Image copyright AFP Image caption Prince Mutasim was an ally of Osama bin Laden in the 1990s
A former intelligence officer for Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince has described Mohammed bin Salman as a “psychopath” and a “cold opportunist”, who boasted he could assassinate the King of Saudi Arabia in 2014.
Yousif bin Mihsen al-Mihdhan says Prince Mutasim, who was killed in a helicopter crash earlier this year, spent over a decade operating covertly in Iraq to help free jailed Saudi militants.
The Trump administration has welcomed the removal of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
But Iran condemned the Saudi offensive which followed, saying it would lead to “more suffering and death”.
“I met him in Jordan,” al-Mihdhan told Agence France-Presse (AFP) during an interview published on Thursday.
“He told me: ‘If you think that I could be of help in Egypt or other countries, I could help you from Iraq but first I’ll kill the King of Saudi Arabia’.”
Excerpts of the interview with al-Mihdhan were published by Arab News.
Image copyright Al Masdar Image caption Prince Mutasim was killed in a helicopter crash
Al-Mihdhan became part of Prince Mutasim’s small group of trusted allies in the months after he left office in 2005 to start a new life outside Riyadh, Reuters news agency reported.
Reuters said the former intelligence officer, who is now working in London, “came to know the prince through his wife’s social network in Britain”.
Al-Mihdhan told AFP that Prince Mutasim was reluctant to carry out operations abroad but his team stepped in when action was needed.
The most important mission the family team took on was to free many Saudis held in Saddam Hussein’s prison in Iraq, al-Mihdhan said.
He said the group had faced operations by insurgents who were still receiving covert funding from former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and by what he called “a fatwa [religious ruling]”.
“I can’t reveal much now but some of these files went to Paris and Saudi,” he said.
More than 600 Saudi militants were released in 2009 after 12 years in the prison after the Prince decided it was time to release them, al-Mihdhan said.
However, Prince Mutasim “had not realised that the change of administration that ushered in a new king in 2009 would not allow the release of some of those militants,” Al-Mihdhan said.
Prince Mutasim and his group were also closely involved in the preparations for the death of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh when he was flown to Riyadh for treatment, he added.
Although Prince Mutasim was senior most in the group, al-Mihdhan said his co-operation was not sought at first.