Like many bloggers and blog readers, I've been digging around for any additional information on the quite sudden and as yet unexplained departure of the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. a few weeks back. One might be inclined to wonder if it is tied in any way with the Sauds demanding Cheney drop his Thanksgiving weekend of turkey (not Bush) and shooting friends to haul ass down to speak with them, and where they told Cheney what he would do re: Iraq along with the consequences for ignoring their directives.
David Kurtz over at Talking Points Memo points us to a WaPo piece that doesn't exactly answer any of the questions about the ambassador's disappearing act but, as David notes, makes for entertaining reading:
Eighteen months ago, Prince Bandar bin Sultan ended a legendary 22-year career as the face of Saudi Arabia in the United States. Word at the time was that he was bored, preferring his palatial Aspen, Colo., lodge to Washington. As it turns out, however, Bandar has secretly visited Washington almost monthly over the past year -- and is at least as pivotal today in influencing U.S. policy as he was in his years as ambassador.Unpaid bills. Bruised egos. Shadow diplomacy. Internal riffs in the royal family. Why, it could be the Bush White House.
Last week, his successor, Turki, abruptly resigned from the post -- partly, sources close to the royal family said, because of Bandar's back-channel trips to meet with top U.S. officials, including Vice President Cheney and national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley.
Turki was kept so out of the loop that Bandar often did not inform him he was in town, much less tell him what he was doing, the sources said. Twice, the Saudi Embassy was told by an outsider that Bandar had arrived -- and the embassy sent someone to the airport to look for his private plane to confirm it, according to the source who provided the tip.