Meet Jabir al-Omri: 10 Questions Answered


In this post, you get to meet the hero of Panama Deception, Jabir al-Omri. He’s also the resident thinker, or over-thinker, depending on who you ask.

1.  What are your basic statistics?

Are you sure you’re not with some agency or even Unit 28? You came out kind of fast there. But, hey, I understand why that’s important. My name is Jabir al-Omri. Sure, my parents are Saudi, but I was born in Chicago and grew up there. I haven’t been back since…it doesn’t matter. Let’s just say my parents are divorced. Mama lives near me in Alexandria, Virginia. Father’s in Chicago, unless he changed his address without saying, which wouldn’t surprise me. I have four siblings, well, three since Yasmin died when I was in college. I haven’t seen my brothers since 2009, so eight years. Really, I’m not too keen to talk about that.

I’ve got the black hair and olive tones of a Saudi. I tend to wear a perpetual two-day beard because I’m lazy about shaving, and since I don’t like going to the barber, my curls can sometimes get a little long. Alex always said I had this heartbreaker look about me. Huh? That’s when she explained how girls would like to run their fingers through my hair. I find that hard to believe. Honestly, I’m a guy. I don’t think about things like that.

2.  What are your likes and dislikes?

I really enjoy sports. Playing them, watching them, especially with my friends. Working out’s cool too. As is cooking. Alex and I really enjoyed doing that together, and I got great enjoyment of somehow always sticking her with the cleanup. Go ahead. Laugh. I did, but she didn’t seem to mind. Dislikes? Sure, I’m a Christian now, but pork is still a no-no for me, as is fried food. I’m also an urban jungle guy, and wildlife can creep me out. I’m also not into clingy women, which is one of the reasons why I love Alex. If there’s someone who’s not clingy, it’s her.

3.  What is most precious to you and why?

Boy, you really know how to ask the questions, don’t you? I have this beautiful sapphire jewelry set. I know, I know, it sounds strange for me to have something like that. It’s not. Mama gave it to me when I was getting ready to leave Chicago for good. You see, she and Father had given that to Yasmin when she turned sixteen. When Father essentially kidnapped her and forced her on a plane to Saudi Arabia to marry her husband, she had to leave everything behind. I keep that as a reminder of how much I loved her. I decided that I’d give it to the woman I intended to marry. Maybe one day, Alex will own it. Hah. Or maybe not. Seeing that she and I haven’t spoken in four years, that’s looking rather remote.

4.  Who has impacted you the most and why?

I’m sorry? I didn’t mean to pause for so long. I was thinking, something you’ll understand about me as you get to know me. It’s a toss-up between Alex and Yasmin. My sister’s death gave me direction. Alex kept me going in that direction.

5.  If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

That’s easy. Thinker.

6.  What is your greatest strength and weakness?

Tiny, my boss at Unit 28, always said that traits that are great strengths can, when taken too far, become a weakness. Thinking is probably both my greatest strength and weakness at the same time. You see, I’m very, very good at thinking through problems, be for an op, my problem, or a friend’s problem. Lots of times, I avoid pitfalls that way. But when I think too much, it’s analysis by paralysis. That’s what happened with Alex and me. If I’d stopped thinking about a  way to tell her I loved her, maybe none of what happened four years ago would have impacted us like it did.

7.  What’s your biggest regret?

Boy, you don’t know when to stop, do you? My biggest regret ties into what I just told you. I regret not telling Alex I loved her.

8.  What drives you?

Bringing those men who are like the man who murdered my sister to justice. Father forced her into a marriage. Her husband killed her when he put her in a lose-lose situation by kicking her out of the car in the middle of the desert. For her, it was either walk into town alone or seek a ride from a taxi driver, who was an unrelated male. Her husband killed her to save face. Now, the information I hand over allows my agency and others to take down men like that. It gives me great satisfaction when Tiny tells me how many people the intelligence I collected probably saved.

9.  What do you want the most? What do you fear the most?

You’ve heard me talk about Alex. I love her so much I want to marry her and have a family with her one day. Only I chose to run away when she needed me most. Not that deep undercover work is paradise, but it was my way of failing to handle the fallout of everything that went down four years ago. Now, I can see how the fabric of our relationship is torn. My biggest fear is that I’ll never get the chance to see her again, to explain everything, and to beg her forgiveness. It’s going to take a miracle for that to happen.

10.  What are three things you want people to learn from Panama Deception?

Trusting God is hard. Living a life of lies in the name of a mission is hard. Staying close to a suspected murderer is hard too.

I have not received any compensation for writing this post. The work mentioned in this post is of my own writing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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