Ottawa (Debriefer) - Three years ago, one of the cleverest Saudi intelligence officers fled the kingdom's lands without felt by authorities and settled in Canada. At time, princes underwent sudden arrests as Mohamed Bin Salman (MBS) was about to be nominated as the crown prince.
While he has silenced his opponents and put his most rivals (Mohamed Bin Nayef) under house arrest, the Saudi crown prince has failed to arrest or extradite Saad al-Jabri, a Saudi intelligence officer known of his strong international links. After arresting the officer's sons last May, the prince exerted pressures on Canadian authorities to send back Mr. al-Jabri, but in vain.
Saudi Arabia has been pressing Canada to extradite the former top Saudi intelligence officer now living in Toronto, sources told The Globe and Mail.
Canadian sources say the 61-year-old Mr. al-Jabri has vast counterterrorism experience and a deep knowledge of some of Saudi Arabia's most sensitive information, including the foreign bank accounts and financial assets of senior members of the Saudi royal family.
The Globe and Mail has learnt that the Saudis attempted to have Mr. al-Jabri arrested by issuing a "red notice" through Interpol, the international cooperation organization for police in late 2017.
Riyadh later asked Canada to extradite him in the fall of 2019 even though Ottawa does not have an extradition treaty with the kingdom.
A visiting Saudi delegation in 2018 also pressed Canada to extradite Mr. al-Jabri, sources say. Back then it was not publically known that he had sought refuge in Canada.
A senior Saudi security official who for years was the key go-between for Britain's MI6 and other Western spy agencies is now being persecuted along with his family, Western intelligence officials told BBC on 25 May.
Dr. Saad al-Jabri, who helped foil al-Qaeda bomb plot against the West, fled into exile three years ago, ahead of a purge by the all-powerful crown prince MBS. Now his children have been seized as "hostages", according to his eldest son, Khalid.
((Khalid al-Jabri, the eldest son of Saad, and his sister Sarah before heading to Canada with his father))
"Omar and Sarah were kidnapped at dawn on 16 March and taken out of their beds by about 50 state security officers who arrived in 20 cars," says their brother, Khalid al-Jabri.
The family house in Riyadh was then searched, the CCTV memory cards removed and the pair, aged 21 and 20 respectively, held incommunicado at a detention center.
There have been no charges given and no reason offered to the family for their arrest, Khaled tells the BBC on a phone call from Canada where he and his father live in self-imposed exile. "We don't even know if they are alive or dead."
He believes they are being held as bargaining chips in an attempt to force his father to return to Saudi Arabia where he fears he will face immediate arrest and imprisonment.
For years the Saudi intelligence officer was the right-hand man, the gatekeeper, to Prince Mohamed Bin Nayef, who was widely credited with defeating the al-Qaeda insurgency in 2000s. He was also the linchpin in all Saudi Arabia's relations with the "Five Eyes" (US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) intelligence agencies.
"Dr. al-Jabri transformed Saudi counter-terrorism efforts," a former Western intelligence official told BBC.
"He changed it from being a crude, violent, confession-based system into one that used modern forensics and computer-based data mining.
"He was the smartest guy we dealt with amongst so many others who were dysfunctional," he says.
A quiet-spoken man with a doctorate in artificial intelligence from Edinburgh University, Dr. al-Jabri rose to the rank of cabinet minister and held a major-general's rank in the interior ministry.
But in 2015 everything changed. King Abdullah died and his half-brother Salman ascended to the throne, appointing his young and untested son Mohamed Bin Salman (or MBS) as defense minister.
MBS then ordered his country's forces to intervene in Yemen's civil war, a move opposed by Dr. al-Jabri who point out that there was no exit strategy. More than five years later Saudi Arabia is still looking for a way out of the costly stalemate in Yemen.