Ghost of September 11 Attacks
19 May 2016
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
When it turned out that 15 out of the terrorists who participated in the Sept.
11 attacks were Saudis, we realized at that time that we will be facing a
long-term crisis in relations between the two countries, which have always
been friends and allies.
Years have passed since 2001, the investigation committee confirmed Saudi
Arabia's innocence, and the file was closed.
However, recent weeks have witnessed great tension between Riyadh and
Washington after the Senate has passed a bill unanimously, thus allowing the
victims of the attacks to sue Saudi Arabia if they prove in court that it was
Despite American investigators not finding any evidence of the Kingdom's
involvement, all evidences pointed to al-Qaeda, number-one enemy for Saudi
Arabia's, which has been fighting the terrorist organization since the 1990s.
There is no possible way that any U.S. political, who is well-informed about
Middle Eastern affairs, or any security or intelligence expert could link the
attacks, which were carried out by al-Qaeda militants, to Saudi Arabia;
especially that the terrorist organization has carried out various other
attacks in New York, Washington, and in other areas around the world.
In fact, this silly accusation has only become a serious political affair
recently, when relations cooled due to several issues, and as Iran opened up
to the West.
Even the final 28 pages of the Congressional report on the Sept. 11 attacks
were hidden by former President George W. Bush's government, which was keen to
avoid harming relations with Saudi Arabia at a time when anger failed to
discriminate between mistakes and intentional actions.
Back then, I asked a Saudi official about these 28 pages, and he said Saudi
Arabia had not requested Washington to classify them and did not mind
publishing them as all the facts were clearly known by the investigation
The classified pages have now been published and they will be used by Saudi
Arabia's rivals in the ongoing political controversy, yet they are not a
Riyadh has never had any relation with al-Qaeda for the whole 20 years since
its establishment though it has been confirmed that Tehran has dealt with the
organization and sheltered dozens of its leaders who escaped U.S. bombings in
Afghanistan in 2001.
The Washington Post has earlier published documents that the Americans found
in Osama bin Laden's safe in his hideout, where they killed him.
They revealed how he gave instructions to his men not to harm Iran or Iraqi
Shiites because Tehran is an ally of al-Qaeda that supplies it with funds,
men, arms and communication equipment.
Not to forget the role of Iran's ally, the Syrian regime, which hosted
thousands of al-Qaeda militants who entered Iraq and carried out most of the
operations against U.S. troops; killing around 4,000 of them. Most of these
operations were carried out under the name of the Iraqi resistance.
On the other hand, the dispute issues between Riyadh and Washington are not
significant. In the past, the most serious ones were related to extremists'
activities, including radical preachers, funders and media outlets that used
to release programs in favor of al-Qaeda.
These issues were also overcome after the Saudi Ministry of Interior succeeded
in destroying the pillars, which ideologically supported terrorism, and
arrested thousands of those who recruited jihadists. In addition to that, the
Kingdom allowed U.S. federal investigators to examine all suspicions that have
occurred during the investigation process.
Tehran, which adopted a hostile policy against Washington, realized after 30
years that it was the only one harmed by this rivalry; therefore, it decided
to reconcile and make concessions.
Nevertheless, the nature of the Iranian regime will prevent it from achieving
a real transformation toward the West and from maintaining permanent relations
United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Al-Qaeda, September 11 attacks,
Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the
former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly
magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of
Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass
communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is
currently based in Dubai.