CIA awards medal to Saudi crown prince for counter-terrorism work

RIYADH (Daily Dunya) – The new director of the US Central Intelligence Agency has awarded a medal to Saudi crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef for his counter-terrorism work.

According to official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Mike Pompeo made the presentation to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef at a weekend ceremony.

This was the first overseas tour of the CIA director since taking office in late January.

Pompeo awarded him the George Tenet Medal in recognition of his “excellent intelligence performance, in the domain of counter-terrorism and his unbound contribution to realise world security and peace.”

George Tenet was the CIA’s longest-serving director, from 1996 to 2004.

Pompeo and Prince Mohammed also held talks on security issues, SPA said.

The prince told SPA that “no attempt will succeed in driving a wedge between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the US”.

Prince Mohammed, 57, has been interior minister since 2012 and has years of experience in intelligence work.

Widely respected in the West for his efforts to combat violent extremism, he oversaw a crackdown on Al-Qaeda which killed security officers and foreigners in the kingdom between 2003 and 2007.

Prince Mohammed survived an assassination attempt by Al-Qaeda in 2009.

It was the latest Saudi reaffirmation of ties between the absolute Islamic monarchy and Washington since President Donald Trump took office on January 20.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have a decades-old relationship founded on the exchange of American security for Saudi oil.

But ties between Riyadh and Washington became increasingly frayed during the eight-year administration of former president Barack Obama.

Saudi Arabia’s Sunni leaders felt Obama was reluctant to get involved in the civil war in Syria and was tilting towards its Shia-dominated rival Iran.