MBS now faces the gruelling prospect of appearing in US court unless the Trump administration steps in to save him.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has been issued a subpoena to appear before the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

The summons was filed on Friday last week by Saad al Jabri, the former top Saudi spymaster, a day after a lawsuit accused MBS of orchestrating an assasination attempt on Jabri.

A subpoena requires that a plaintiff appear before a court for questioning by prosecuting lawyers. MBS would be covered by some sort of diplomatic protocol providing immunity, but the mere act of invoking such privileges would be cause for diplomatic embarrassment.

With a change in the White House possible after November’s election, the lawsuit has the potential to harm Saudi-US relations.

Al Jabri worked closely with US intelligence agencies and is credited with preventing several Al Qaeda terrorist attacks against US civilians.

A Khashoggi-like plot

Almost two weeks after Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident, Jamal Khashoggi, was murdered and dismembered by a Saudi hit-squad, al Jabri claims that another Saudi hit squad was sent to kill him in a similar manner.

The court issued subpoena orders against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and 13 other people to compel them to respond to al Jabri’s assassination accusations.

Al Jabri has been living in Canada since he fled the Kingdom in 2017 fearing for his life.

In Canada he has been living under police protection and with the additional help of private security.

He enjoys close ties with US intelligence circles and is known to have a wide ranging knowledge of the Saudi deep state, particularly of MBS’s potentially hidden skeletons.

That knowledge has resulted in al Jabri becoming one of MBS’ most serious threats.

"Few places hold more sensitive, humiliating and damning information about Defendant bin-Salman than the mind and memory of Dr. Saad - except perhaps the recordings Dr. Saad made in anticipation of his killing," said the lawsuit filed by al Jabri.

In a bid to harass the former intelligence officer, Saudi Arabia has issued an interpol red notice which has been rejected by the agency - it sees it as politically motivated.

The summons filed by al Jabri reads, "If you fail to respond, judgment by default will be entered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint."

While the claims in the lawsuit have not been proven, they add to a mounting body of evidence that MBS has been organising a systemic campaign to silence opponents abroad by any means necessary.

MBS will likely be appealing to the Trump administration for immunity - the US government is able to apply sovereign immunity to a foreign leader when it feels that relations may be harmed with that country.

In an election year, one that some say Trump may lose, MBS will likely fear how the lawsuit may further damage his battered prestige.

Source: TRT World