Why Exactly is Our Saudi Ambassador Quitting?
A small story that came out at the end of last week caught my eye. Robert Jordan, our ambassador to Saudi Arabia, is leaving already after only two years on the job. Although the Saudis and the State Department say that he is highly regarded, his departure comes several months after he allegedly insulted the Saudi royal family by expressing a preference in the line of succession. The royal family dispelled rumors at the end of last week that they demanded his departure.
Of course, it is quite possible that Jordan is in fact leaving at the Saudis’ request, months removed from the actual alleged offense, only now so that it doesn’t look like Bush is doing the Saudis’ bidding on this. But Jordan has pissed off the Saudis previously by claiming they didn’t do enough to provide protection against terrorist attacks earlier this year, a claim disputed by the Kingdom.
But what is more interesting about this matter is Jordan’s previous employment. Like many Bush ambassadors, and common to previous administrations, Jordan was a campaign contributor to Bush’s 2000 effort, as well as an attorney on the 2000 Florida recount debacle.
Before his nomination by Bush, Jordan was a founding partner in the Texas law firm Baker Botts LLP, a leading corporate donor to Bush's presidential campaign. Several top lawyers at Baker Botts, including James Baker, helped Bush during the election recount battle in Florida.
Moreover, Jordan was George W. Bush’s personal attorney, has ties to Daddy’s Carlyle Group and the Bin Laden family, and as a result of attorney-client privilege, knows where the bodies are buried in W’s past. In fact, guess who it was who handled W’s problems and whitewash at the SEC for the Harken insider trading investigation?
Perhaps Jordan’s return stateside “for personal reasons” has something to do with the fact that his old law firm and partner James Baker is now defending the royal family against litigation brought about by the 9-11 victims’ families. It wouldn’t look good for the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia to have his former employer advocating against those victimized by 15 Saudis, would it?
And now he is coming home in time for the 2004 election, where his skill from the 2000 Florida fiasco can be useful once again. Or perhaps W needs to have his personal attorney close by once again, for some reason?