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A riveting portrait of one of the most enigmatic yet influential powerbrokers in America–Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al–Saud, the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States from 1983–2005.
At a time when understanding our friends is as important as understanding our enemies, Prince Bandar bin Sultan remains one America's most enigmatic powerbrokers. As the illegitimate son of a Saudi prince and a servant girl, Prince Bandar overcame his unrecognized beginnings to rise as one of Saudi Arabia's brightest diplomatic stars, ultimately becoming the Ambassador to the United States–and one of the most influential men in Washington.
As Ambassador, Prince Bandar worked with CIA Director Bill Casey to fund covert CIA operations with Saudi petrodollars. He played a key role in the Iran–Contra affair; consulted with President Gorbachev to secure Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan; negotiated an end to the Iran–Iraq war; and, with Nelson Mandela, resolved the Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Affair. He served under four different American presidencies and was called "Washington's indispensible operator" by the New Yorker.
Yet Prince Bandar was more than this. His entre into Washington society and the Oval Office was unmatched. George H.W. Bush took the Prince and his family on fishing vacations; First Lady Reagan used him to convey messages to her husband's Cabinet; Colin Powell would drop by his house to play racquetball.
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William Simpson was a classmate of Prince Bandar at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, where they became friends through a mutual interest in fencing during the two and a half years of their officer training. Simpson founded and was CEO of an Internet company, and also worked with a Mayfair-based hedge fund as President of North American Operations. After his retirement from the world of financial services, Simpson undertook this biography with the cooperation of Prince Bandar. Simpson lives in the United Kingdom.From Publishers Weekly:
Saudi Arabian prince Bandar Bin Sultan emerges in this biography by Simpson, a long-time friend of Bandar's, not only a figure well-connected and well-placed among public and private power structures, but a super-man who melds his incredible wealth with savoir faire, razor-sharp pragmatism and a disarming sense of humor. With an intensely loyal coterie of confidantes in many countries, Bandar is described as "an expert at playing the long game," who used Saudi Arabia's status as a crucial ally to the West-among "seven volatile, militaristic countries, Saudi Arabia is the fulcrum of leadership in the Muslim world, and sits on nearly two thirds of the world's oil supply"-to leverage a starring role in a multitude of fascinating, high-stakes political gambits. Marred in its early pages by a yawn-inducing array of Arabian arms deals, Simpson's chronicle thankfully shifts focus to the decades when, as Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., Bandar wrangled, finagled and influenced policy with the aid of presidents and historical notables. Especially riveting tales feature Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and the first president Bush, in which all parties participate in an intricate diplomatic dance-at times skirting the brink of international disaster-while wars raged throughout the Middle East. In this lengthy account, Bandar plays his role with as much aplomb as the infamous Machiavelli, but with far more humanity. 16-page color insert, b/w photos throughout.
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