor of law from Howard University
Bandar bin Sultan is one of the board members of Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Foundation