File - Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan seen at his palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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The exit of Saudi's spy chief was the result of US pressure over his stance on Syria but does not signal a shift in Riyadh's goal of toppling the Damascus regime, experts say.A Saudi expert said that Washington -- irritated for some time by Prince Bandar's handling of the Syria dossier -- had in December demanded his removal.Prince Bandar was leading Saudi Arabia's efforts to finance, arm and unify the Syrian rebellion, which after three years of fighting is still far from its goal of overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Experts underlined Prince Bandar's encouragement to radical Islamists in Syria, which they said increased security threats already posed to the kingdom by Saudi jihadists.Saudi analysts insist however that replacing Prince Bandar does not mean a shift in the Saudi position towards the Syrian conflict.
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