CBS This Morning- Saudi Response
This week’s damning “60 Minutes” report shows just how absurd our War on Terror is
by Marcy Wheeler, Salon
Thursday, Apr 14, 2016 11:30 AM EST
On Sunday, a “60 Minutes” report newly refocused attention on 28 pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks that have been censored since the report’s release. The 28 pages describe evidence of Saudi involvement in the attacks, but when the Inquiry released their report, the Bush Administration censored those pages, citing national security. In interviews with a number of the men who served on the Joint Inquiry, the later 9/11 Commission, or both, “60 Minutes” described how a range of Saudis funded al Qaeda and, more importantly, how a known Saudi agent helped hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar settle in San Diego and start flight lessons.
The details presented in the “60 Minutes” piece aren’t new. Former Senator Bob Graham, who led the effort to declassify these pages and appeared in Sunday’s report, laid out some of the same details as well as details learned since, in a declaration last year supporting a lawsuit the families of victims have made against the Saudis.
So it seems that, 15 years after 9/11, we‘re finally going to openly discuss Saudi support — perhaps even active involvement in — terrorism. Or maybe just threaten to do so to coerce some kind of changes in the Kingdom’s current behavior.
But there is no reason that discussion should remain with decades-old history. By all appearances the Saudis still seem to be fostering anti-American terrorism. That goes well beyond the export of extremist Wahabbism — the ideology underlying much Sunni terrorism — although that is a big problem. Even by exporting extremist culture, Saudi cultural networks may have a fairly direct tie with recent big terrorist attacks in Europe.
Then there’s funding. At least until 2009, according to a WikiLeaks State Department cable, “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” That funding has continued in the years since, including funding for ISIS.
Finally, there are Saudi Arabia’s military adventures throughout the Middle East that have had the effect of empowering Sunni terrorists, most obviously in Yemen. A recent Reuters story backed what Yemenis have been describing for some time: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — the terrorist organization that has been most successful in attempts to strike the U.S. — has thrived as a result of Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Yemen. AQAP “now openly rules a mini-state with a war chest swollen by an estimated $100 million in looted bank deposits and revenue from running the country’s third largest port.” And some Yemenis go further, suggesting that, contrary to Reuters claim that this was an unintended consequence of a Saudi focus on Houthi rebels, AQAP’s recent good fortune was very much intended — and have even come with indirect U.S. support, as the U.S. provides assistance to the Saudis in that assault.
We’re helping the terrorists who want to attack us grow stronger.
At some point, we need to take all the evidence of continued Saudi support for Sunni terrorism seriously. We need to admit we attacked the wrong country in invading Iraq, all the while claiming the double dealing Saudis are our closest allies in the War on Terror.