Bandar in the U.S. for Medical Treatment
January 23, 2014 • 1:07PM

A senior American diplomat with decades of experience in the Gulf region confirmed, today, that Prince Bandar bin Sultan is, indeed, in the United States receiving medical care.

While he could not confirm reports from the Arab media that a major shake-up is in the works within the Saudi royal family that could see Bandar greatly reduced in power, he did point to the fact that in late December, King Abdullah appointed a new Minister of Education who is a well-known reformer and enemy of the Wahhabi religious establishment. Prince Khalid bin Faisal, the son of the late King Faisal, had been the Governor of Mecca until the appointment.

The American diplomat reported that the appointment "sent shockwaves through the conservative religious establishment" and signifies that King Abdullah is prepared to enact major reforms in the pre-college educational system. Previously, the Ministry of Education had been the exclusive domain of the conservative clergy.