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The Ringmaster

He was accused of killing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (October 13, 1958 – October 2, 2018)! The US intelligence officers have repeatedly claimed that Khashoggi was assassinated at his behest, as the columnist for The Washington Post and the General Manager and Editor-in-Chief of Al-Arab News Channel was a fierce critic of the Saudi Government. Three years after Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia drew global outcry after it was alleged that his aides had killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, he has been accused of planning another assassination! This time, a former Saudi intelligence chief has claimed that the 36-year-old Crown Prince had made an attempt to eliminate former Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (August 1, 1924 – January 23, 2015) in 2014!

In an interview with CBS News on October 24, 62-year-old Saad al-Jabri reportedly said that the Crown Prince had spoken of killing the sitting Saudi Monarch before his own father was crowned King. According to the former senior Saudi Security official, the Crown Prince once met Prince Muhammed bin Nayef, the then Saudi Interior Minister and Head of Intelligence. During their meeting, the much younger Prince told bin Nayef: “I want to assassinate King Abdullah. I get a poison ring from Russia. It’s enough for me just to shake hand(s) with him and he will be done.” The former officer, who currently lives in Canada, told CBS News that the Saudi intelligence had taken the issue seriously, and it was handled within the Royal Family. However, a video recording of that meeting is still with al-Jabri.

Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman

It may be noted that Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, the grandson of Founding Monarch King Abdulaziz and son of former Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, his half-brother Nawwaf bin Nayef and his uncle Ahmed bin Abdulaziz were arrested and charged with treason on March 6, 2020. On August 25, 2020, the legal representatives of Muhammad bin Nayef raised concerns over his well-being, alleging that the Saudi authorities did not allow his doctor and family members to visit him since five months of his arrest.

Although King Abdullah passed away in 2015, no conspiracy has ever been alleged in connection with his death. After his demise, he was succeeded by his half-brother Salman bin Abdulaziz, who is the father of Crown Prince bin Salman.

King Abdullah

Meanwhile, al-Jabri claimed that Crown Prince bin Salman could kill him any day. During the television show, he said that the Saudi authorities held his two adult children captive so that he would have to return to Riyadh. He is well aware of the fact that if he returns, he faces possible imprisonment or house arrest, like his former boss and the once-powerful Interior Minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. Through the show, al-Jabri warned Crown Prince bin Salman that he had recorded a video that could reveal even more Royal Secrets. He stated that the video could be released, if he is killed. Describing the Crown Prince as “a psychopath killer”, al-Jabri insisted that the Crown Prince would not rest until “he sees me dead”, as “he fears my information”.

Interestingly, it was al-Jabri’s first on-record interview since the Saudi authorities detained his son Omar al-Jabri (23) and daughter Sarah al-Jabri (21) in March 2020. Later, a Saudi court sentenced Omar and Sarah to nine and six-and-a-half years in prison, respectively, for money laundering and illegally attempting to flee Saudi Arabia. One of his sons-in-law, too, was allegedly kidnapped from a third country, and then sent to Saudi Arabia, where he was tortured and detained. Human Rights Watch recently said that the arrest of his family members was an effort to coerce al-Jabri to return from Canada.

Saad al-Jabri

In the US, al-Jabri filed a Federal Lawsuit against the Crown Prince, alleging the latter had tried to trap and kill him in the US and Canada. The Saudi authorities, too, have sued him in the US and Canada, claiming that he had allegedly stolen some half-a-billion US dollars from the Counter-Terrorism Budget. Recently, a Canadian judge has frozen al-Jabri’s assets because of purported evidence of fraud as the case proceeds. Defence experts are of the opinion that al-Jabri made the allegations in order to put the 36-year-old Crown Prince under pressure.

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