Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz issued a royal decree on Sunday approving the bylaws of the National Security Council and appointing Prince Bandar, former ambassador to the United States , as its general secretary, according to the Saudi Press Agency. The Council will focus on national security issues.
In the past, the Council was under the helm of the Ministry of Interior and was headed by Nasser al Sudairi who was appointed, according to a royal decree also issued on Sunday, as advisor to the Interior Minister Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz.
Prince Bandar had spent twenty-five years as the Kingdom’s representative to Washington D.C where he played a pivotal role in a number of issues. He resigned from his post in July 2005 for personal reasons.
Born on 2nd March 1949 in the city of Taif, Prince Bandar is the son of Crown Prince Sultan. He is married to Princess Haifa al Faisal and has four sons and four daughters. He received his primary and secondary education in Saudi Arabia before traveling to Britain and joining the British Royal Air Force where he graduated in 1968 and was commissioned as second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force.
He received further pilot training in Britain and the United States and has flown numerous fighter aircrafts including JP3-4, T-38, T-33, and F-5, F53/55, F-102 and F-15.
During his seventeen-year military career he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel, commanded fighter squadrons at three RSAF bases, and undertook program management responsibilities in the major RSAF modernization project Peace Hawk. In addition, Prince Bandar carried out special assignments in Washington , DC , during the debates between the U.S. administration and the Congress concerning the sale to Saudi Arabia of F-15s in 1978 and of AWACs in 1981. In 1982 he was assigned to Washington , DC , as the Kingdom”s defense attaché.
Prince Bandar was appointed Ambassador to the United States by King Fahd bin Abdulaziz on September 27, 1983 . He was a member of the Saudi delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in 1984 and played an important role throughout his time in Washington D.C. On August 7, 1995 , he was promoted to the rank of Minister.
Prince Bandar completed his post-graduate work in several U.S. military schools including staff courses with the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery , Alabama , and with the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair in Washington , DC . He received his master”s degree in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, DC, in 1980.
As special envoy for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, Prince Bandar was involved in cease-fire negotiations in the Lebanese civil war, and has been instrumental in resolving a number of regional and international crises, such as the Lockerbie incident in 1999. He was the Saudi delegate in the Gulf Cooperation Council mission observing the 1991 Middle East peace talks in Madrid , and has been a regular member of the Kingdom”s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly since 1984. Prince Bandar has been awarded many medals and decorations, including the Hawk Flying Medal of Aviation, the King Faisal Medal, and the King Abdulaziz Sash, as well as honors from other nations.