Commentary: No updates on Bandar mystery
ASPEN – With the GOP’s heavy hitters in the Roaring Fork Valley this week, to be punctuated by Mitt Romney’s public appearance Thursday at Basalt High School, the area has been infiltrated by elected officials, Secret Service members and lots of really important people.But from where we’re sitting, many readers have voiced their fascination with the mystery on the other side of the globe involving the alleged assassination of Prince Bandar bin Sultan. Among other things, the Saudi Arabaian is a former part-time Aspen resident known for his generosity locally, his close friendship with President George W. Bush, his powerful influence on the Beltway as ambassador to the U.S. and being a key figure in questionable arms deals. On Wednesday, we rehashed the headlines blaring from some Middle Eastern websites about the rumored killing of Bandar, now the head of his country’s central intelligence agency, purportedly by Syrians aiming to take revenge on him after the July 18 bombing in Damascus that killed four of Syria’s top security officials. If you’re like me, it’s hard to wrap your brain around this one. Are the Saudis not dignifying this rumor or, at the very least, not updating the status of the prince because it would only feed the political fury in the Middle East or provide highly sensitive intelligence? Or are websites like the Tehran Times and the Voltaire Network, out of France, actually on to something? Questions abound, for sure.There don’t seem to be any answers in Aspen, but here’s what some folks are saying on Twitter, a semi-reliable barometer of people’s thoughts – facts and rumors be damned.• “So yesterday unfounded rumors that Bandar died. Today, unfounded rumors that Khamenei died. Starting a pool on who it’ll be tomorrow” – @emptywheel• “That bombing in Damascus was so powerful that it killed those 4 officers, Omar Suleiman, Prince Bandar, Qassam Soleimani & now even Khamenei” – MazMHussain• “The regional rumor-mongering race is heating up in the Mid East. I’ll trade you a a Bandar bin Sultan death rumor for a Khamenei death rumor.” – @filter_c• “What purpose do Iranian claims of Prince Bandar’s assassination serve other than to maybe getting him to surface for intel purposes?” – @YousefMunayyer• “Has there been any *credible* confirmation that Bandar Bush was assassinated?” – @jeremyscahill• “Any sources on Bandar bin Sultan assassination that isn’t Press TV? Incredibly significant if true. But that is a BIG if.” – @jamesrbuk• “Did you hear of bombing of Saudi Intel HQ in Riyadh? Allegedly killing #USA’s golden boy Bandar Bush? More going on than most know” – @IfyOtuya So there you have it – for now at least. There’s an old saying in journalism, which is to “let the readers decide.” Let us know if you’ve made a decision because we’re utterly clueless on this firstname.lastname@example.org
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