Saudi’s first female envoy to US Reema bint Bandar
Published: 03:14 PM, 24 February 2019
Saudi Princess Reema bint Bandar AL Saud: AFP
Saudi Arabia has appointed its first female ambassador to serve as its top diplomat in the United States, pulling a son of King Salman back to the kingdom to serve as deputy defence minister amid deteriorating ties with the US after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, a daughter of the kingdom's longtime ambassador to Washington Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, faces a stark challenge in improving the image of Saudi Arabia in the US.
She replaces Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud, a son of King Salman and a former fighter pilot who insisted after Khashoggi's disappearance on October 2 that the Washington Post columnist simply left the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.
Instead, members of the entourage of his brother, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, assassinated and dismembered Khashoggi inside the diplomatic post, in what Saudi Arabian authorities said was a rogue operation.
“They need good PR, frankly. But make no mistake, she is very successful, eloquent and is deserving of the job,” Bessma Momani, University Of Waterloo.
The Post, citing unnamed sources in November, also reported that US intelligence agencies reviewed a phone call that Prince Khalid had with Khashoggi, in which he allegedly told the writer he would be safe going to the consulate to retrieve the documents he needed to get married.
The newspaper said it was not known whether the ambassador knew Khashoggi would be killed, though he made the call at the direction of the crown prince. The Saudi embassy in Washington has denied the call took place.
Princess Reema, who studied in the US and is known in the kingdom for her philanthropic work, lived in the US as her father served as the Saudi ambassador there for more than 20 years. Her father also served as the head of the country's intelligence service.
"I will work with God's permission to serve my country, its leaders and all its children and I will spare no effort to that end," Princess Reema wrote on Twitter after her appointment.
Bessma Momani, professor of political science at Canada's University of Waterloo, told Al Jazeera that the appointment was about improving Saudi Arabia's image by showing that they are committed to the progress of women.
"The way it is received is probably one of a PR exercise, in an attempt to deflect attention away after a very tumultuous year after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and a lot of continued criticism of the Saudis in the war in Yemen and other policies within Washington and beyond," Momani said.
"(Princess Reema) understands the culture, knows how to be a valuable interlocutor, all of the qualities that you want in a diplomat, particularly in a post like the United States.
"But of course, I think there are many people who will see this totally for a PR exercise ... they need good PR, frankly. But make no mistake, she is very successful, eloquent and is deserving of the job," Momani said.
Prince Khalid returns to Riyadh as a deputy defence minister. Crown Prince Mohammed has held the position of defence minister even after becoming the next in line to the throne of the oil-rich kingdom.
His naming comes as Saudi Arabia remains mired in its years-long war in Yemen, which also have strained US relations to the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has faced growing Western criticism over its air raids hitting markets and clinics, killing civilians.
US legislators are increasingly pushing to withdraw US support for the conflict, which pits the kingdom and its allies against the Houthi rebels that hold Sanaa, the capital of the Arab world's poorest nation.’
Another royal decree from King Salman overnight granted a month's salary as a bonus to Saudi soldiers defending the kingdom's southern border with Yemen, where the Houthis have launched a series of bloody attacks.
- Srabanti in Gym, then what happen?
- Zareen Khan recalls facing casting couch
- BD to host SAFF Championship in Sept 2020
- 5 cops in remand held with Yaba
- 1st edition of Amputee football held in capital
- Scientists detect newborn black hole
- Yugi’s lime, a rural art
- Tips to protect your mobile bank
- Robert Mugabe: Liberator to brutal tyrant
- Sanjay Dutta in TV drama series!
- 7 Chinese warship patrolling Indian Ocean
- Motorcyclist killed in Bagerhat road crash
- US shows evidence of Iran’s involvement in Saudi oil attacks
- PM receives APJ Kalam Memorial Award
- 4 officials promoted to senior secretaries
- Zinc factory in remote village!
- Rohingya terrorist detained with pistol from Balukhali camp
- Saudi clears multiple Umrah fine
- AL withdraws candidature for Rangpur-3 by-polls
- ‘Viqarunnisa principal can’t join before 11:00 am on Tuesday’
- Does your cream contain vitamin C?
- HC orders judicial inquiry against Puthia OC
- PM orders to form separate police unit for Metro Rail
- Spicy Fish Kabab
- Idol makers passing busy days in Khulna
- Sunerah in short film
- Youth kills brother for 10 bucks
- Kishoreganj Manik murder: 10 get life term
- 3000 Bangladeshi may lose citizenship in Italy!
- BRTC does not need corrupt officials: Quader
- All News »
- Mahi’s 33 and Tisha’s 22
- Paris court finds Saudi princess guilty
- With one suicide every 40 seconds, WHO urges action
- ADB country director praises PM’s planned development initiatives
- Germany criticizes Netanyahu’s annexation plan
- Blanche Monnier spent 25 yrs locked up just for love
- Thimmamma Marrimanu: A 550 yr old giant banyan tree
- Kristen Stewart reacts to Robert Pattinson’s Batman casting
- 18 yrs of 9/11, worst terrorist attack in history
- Ancient Babylon: A city and a civilization
- Self-made billionaire Jack Ma, who was rejected from 30 jobs
- Myths and controversies of Taj Mahal
- 5yrs without Firoza Begum
- Saudi reduces Hajj-Umrah visa fee
- U-19 Asia Cup final: Bangladesh vs India Saturday
- Shovon-Rabbani axed, Nahian-Lekhak made BCL’s acting president, GS
- Mishu new face in Tigers` T20 squad
- Rastafari, a religion that developed against “Whites”
- ‘BNP’s many leaders are hired’
- Nan Madol: Ghost City on sea
- Ex-Miss World Manushi Chhillar to crown Miss World Bangladesh
- Afif leads Tigers to winning start in Tri-series T20
- Bribe-taking sub-registrar to be suspended
- Shakib prized Afghanistan
- Runa Laila for the 1st time in long music career
- White House: A monstrous residence
- Mystery reveals after query actress Shimla
- Taliban seizes more land after failed peace talks
- 4 Pak troops killed in Afghan border
- ‘Rajhangsha’ to be inaugurated Saturday