After the Abrupt Resignation of the Ambassador, Saudi Arabia Names 9/11 PR Man As New Envoy

By From Our Sources

Dec 22, 2006 1:01pm

Saudi Arabia has chosen the man who was charged with disassociating the royal family from al Qaeda in the wake of the 9/11 attacks as Riyadh’s new ambassador to the U.S. Adel al-Jubeir, 44, currently a foreign policy advisor to King Abdullah, is well-known in the Capitol for his work following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  According to U.S. officials, Saudi Arabia has asked the U.S. for its consent to have al-Jubeir serve as the Saudi ambassador.  If the U.S. agrees to his appointment, al-Jubeir would fill the vacancy suddenly left by Prince Turki al-Faysal, who resigned 15 months after he started serving, as previously reported by "The Blotter." THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Diplomatic Mystery: Saudi Ambassador’s Sudden Exit Click Here to See the Slideshows on the Brian Ross Homepage According to that report, even close confidantes of Saudi Ambassador Turki al Faysal were surprised by his abrupt resignation and departure from Washington, D.C., yesterday. Prince Turki, a former head of Saudi intelligence and a powerful player in the Saudi royal family, had only been in Washington for 15 months when he gathered his staff on Friday and announced that he would leave his post. Then at a closed dinner with other Arab ambassadors on Sunday night, the Saudi Ambassador abruptly announced that he was "retiring." The announcement stunned the audience, many of whom showed signs of disbelief. Rumors were flying around Washington all day today. Experts of the Middle East and intelligence analysts floated the notion that Turki was being repatriated to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, because of the impending death of his brother, Saud al Faysal, to replace him as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Others speculated that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney may have told Saudi King Abdullah in a recent meeting in Riyadh that the U.S. could no longer work with Prince Turki. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. Yet another theory focused on the diplomatic storm caused by a recent op-ed piece in "The Washington Post" by Saudi advisor Nawaf Obeid that outlined a scenario in Iraq in which Saudi Arabia might intervene with military forces on the side of the Sunni insurgents, if the sectarian conflict continued to escalate. Prince Turki later distanced the Saudi Government from Mr. Obeid’s comments and announced that the advisor had been fired. But an adviser to Turki told ABC News today that the ambassador left in frustration over a budget battle which had pitted him against Saudi King Abdullah, who belongs to a different branch of the Saudi royal family. Prince Turki, says the source, repeatedly asked the king to grant him a budget increase for outreach operations, to repair the damage done to the image of Saudi Arabia in the United States in the past five years. Despite Saudi Arabia’s formidable oil revenues, the budget increase, which was running only in the several million dollars, was denied to him, the source told ABC News. Turki felt abandoned and left. "He is a proud man," says the source, "and he took this as a dismissal of his authority." According to another close confidante of Prince Turki, this battle has played against a bigger backdrop: the battle to succeed King Abdullah, who is 82, and his brother, Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz. The succession war pits the King, who belongs to the Al Shammar branch of the Saudi royal family, against the Sudayri clan, to which the Crown Prince belongs, and the al Shaykh clan, which Prince Turki belongs to. A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy declined to comment on the causes of Prince Turki’s departure or any of the theories coursing through the Capitol today. Prince Turki’s predecessor was his brother-in-law, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who held the ambassador post for over 20 years.

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