Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman appears to have kidnapped the children of a prominent exile in a manoeuvre that has become synonymous with his ruling style.
In 2017, the usurper Prince, who was defense minister at the time, instigated a bloodless coup and arrested Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (the next in line to the Saudi throne). This allowed Salman to become crown prince himself.
In October 2018, Saudi Journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, a vocal critic of bin Salman, was kidnapped, murdered and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post, as well as the general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel.
In March this year, Salman claimed to have foiled a coup plot against him. He accused Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, (his uncle and younger brother to King Salman and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was heir to the throne until he was ousted by Crown Prince Salman). Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef now face charges of treason.
Now we learn that another Saudi exile – Saad al-Jabri – has been targeted by the Saudi ruler. Saad al-Jabri was the right-hand man to Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (next in line to the throne) and had successfully thwarted a number of al-Qaida plots during his tenure, including one where a bomb had been smuggled onto a cargo plane flying out of East Midlands Airport and heading for Chicago. When Prince Mohammed bin Nayef was arrested, Saad al-Jabri fled the country and is now in exile in Canada.
It’s believed that Saad al-Jabri might be considered a threat to Crown Prince Salman’s legitimacy and this is why two of his children have been taken as “hostages”. The BBC reports that “Omar and Sarah” (aged 21 and 20, respectively) were kidnapped from their family home in Riyadh on 16 March by “50 state security officers who arrived in 20 cars”. No charges have been filed and the family say they haven’t heard from either Omar or Sarah since they were taken so they don’t even know if they’re still alive.
The family suspect that Omar & Sarah are being held as bargaining chips by Crown Prince Salman who wants their father, Saad al-Jabri, to return to Saudi Arabia.