9/11 September 11
September 11: A day that changed the world in a fundamental way Image Credit: Supplied

It is the 19th anniversary of September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. To this day, people gather and offer their take on that event that had forever changed our Middle East as we knew it.

This is where I found myself on this recent September 11, sandwiched between a Turkish professor and an American entrepreneur, and Nick the American brought up the subject. With tensions in the region, the topic of September 11 came up.

Ayman the Turk remained unconvinced that the facts behind September 11 bombings were cut and dry as had been reported then in the media.

At the time back in 2001, I failed to see how all the US Federal defence agencies and spy gurus had failed to see this coming. If this was planned, it was obviously done over a considerable period of time and with lots of detail.

There are so many questions and so few answers. Where was the Northeast Air Traffic Control or NORAD during those long agonising minutes when the planes were obviously diverting dramatically from their flight path?

Alliance between Washington and Saudi Arabia

Nick retorted that this was indeed planned by Osama Bin Laden and kept under wraps very successfully until execution day. The primary intent was to divorce the alliance between Washington and the Saudis.

And from the way things had been playing out in the media following the attack when the Saudis came under fire for allegedly being involved, Bin Laden may have succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

But why Iraq? What had that to do with September 11? I asked Nick, “As an American, do you really know all the facts behind the bombings? Don’t you have a right to? As great a crime had been committed against your country, do you believe the 9/11 Commission report that concluded that ‘the failures of the US.

Could the attacks have been prevented?

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) permitted the terrorist attacks to occur and that if these agencies acted more wisely and more aggressively, the attacks could potentially have been prevented.’”

“Or had you been then swept away like so many others in the frenzy of Afghanistan, the panic of the Anthrax scare, the terror of bridges being blown up or domestic water reservoirs being contaminated? And finally, Iraq with its weapons of mass destruction?

Saddam was on even par with his dislike of the US or Islamic extremists or the hated Iranians next doors.”

“Look, the anthrax thing was strange,” Nick replied. “And suddenly it died out with no real answers. It must have been a local thing. Weapons of mass destruction aside, Iraq was about personal agendas. Bush had one, Rumsfield had one, Powell had one, and so on.

What Bush should have been doing then was using the might of the US to impose peace on the region by forcing the Israelis and Palestinians into a full peace agreement, but he didn’t do it.”

“And you know why? His father tried, and look where it got him. He LOST the elections. And this coming on the tail of the highest popularity rating a President had ever achieved. Oh sure, the media scored that against the state of the economy at the time.”

Bush's war 

Ayman piped in, “Look, the bombing of Iraq was America’s way of forcing their brand of democracy into the region thereby punishing and destabilising this area for the next 60 years. Were the estimated one million or more civilian casualties as a result of that war worth it?”

I had to concede that this was indeed a war of agendas and not of principles. And it would have been in Israel’s interest then to have accepted Prince Abdullah’s offer of full recognition and a normalisation of diplomatic relations, an offer that was ratified by all the other Arab states in the region.

Directed by the US against innocent civilians, this war was labelled an illegitimate war by the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, an illegal war.

It was not about the security of the United States but one full of hidden agendas. To date, there have been no discoveries of weapons of mass destruction threatening the US.

Iraq was not all Saddam. There were innocent people living there whose flesh and blood were torn and spilt needlessly.

And it soon opened a Pandora’s box that gave the world terror groups like Daesh and more. It also eventually led to the disarray in other Arab countries such as Syria and Libya. Do we still want more of the same?

— Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena