The Khashoggi case is one of deception and murder with impunity. Khashoggi’s body has never been found. Now comes a chilling new chapter of alleged Saudi perfidy that should once again remind all that the kingdom is led by a ruthless despot.
When Khashoggi disappeared, the kingdom said he had requested the paperwork at the consulate and “exited shortly thereafter.” On Oct. 7, a Saudi official, responding to reports that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, “strongly denounced these baseless allegations.” On Oct. 8, the Saudi ambassador to the United States said reports Khashoggi was detained or killed “are absolutely false, and baseless.” On Oct. 15, President Trump said he talked to the crown prince and “his was a flat denial.”
However, a lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that about the same day the crown prince made the “flat denial,” a second Saudi hit squad traveled to Canada. This time, the target was Saad Aljabri, a former top Saudi intelligence official who had worked closely with U.S. officials on counterterrorism in the past. The crown prince apparently wanted to silence him, too. The lawsuit, brought by Mr. Aljabri, contains unproven allegations, but they have eerie parallels to Khashoggi’s assassination. According to the complaint, the Saudi killers who flew to Toronto belonged to the “Tiger Squad,” the crown prince’s “personal mercenary group”; they carried two bags of forensic tools; and the squad included an instructor in the same criminal evidence department as the executioner who dismembered Khashoggi. The squad members, traveling on tourist visas, were asked by Canadian officers at border control if they knew each other. They lied, saying they did not. On secondary screening, a photograph was discovered of them together and their plot was thwarted, the lawsuit says.
In his final minutes of life, Khashoggi was told by his killers, “There is an order from Interpol. Interpol requested you to be sent back.” Mr. Aljabri alleges in his complaint that the crown prince threatened him on WhatsApp on Sept. 10, 2017, that if he did not return to the kingdom on his own, a worldwide manhunt would be initiated based on bogus corruption charges diffused by Interpol, the international police organization. The crown prince tried to make good on the threat, but fortunately Interpol rejected the material in 2018 as “politically motivated.”
The new allegations, if proved, reinforce the conclusion that the kingdom is led by a crown prince who commands death squads and continues to evade accountability for murder.