Synopses & Reviews
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 indispensable operator" by the New Yorker.
Yet Prince Bandar was more than this. His entry 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. During the first Gulf War, Prince Bandar even became a de facto member of the National Security Council.
In this biography, RAF college classmate William Simpson pulls back the curtain for the first time on the fascinating and startling life of the man who emerged throughout the 1980s and '90s as the most powerful and influential ambassador to the United States since World War II.
For the last two and a half decades—through war, oil crises, and global terrorism—the United States and Saudi Arabia have had a very special relationship, thanks in no small part to one man: Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The illegitimate son of a Saudi prince and a servant girl, he used his vital behind-the-scenes influence to convince Gorbachev to withdraw the Soviet military from Afghanistan and helped President Reagan and CIA Director William Casey to win the Cold War with Saudi petrodollars. A Machiavellian manipulator, he negotiated an end to the Iran-Iraq war and played a key role in the Iran-Contra affair. George H. W. Bush took Bandar and his family fishing. Colin Powell would drop by to play racquetball.
In this revealing biography, William Simpson pulls back the curtain on the fascinating and startling life of an extraordinary power-player who emerged as one of the driving forces behind American foreign policy throughout the 1980s and '90s. At a time when understanding our friends is as important as knowing our enemies, understanding Prince Bandar bin Sultan may well be the key to figuring out the Saudis.
About the Author
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.