What Was Saudi Arabia’s Role In 9/11


In September 2001, al-Qaida carried out an attack on the United States of America. The attack, known as 9/11, was the largest terrorist attack ever on the United States, involving the hijacking of four commercial airliners and the subsequent destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City. It is widely suspected that the attack was financed and supported by Saudi Arabia, a longtime ally of the United States, and that the hijackers received assistance and funding from Saudi citizens.

Saudi Arabia has long been linked to terrorism through its involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center and 2001 Pentagon attacks, as well as its long history of support for militant Islamist groups. Saudi Arabia has provided financial support for al-Qaeda, Hamas, and other militant groups, and has been suspected of providing safe havens for terrorist leaders. The Saudi government has denied any involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Evidence of Involvement

The 9/11 Commission found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior government officials” had supported the 9/11 attacks, but it did note that there were a number of individuals who had connections to the Kingdom and were implicated. In particular, it cited the high concentration of Saudi nationals among the 19 hijackers, the financial and other support they received from Saudis in the United States, and the presence of al-Qaeda operative and suspected 9/11 financial coordinator Mustafa al-Hawsawi in Saudi Arabia prior to the attacks.

The Saudi government was suspected of providing financial and other types of assistance to the hijackers in the US. The commission also noted that the FBI had found evidence that “at least two of the hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, received financial support from persons connected to the Saudi government.”

In addition, the commission found that there were many Saudi citizens whose actions looked suspicious in the months and years leading up to the attack and who had been in contact with al-Qaeda and other suspected terrorist organizations. The commission found that it was possible that these individuals were connected to the hijackers or to terrorist groups, although it was unable to draw any definitive conclusions.

Saudi Arabia’s Role in 9/11

The exact role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks still remains unclear, despite numerous investigations into the matter. It is likely that, at the very least, some Saudi citizens provided financial and logistical support to the hijackers. It is also possible that the Saudi government was aware of or even complicit in the attacks, although this has not been proven.

What is certain is that Saudi Arabia has a long history of supporting militant Islamist groups. The Kingdom has been a major source of funding for Hamas, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations, and it is likely that these groups had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. The seriousness of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the attacks is still unclear, but it is clear that the Kingdom was involved in some capacity.

US-Saudi Relations

In the wake of the attacks, the US has taken a much stronger stance on Saudi Arabia’s role in terrorism and has sought to distance itself from the Kingdom. There has been debate over whether the US should cut off diplomatic ties with the Kingdom or seek to forge closer ties in order to tackle the threat posed by militant groups. President Obama has sought to maintain a close relationship with the Kingdom but has also pushed the Saudi government to do more to combat terrorism, including cutting off financial support for terrorist groups.

The US and Saudi Arabia have also been working together to combat the threat of Islamic State. The two countries have formed a joint task force to counter the group, and Saudi Arabia has contributed troops and air power to the US-led coalition fighting the group in Iraq and Syria. US-Saudi ties are also closer than ever, with the two countries signing a major arms deal in 2017 and the US relying heavily on the Kingdom for its anti-Iran strategy.

Criticism of Saudi Arabia

Despite the strategic alliance between the US and Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom has come under increasing criticism from human rights groups for its record on human rights. The Saudi government has been criticized for its treatment of women, its use of capital punishment, and its involvement in the war in Yemen. The US has also come under pressure from human rights groups to take a tougher line on Saudi Arabia, and there have been calls for the US to impose sanctions on the Kingdom for its role in human rights abuses.

The US has also been criticized by the international community for its cozy relationship with the Saudi government. In particular, many have questioned why the US has not done more to hold the Kingdom accountable for its role in the 9/11 attacks and its continued support for militant groups. The US has so far refused to declassify 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission report which reportedly implicate Saudi citizens in the attacks.

Saudi Arabia’s Evolving Role in the Region

Saudi Arabia has long been a key player in the Middle East, but its role in regional politics has become increasingly important in recent years. The Kingdom has taken an increasingly active approach to regional security issues, playing a key role in the fight against terrorist groups such as Islamic State. It has also taken a more influential role in regional diplomatic processes, most notably in the recent talks to end the conflict in Yemen.

The Kingdom is also looking to diversify its economy away from oil and has launched initiatives such as Vision 2030 to foster economic growth and development. The Saudi government has also sought to open up the country to foreign investment and to encourage greater cultural exchange and engagement with the outside world.

Implications of Saudi Arabia’s Role

Saudi Arabia’s growing role in the region has major implications for the US and the international community. The US needs to balance its need for a strong ally in the region with its concerns about Saudi Arabia’s foreign and domestic policies. The US must also be mindful of the Kingdom’s increasingly influential position in the region and seek to ensure that its actions are in line with US interests.

The Kingdom’s growing regional influence has also led to increased scrutiny of the country’s actions. The international community is watching closely how Saudi Arabia handles its continued involvement in the conflict in Yemen, and whether it is doing enough to combat extremism and human rights abuses.

Reforming Saudi Arabia

The Saudi government has sought to present itself as a modernizing force in the region, but many in the international community remain skeptical of its commitment to reform. Human rights groups have noted that reforms such as allowing women to drive have not been accompanied by changes to the country’s restrictive laws and its authoritarian government.

The Saudi government has also been slow to implement much-needed economic reforms and to tackle the issue of corruption. The government recently passed a sweeping anti-corruption law, but it remains to be seen whether it will be enforced.

The international community is also watching to see if the Kingdom will continue its efforts to tackle extremism and terrorism within its borders. The Saudi government has taken some steps in this regard, such as cracking down on the financing of terrorism, but much more still needs to be done if the Kingdom is to rid itself of its reputation as a breeding ground for extremism.

Jose Richard

Jose M. Richard is a journalist and author based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Jose has written extensively on Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East region. Jose is passionate about promoting understanding of the region and its people, and his work has been recognised with international awards.

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