Tomorrow and Today: Flynt Leverett & Saudi Palace Politics


For those up at 3 am when the morning newspapers are uploaded to the web, rush to the Washington Post and the New York Times.
Unless lawyers or other news get in the way, two very important pieces will be up.
The first in the New York Times will be Flynt Leverett’s and Hillary Mann’s CIA-censored op-ed based on his new paper, “Dealing with Tehran: Assessing US Policy Options Towards Iran.” But, op-ed page editor David Shipley will add some “graphic flair” by posting the original op-ed that the CIA reviewed after White House National Security Council staff insinuated themselves into this normally intrigue-free process. The op-ed will run with the blacked out, redacted lines “blacked out.” Very cool.
Then front page Washington Post. Robin Wright will have an important article that digs deeply into the tension between the recently resigned Saudi Ambassador to the United State Prince Turki al-Faisal and the Saudi National Security Advisor Prince Bandar bin Sultan. (Update: This important article by Robin Wright has been delayed by at least one day and perhaps until Sunday.)
According to sources, Wright gets pretty far into the royal family drama and looks at how rival “clusters” of royal brothers have used policy differences over Saudi Arabia’s relations with the US, concern over Iran, and strategic direction in the Middle East as ways to wage combat that is at the same time both about genuine policy debates as well as about future royal succession and advancement to influential government positions.
Robin Wright’s article may also get into the intricacies of Vice President Cheney’s relationship with Prince Bandar — and will delve into which of them is gaming the other. I had been writing that Bandar and his staff, particularly his close aide Rihab Massoud, continued to get status and power in Saudi power circles because of the former Ambassador’s extremely close relationship with the Vice President.
However, others I have spoken to since suggest that I have the situation backward — and that it is Cheney, and others like Colin Powell and George Bush who are pawns in Bandar’s world. A source has intimated that Robin Wright’s big piece tomorrow may touch on this subject.
TODAY (though I think it made the news yesterday), Representative Louise Slaughter has written to the President to ask why specifically Flynt Leverett’s oped for the New York Times was censored.
More soon.
— Steve Clemons
Update: For those of you traveling today — particularly on United Airlines — I really feel for you. I am a 1K, semi-privileged flyer on United and had my flight out of Reagan National Airport to Las Vegas cancelled this morning with a United staffer telling me that the only thing that they could get me on was three days from now.
I’m now staying in Washington for the holidays — but I strongly empathize with the many out there who are not only dealing with weather challenges but also airlines that don’t know how to deal with the occasional, semi-predictable hiccup. Three days wait for a 1K member? That’s not good United. And it must be even worse for those without travel status.

— Steve Clemons


11 comments on “Tomorrow and Today: Flynt Leverett & Saudi Palace Politics

  1. Kevin Hayden says:

    I think there’s too much Evidence that the two are peers, gaming the rest of us. 2007 represents the final year the two can conspire to drive up oil prices via sabre-rattling, and they simply intend to squeeze us for every penny they can.
    Sure, the saudis have an internal struggle going on. But Bandar, like Cheney, hold the reins still, They’ll trade blood for oil right into the 2007 recession.
    Then they’ll blame it all on the ‘dumb’ Iraqis, especially al-Sadr.


  2. jf says:

    Thanks for the dog porn! You ought to get those things an agent. Maybe get them some upscale modelling gigs.
    You’re a 1Ker? Does that mean >1000?
    Merry Christmas,


  3. ET says:

    What We Wanted to Tell You About Iran
    Published: December 22, 2006:


  4. Carroll says:
    Here’s the link to the op-ed Steve is talking about…I think this is the one.


  5. Carroll says:

    You know I can believe that Cheney is more of a tool for Bandar than visa versa…it’s that chess game thing mentioned before….Cheney doesn’t seems like a chess player.


  6. profmarcus says:

    i used to work for united and spent my last year (prior to my 9/11 layoff) at dulles… while i have zero sympathy for united’s (or any other airline’s) woes, i do know that, if a good number of your airplanes are on the ground and you are unable to position them where you need them to be (as is undoubtedly the case in denver), you are screwed, and, by extension, so are the passengers, 1k status notwithstanding…
    during the last major blizzard that closed denver, i was trapped there for two days until things sorted themselves out… i slept on the floor of the concourse along with everyone else… pena blvd was closed and the concessionaires were running out of food, as you may recall… it was not the most pleasant two days i’ve spent…


  7. daCascadian says:

    Dave >”…an indication of just what the White House thinks is so dangerous.”
    The questioning of their fragile egos IS the answer
    “…With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power…” – Henry Wallace


  8. Kathy Kadane says:

    Those are some gorgeous dogs!
    Looking at them helps take some of the sting out of reading the news.
    Thanks for posting.


  9. Dave says:

    To the extent the Leverett op-ed is more or less a variation on something he’s already published, what I’d like to see is the redacted bits + the already-existing text closest to them. That gets us close to what the op-ed originally said and an indication of just what the White House thinks is so dangerous.


  10. gq says:

    Happy secular or religious holiday(s) (or not), Steve. I’ve enjoyed, and appreciated your information/perspective.
    Hopefully next year will be much better than the last several!


  11. ET says:

    This administration’s policymaking is not essentially a docu-drama to be interpreted by pundits. It is, rather, a reality to be fully faced by the American people. The rest of the world has already faced it. This administration has foisted evil upon Iraq and the international community in our name, on our dollars, and with the blood of our sons and daughters.
    How many ways can we utter the word failure? This administration did not protect us on 9-11. They are not protecting us now. They are known perpetrators of evil.
    Moreover, I do not expect perpetrator-profiteers to approve high seeker intelligence or deeply empirical inquiries into the nature of their lies and crimes. I do not expect them to approve proceedings of symposia, scholarly journal papers or reports of findings to the general public in newspaper op eds that hit the nail on the head.
    Those criminal-profiteers are not “go-to” people for Americans seeking alternatives and explanations. And they, along with their handmaids and valets, are charging the American people to try to “interpret” their evil failures. How?
    Their “utopia takes longer” tactic extorts our conscience, depletes our precious time, and serially rapes our very souls by re-framing their crimes and lies as “issues” to be interpreted — instead of blatant evil to be stood up to and defeated.
    We witnessed real events in real time, on our watch, in 2006. Their crimes have been perpetrated upon us, the American people, by design, or, in disdain for our Constitution and the Geneva accords. Design and/or disdain, take your pick. Either way we, the people, will continue to pay the freight, until we stop believing their lies. Our joy and solemn stewardship as a nation hang in the balance.
    The expensive question becomes, Do we want their evil further explained and elucidated — or do we want it stopped? Do we, in all earnestness, expect the corrupt to clean up corruption? The meter is running.


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