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Fallout Over Khashoggi Murder Prompts Saudi Arabia To Tap Princess As New U.S. Ambassador

The House of Saud has named Princess Reema bint Bandar as ambassador to the United States, making her kingdom’s first-ever female envoy to Washington. Bint Bandar replaces Prince Khalid bin Salman—the younger brother of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman—in a shake-up prompted by the ongoing fallout over Riyadh’s role in the Killing last October of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. According to U.S. intelligence, the heir to the Saudi throne at the very least knew about the operation to assassinate the dissident reporter, a revelation that caused many in the American political establishment to call for the downgrading of bilateral ties and the leveling of sanctions on those responsible. The appointment of Princess Reema, whose father Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud was ambassador to Washington from 1983-2005, also comes as Saudi Arabia is facing renewed criticism over its treatment of women. After making waves last year by removing a ban on female drivers, the Saudi crown prince has come under fire for imprisoning the very same activists that pushed for the reform. Most recently, the royal family was slammed over a controversial mobile app that allows Saudi men to monitor the whereabouts of their wives and unmarried daughters.