04:10 GMT +321 November 2019
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    UK PM David Cameron

    Ex-UK PM Cameron Wanted Saudi Intel Chief to Convince Obama to Act Against Syria

    © AFP 2019 / Vladimir Simicek
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    Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama repeatedly pledged that the United States would strike Syria if Damascus were to use chemical weapons in the conflict.

    In an interview with Independent Arabia, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former Saudi Arabian intelligence chief, revealed that ex-UK Prime Minister David Cameron had personally visited him in a bid to convince Riyadh to push then-US President Barack Obama to take action against the government of Bashar Assad in Syria.

    READ MORE: 'Too Painful': Ex-Obama Aide Claims Netanyahu Used Political Pressure Within US

    Cameron arrived in Prince Bandar’s Oxfordshire mansion and spoke to his son, having asked him to tell his father that “Obama is not serious in Syria”.

    This happened after August 2013 when President Assad’s government was accused of using chemical weapons in two Damascus suburbs. Obama earlier set out a so-called “red line” when referring to the use of chemical agents in Syria, the crossing of which would make him decide whether to take military action while facing opposition at home.

    The prince elaborated that Cameron had “passed by” and stopped in to ask for a meeting, after which his son went out to speak with the prime minister:

     “They went to a small cottage in a lake in front of the house. He was without bodyguards and my son shook his hand. Cameron asked my son to go for a walk and then asked him, ‘Is there a way to contact your father?’ [My son] said, ‘Yes, why?’. He said, ‘I want you to tell him that Obama is not serious in Syria, and he will not do anything. We’ve tried with the French and there have been great efforts. Obama refuses to listen to us. If it’s possible for Saudi Arabia to make some effort, action may be taken’”.

    Cameron also maintained that London and Paris had failed to convince Washington to take a tougher approach to Syria, but things might change if Riyadh stepped into the game.

    Although the prince’s son told Cameron that he was not involved in his father’s work, Prince Bandar revealed that the message was eventually passed to the then-King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud.

    A spokesman from the office of Cameron has confirmed to Independent that he had met with Prince Bandar on several occasions “both as leader of the opposition and prime minister, the Glympton estate was in his west Oxfordshire constituency”.

    “He also knows his son, who married a family friend. Mr Cameron did meet Prince Bandar’s son at Glympton but cannot confirm the report of the conversation”.

    At the time, the UK House of Commons refused to support air strikes against Syria. Concerned about alienating Congress, Obama also backed down. Then-French President François Hollande was left with no choice but to follow in his footsteps, although he was convinced that this was “a missed opportunity that could have changed the course of the war”.

    chemical attacks, airstrike, strike, attack, Bashar al-Assad, Francois Hollande, Barack Obama, David Cameron, France, United States, United Kingdom, Syria
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