Is bin Salman seeking to return al-Jabri to Saudi Arabia at any cost? | Politics and Economy | In-depth analyzes with a broader perspective from DW | DW


The senior officer and former high-ranking official in Saudi intelligence, Saad al-Jabri, accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of sending an assassination squad to Canada, where al-Jabri lives, to assassinate him in the same way that the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, was assassinated two weeks earlier in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. 2018 year.

Al-Jabri filed a lawsuit in a court in Washington, DC, against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and twenty-four others, accusing the Crown Prince of sending an assassination squad and specialists in surveying the effects of crime to Canada to assassinate him, where he lives in his exile. The 107-page case file states that the alleged assassination attempt was thwarted, after the Canadian Border Police discovered two bags containing crime tools and the assassination squad members lied about their knowledge of each other.

In the lawsuit, Saad al-Jabri’s lawyers accuse the Saudi crown prince of sending him explicit death threats via WhatsApp to their client, issuing a legal fatwa permitting his murder and trying to lure al-Jabri to Saudi Arabia by arresting one of his two sons who are still in Saudi Arabia. The lawyers say bin Salman’s threats stated that he would “use all available means to eliminate Dr. Saad.”

Wanted because of the secrets he keeps

Saad Al-Jabri was a very close assistant and advisor to the former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and was forced to stay in Canada when bin Nayef was deposed and Mohammed bin Salman was appointed crown prince in 2017. According to Guido Steinberg, an expert on Saudi affairs and a researcher at the Institute of Science and Policy in Berlin, because The influence he had in the Saudi Ministry of Interior, “Al-Jabri may be the person who is best informed, not only on internal issues, but also on foreign affairs” of the kingdom. “This is the reason why Mohammed bin Salman wanted to return him to Saudi Arabia, and we know that bin Salman tried that in every way,” Steinberg told DW.

Jabri’s deep and very strong ties to American intelligence may be the one that poses a threat to the Saudi crown prince, and Al-Jabri’s lawyers say, “There are only a few places where sensitive and insulting information about the accused Muhammad bin Salman could be harmful to him, such as what Dr. Saad’s memory keeps.”

The current case against bin Salman is only the latest chapter in Al Jabri’s story. In 2017, bin Salman tried to issue an international arrest warrant from Interpol against Al-Jabri on charges of corruption, but his request was rejected because his motives were political, according to the New York Times.

Since Thursday (August 6, 2020), the hashtag “# Corrupt_Saad_ Al Jabri” has spread in Saudi Arabia, and social media expert Mark Owen said in a tweet that this is “a big part of Saudi national defense.”

“The reaction of the local media shows the extent of the Saudi authorities’ concern about the damage that Jabri’s case could inflict, not to relations with Washington, but to the outside, “he added, according to what was stated in the DW interview with Yasmine Farouk, a researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace.

Damage has occurred

Analysts are skeptical that there will be any penal results for Al-Jabri’s case before the American court, but they believe that the trial itself will seriously damage the reputation of the Saudi crown prince.

In this context, the German expert on Saudi affairs, Guido Steinbraa, said, “From a legal point of view, to my knowledge, it is not clear whether the American court will open the case file and start the procedures. Because Saad Al-Jabri is not an American citizen and does not reside in the United States.” “He’s just an important former ally,” says Steinberg. “That’s all.”

But the Saudi activist, Abdulaziz Al-Moayad, tells DW that the physical evidence that those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, and the possible proof of threats to kill Al-Jabri against Mohammed bin Salman, may force him to respond. Al-Moayad says, “Al-Jabri presented evidence that challenges a respected judicial system.” The Saudi activist adds, “This is how Mohammed bin Salman will have to defend himself, because he cannot ignore the American judicial system, as a lot of money is deposited in his name and in the name of the country (Saudi Arabia) there.”

Even if al-Jabri’s case was not referred to the court, “additional damage has befallen the reputation of the crown prince and Saudi Arabia,” says Yasmine Farouk, a researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, adding that “the damage of Jabri’s case may turn into tangible political harm because of his (Jabri) relations with the security and intelligence services. in the United States”.

It is noteworthy that the Canadian official authorities did not confirm or deny Jabri’s allegations, and Canadian Public Security Minister Bill Blair said that he could not comment on the allegations considered by the courts. He added in a statement sent to Reuters, “We are aware of incidents in which foreign elements attempted to monitor, intimidate or threaten Canadians or individuals.”
Live in Canada. This is totally unacceptable. “

Tom Allison / Arif Gabo


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