Fri May 22, 2020 4:53
Report: Family of Ex-Saudi Intelligence Officer Being Targeted
TEHRAN (FNA)- The son of a powerful former Saudi intelligence officer living abroad said members of the family are being targeted back home in a bid by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) to force his father to return to the kingdom.

Saad al-Jabri, for years one of Saudi Arabia's leading intelligence officials, has been fearing for his life since moving to Canada in 2017 and has been resisting pressure from MbS to go back to the kingdom, according to a New York Times report on Thursday citing his son, Khalid al-Jabri, and associates.

Khalid told the newspaper that his brother, sister and uncle have been arrested by Saudi security forces and held incommunicado since March.

"It has been weeks and we don't know where they are," he was quoted as saying, adding, "They were kidnapped from their beds. I don't even know if they are alive or dead."

There was no comment by Saudi Arabia.

An expert in artificial intelligence, Saad held a number of top positions in Saudi Arabia and played a key role in its fight against al-Qaeda and security coordination with its ally, the United States.

His son and former US officials who worked with him say MbS wants to force al-Jabri to return to the kingdom as he fears anyone outside of his control who has access to secret information, the NY Times reported.

Gerald Feierstein, senior vice president at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC who dealt with al-Jabri while serving as the US ambassador to Yemen, told the daily that al-Jabri was acquainted with so many sensitive issues that he would know "where the bodies are buried", and possibly unflattering information about MbS.

Al-Jabri's intelligence career came to an end following the power struggle between MbS and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (MbN), the former crown prince. He was out of the kingdom in 2017 when MbN was replaced as heir to the throne when King Salman elevated his son, MbS, to the role and gave him wide authority to become the kingdom's de facto ruler.

MbN was put under house arrest at the time, according to reports. He was arrested in March this year, reportedly because he was complaining privately about how MbS was running Saudi Arabia.

Al-Jabri, seen as a very close ally of MbN, decided to not settle in the US despite his deep ties there because he was concerned that the administration of President Donald Trump would send him back to Saudi Arabia if MbS requested it, a person briefed on the case told the Times.

The newspaper reported when al-Jabri left Saudi Arabia, authorities began placing restrictions on two of his children who remained in the country - Sarah, 20, and Omar, 21.

They had planned to study in the US but within hours of MbS's rise to crown prince, they discovered that they were barred from leaving the kingdom, according to Khalid al-Jabri.

Their bank accounts were frozen and they were summoned for questioning and told to encourage their father to come home, he stated.

Security forces took them from their beds in their home in the capital, Riyadh, at dawn on March 16, and the family is growing increasingly worried as they have not heard from them since.

Last week, authorities also arrested al-Jabri's brother, Abdulrahman al-Jabri, a US-educated electrical engineering.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record has come under intense scrutiny following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

The CIA and others reportedly believe MbS ordered the killing of Khashoggi, who wrote opinion columns critical of the crown prince in The Washington Post. Saudi Arabia denies any involvement by MbS in the case.

Khashoggi's killing has changed the situation for those who once felt safe abroad, and the al-Jabri family has now hired a Washington-based lobbying firm to press for the release of the detained relatives.

Analyst Sigurd Neubauer told Al-Jazeera the detentions are tarnishing Saudi Arabia's international reputation, however, any release expected from lobbying depends on the upcoming US presidential election.

"The long game is tied to the US presidential election. In the event Joe Biden wins, I think that we can see a whole sale of releases of high profile Saudi dissidents and members of the royal family," Neubauer said.

"President Trump has personalised his relationship with Crown Prince Mohammad, and it is unlikely that any sort of lobbying will sway him in the immediate to long term. But these developments are unfortunately only adding to the already severely damaged reputation that Saudi has in the US," Neubauer added.






Bottom top
Racist President and His More Racist Police

TEHRAN (FNA)- US President Donald Trump is facing an unprecedented revolt from the elite corps of ex-military leaders and presidents over his brazen response to mass protests and inflaming of racial divides. [VIDEO]
Fire, Tear Gas after Floyd Death: Continued Clashes Between Police, Protesters in US Cause Over 10,000 Arrested

TEHRAN (FNA)- Thousands arrested across US cities including, Los Angeles and New York amid the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died last week in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [VIDEO]
George Floyd: Protests Around World Show Solidarity with US Demonstrators

TEHRAN (FNA)- Thousands of people around the world have rallied in solidarity with anti-racism protests in the United States following the police killing of George Floyd on May 25. Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was pinned to the ground by a white officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The officer, who has since been fired and charged for murder, knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, as Floyd pleaded "I can't breathe". [PHOTOS]
Aftermath of Protests in Minneapolis

TEHRAN (FNA)- Community members help to clean up debris from buildings set on fire during protests in Minneapolis in reaction to the death of George Floyd in police custody. [PHOTOS]
Minneapolis in Turmoil after Police Killing of George Floyd

TEHRAN (FNA)- The city of Minneapolis has been wracked by days of protest after a white police officer kneeled on the neck of an unarmed black man for nearly nine minutes before he died. [PHOTOS]
Protests Over Killing of George Floyd Spread Worldwide, in Some of Them Police Clashes with Protesters

TEHRAN (FNA)- Protesters have marched in the US over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. Their anger over the killing of the unarmed black man has now spread worldwide. Over the weekend demonstrators gathered in UK, Netherlands, South Africa, Brazil, France and Greece to protest against police brutality in solidarity with the US crowds. In Greece, France and UK, police and protesters clashed and march for George Floyd turns violent. [VIDEO]
Death of George Floyd: Protesters Face Police Near White House

TEHRAN (FNA)- Protesters take to the streets chanting "no justice, no peace" as they stand in front of a line of police officers near the White House, in Washington, DC, which is under curfew for a fifth night. [VIDEO]
George Floyd Death: Protests Continue as US Defense Secretary Rejects Trump’s Demand for Troops

TEHRAN (FNA)- Protests over the death of George Floyd continued across the US on Wednesday, after a largely peaceful night. As demonstrators returned to the streets, police chiefs called for reform – and the US secretary of defense publicly rejected Donald Trump’s threat to deploy combat troops. [PHOTOS]
Rouhani Orders Central Bank to Take Immediate Measures to Unfreeze Iran's Assets in Foreign Banks

TEHRAN (FNA)- President Hassan Rouhani instructed the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) to do its best to release part of Iran's forex resources blocked in foreign banks.
Foreign Ministry Releases Details of Iranian Ship's Sinking in Iraqi Port

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued an initial report on a cargo ship that sank off the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr early Friday.
Iran, Serbia Eyeing to Boost Transport Cooperation

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to Belgrade Rashid Hassanpour and Serbian Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Z. Mihajlović stressed developing cooperation in air and road transportation fields.
Iran Reports 2,886 New Coronavirus Cases, No Deaths in 13 Provinces

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian health ministry announced on Friday that 2,886 new cases of infection to coronavirus have been diagnosed in the country in the past 24 hours, noting that no deaths has been reported in 13 provinces.
Iran Calls for Removal of Inhumane Sanctions against Syria

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi stressed Tehran’s support for Syria, and urged lifting of all sanctions that have impeded Damascus' endeavors to reconstruct the war-ravaged country.
Iran, UAE Resume Marine Trade Ties

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have resumed their trade exchanges via sea, a provincial official announced.
Iran’s Mining Sector Sees 60% Investment Surge in Defiance of US Sanctions

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian mining sector had a significant hike in investment for new projects despite American sanctions that have been imposed on sales of expensive metals among other lucrative areas, said a spokesperson with IMIDRO.