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SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabian intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, removed

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 9:51pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 9:51pm
 

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, state media reported.

His departure, months after he was quoted warning of a "major shift" from the United States over its Middle East policy, may help to smooth relations with Washington as Riyadh pushes for more US support for Syrian rebels.

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 on Tuesday, 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.

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. He was also closely involved in Saudi support for Egypt's military rulers after they ousted Islamist president Mohammed Mursi last year, diplomatic sources in the Gulf have said.

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