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Prince Bandar

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From my ever interesting and amusing twitter feed @chinahand, with some minor edits: China Matters crystal ball tells me:  1) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is switching from jihadi strategy to great power negotiations in response to IS fiasco 2) KSA is saying, "OK, we'll help clean up our IS mess, but Assad's gotta go. Syria's... Read More
Seymour Hersh has an important piece up at the London Review of Books implicating Turkey in the August 2013 sarin gas incident that almost triggered a US attack on Syria.  I wonder how much traction it will get.   Specifically, will it get more traction than the recent clandestine Youtube release of the confab between the... Read More
A year ago there was a certain amount of back and forth as to what it meant that Saudi Arabia had pushed Qatar out of the leadership position on Syria and whether the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was going to go along with the Syria peace process. I was of the opinion that the Kingdom... Read More
Over the last year or so, I’ve taken the bet  that Saudi Arabia is pursuing a strategy of regime collapse in Syria. In practical terms, this means that the KSA won’t support a Syria peace process that achieves a measure of accommodation between the Ba’athist ruling party (with or without Assad) and the opposition, popular,... Read More
[I got my Defcons flipflopped in the original post.  Herewith corrected.  According to Wikipedia, the US military has only gone to Defcon 2 once, for the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Even 9/11 was only Defcon 3.  The different levels also have catchy descriptions, like "Cocked Pistol" and "Double Take", that are used during exercises.  So if... Read More
My working assumption about international affairs is that people in mortal peril are careful and clever. On the other hand, people with plenty of money, power, and impunity are often arrogant and sloppy. This outlook colors my perspective on various US dustups with adversarial nations, most recently Syria. That’s why I’m unwilling to rule out... Read More
In the back and forth about Syria, there is surprisingly little discussion about Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar. Even though Bandar apparently took over the Saudi covert account last year and has driven the Kingdom’s hard line against the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria. It’s also clear that Saudi Arabia has... Read More
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