Saad al-Jabri has filed a US lawsuit claiming Mohammed bin Salman sent a hit squad to Canada less than two weeks after the killing of Jamal Kashoggi.
Rabat – Former Saudi intelligence official Saad al-Jabri has filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, accusing MBS of plotting his assassination in 2018.
“Few alive know more” about the Saudi Crown Prince than al-Jabri, the court document states.
Al-Jabri filed the lawsuit in Washington, D.C. on August 6, opening with a quote from Shakespeare in an effort to highlight a “thirst for power” that drove the plot.
Al-Jabri has accused Saudi crown prince MBS of sending a hit squad named the “Tiger Squad” to Canada, where the former official has been living under private security protection since 2017.
While the legal documents are unlikely to lead to a court case, the filling appears to be a final move by the al-Jabri family to find a resolution to a stand-off with Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler.
Saad al-Jabri’s court filings appear to reveal much of the apparent campaign waged against him since his self-imposed exile in Canada.
Al-Jabri alleges that efforts to return him to the kingdom included personal appeals from the Crown Prince, followed by moves against the al-Jabri family, before leading to a full-fledged but ultimately failed assassination attempt.
Al-Jabri says that after he left Saudi Arabia, MBS began sending threatening WhatsApp messages demanding his return within 24 hours. While al-Jabri was in the United States, he claims that MBS attempted to send a private plane to “render” him back to the kingdom, after which the Crown Prince’s messages became more explicit.
The submitted court document quotes the Crown Prince directly in saying he would employ “all available means” to “eliminate” al-Jabri.
With Saad al-Jabri out of reach, the document accuses MBS of directing the “arrest, detention and kidnapping” of members of the al-Jabri family.
To date, two of al-Jabri’s children are still missing after they were abducted by a team of fifty armed men in unmarked cars from their Riyadh family home on March 16, 2020, according to the court filings.
As more members of the al-Jabri family were being detained and arrested, he claims to have been “hunted” while in the United States “in order to facilitate his killing.”
Al-Jabri’s lawsuit accuses MBS of using both Interpol and his own charity in the US to locate al-Jabri and his family in Boston. Saudi requests to Interpol for Saad al-Jabri were later deemed to be politically motivated and removed from its database, according to the New York Times.
Finally, al-Jabri accuses MBS of organizing a “hit squad” similar to the team sent to kill and dismember Jamal Kashoggi. The team, dubbed the “Tiger Squad,” was sent to Canada fully equipped, but were held at the border after attempting to enter Canada on tourist visas.
The motivations for the alleged efforts made by the Saudi Crown Prince stem from Saad al-Jabri’s close relationship with former deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef and al-Jabri’s role coordinating between Saudi intelligence and Western intelligence agencies.
The submitted court document claims al-Jabri is “uniquely positioned to existentially threaten Defendant bin Salman’s standing with the U.S. government.” This led to MBS developing a “murderous desire” to “limit the U.S. government’s access to a key partner with unique knowledge.”
Al-Jabri’s allegations imply that his close collaboration with US intelligence and security agencies and deep knowledge of the Saudi security apparatus meant that “there is virtually no one Defendant bin Salman wants dead more.”
Efforts to assist al-Jabri by US Senator Patrick Leahy and British MP Lord Raymond Hylton appear to correspond with the lawsuit’s claim that he indeed enjoys continued support from Western intelligence agencies.
The split between Saad al-Jabri and the Saudi state, which he served for decades, first occurred after his close associate Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef was removed from his position in favor of Saudi King Salman’s son.
The move was part of a power struggle between the Salman and Abdullah wings of the al-Saud royal family and grabbed the world’s attention when hundreds of royals were detained in a Riyadh hotel.
Al-Jabri was removed from his position after a meeting with then-CIA director John Brennan during a private visit to Washington, which al-Jabri had not disclosed to the new Crown Prince.
Ever since, Saad al-Jabri has evaded moves to draw him back to Saudi Arabia and has remained out of the grasp of Saudi intelligence.
With two of his children in Saudi custody, unseen since their arrest in March, al-Jabri appears to now bring the case to the public in order to build leverage and secure the well-being of his children.
As a close associate of the deposed former Crown Prince, al-Jabri is seen in Riyadh as a threat who could leverage his knowledge in his favor, or in the favor of the Abdullah wing of the royal family.
With much at stake for both Saad al-Jabri and MBS, the public move will likely cause reverberations in the Saudi capital.
Whether it will impact Saudi-US relations remains unclear as US President Donald Trump has shown a propensity to take the word of MBS, as he did in the Khashoggi case.