9/11 Or The Saudi Arabian Terrorist Attack That Wasn’t

An image from the 9/11 or Al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington in September 2001
An image from the 9/11 or Al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington in September 2001

The New York Post newspaper carries more information on the investigations carried out by the FBI in the wake of the Al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington in September 2001, adding further substance to the claims that the atrocities were closely linked to the despotic ruling elites of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This of course was an allegation that was overlooked, or covered up, in the eagerness of the Bush-Cheney administration to launch military expeditions against the internationally reviled regimes in Kabul and Baghdad; the former loosely associated with the parent organisation of the 9/11 hijackers, the latter associated with the terrorists in no way whatsoever. Attacking impoverished Afghanistan, and later isolated Iraq, was “doable” in terms of the United States’ military, diplomatic, political and financial resources at the start of the 21st century. The House of Saud, and the allied tinpot monarchies of the Gulf region, on the other hand were inviolable for all of those self-same reasons.

“Just 15 days before the 9/11 attacks, a well-connected Saudi family suddenly abandoned their luxury home in Sarasota, Fla., leaving behind jewellery, clothes, opulent furniture, a driveway full of cars — including a brand new Chrysler PT Cruiser — and even a refrigerator full of food.

The 3,300-square-foot home on Escondito Circle belonged to Esam Ghazzawi, a Saudi adviser to the nephew of then-King Fahd. But at the time, it was occupied by his daughter and son-in-law, who beat a hasty retreat back to Saudi Arabia just two weeks before the attacks after nearly a six-year stay here.

Neighbors took note of the troubling coincidence and called the FBI, which opened an investigation that led to the startling discovery that at least one “family member” trained at the same flight school as some of the 9/11 hijackers…”

Veteran Middle East journalist Patrick Cockburn addressed some of these issues last year over on CounterPunch:

“The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has been aided by the continuing failure of the US Government to investigate the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks and its support of jihadi movements such as al-Qaeda in the years since…

The Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 has long been public knowledge since 15 out of 19 of the hijackers were Saudis, and the leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, was a member of the Saudi ruling elite. The 9/11 inquiry found that, for financing, al-Qaeda relied on a core group of private donors and charities in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Despite the Saudi connections of the 9/11 conspirators, Saudi Arabia and its citizens were treated with extraordinary leniency in the wake of the attacks. Some 144 individuals, mostly from the Saudi aristocracy, were permitted to fly back to Saudi Arabia within days of the attacks without being questioned by the FBI. The influential Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan was pictured in cheerful conversation with President Bush on the White House balcony a few days after 9/11. Senator Graham recalls that “there were several incidents [in which US officials] were inexplicably solicitous to Saudis”. US officials who went to Saudi Arabia to investigate links to 9/11 found their Saudi counterparts to be persistently obstructive.

Saudi obstructionism continued during the decade after 9/11: in 2007, Stuart Levey, the Under Secretary of the US Treasury in charge of monitoring and impeding the financing of terrorism, told ABC News that when it came to al-Qaeda, “if I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia”. He added that at that stage not one person identified by the US or the UN as funding terrorism had been prosecuted by the Saudis. Eight years after 9/11, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, wrote in a cable leaked by WikiLeaks that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups.”

The greatest irony of the US’ so-called War on Terror, the counter-productive campaign against violent political Islam, is that it is being waged everywhere and anywhere in the world except the states who actually give it ideological, political and financial succour: the despicable potentates of the Arabian peninsula.

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5 comments

  1. It’s one thing to take on isolated rogue states, another to go after a nation with very deep pockets (and home to Islam’s two holiest sites) that could likely marshal widespread opposition from other countries to US force.

    1. Very true, CBB. No doubt that was part of it.

      I recently read a report on the American relationship with the Saudis over the last two decades that summed it up brilliantly. The Saudis exist as a “hireling” society. Everything is bought in from overseas: servants, cooks, doctors, nurses, teachers, chauffeurs, construction labourers, shop assistants, security personnel, architects, scientists, etc. Relatively few Saudis above a certain class level actually work, at least as we would know it. They pay foreigners to work for them. Even the Saudi military is largely mercenary in nature. So when the US arrived to fight in the region against enemies they shared in common with the Saudis the aristocrats of Riyadh treated them exactly as they would any other group they had hired to do their work. They did not see the Americans as representatives of a superpower. They were simply extremely well-paid professionals being paid to do a job. This view of the world shapes much of Saudi Arabia’s behaviour. They do nothing unless it is for their benefit and view everyone as simply there to be used as and when required.

      For US diplomats, politicians and generals it was something of a culture shock that they seemed to have never really recovered from.

      1. Yes, US leadership has grown accustomed to being regarded as saviors rather than hired help. Of course, the Saudis’ approach that they can buy their way out of any problem is a recipe for turmoil and, ultimately, long-term upheaval – elsewhere if not in Saudi Arabia.

  2. I think the Saudi’s own roughly about 5% of the USA.
    This is measured in the various assets that the Saudi’s own.
    calculated against the size of the US economy.

    Not to mention, all the arms deals that are possible for the USA to ship over there.
    The Saudis have the biggest and most useless military in that region.
    I heard during the 2003 illegal invasion if “Irak”..The USA assigned various targets to the Saudi airforce and the BRitish supplied Tornado attack planes.
    The Saudis weren’t able to complete them.
    Then of course they are asking Pakistan to supply troops for Yemen.
    I wonder what the pple of Pakistan make of being a foreign legion for these clowns.
    If I was from there..I’d be blooming livid at the idea.
    Shameful..and wasteful.

    1. Good points, Oz. The Saudi military has numerous foreign recruits, mostly hired from Yemen, Pakistan, etc. though the exact numbers are unknown. I suspect they are fairly high.

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