Whenever another anniversary of September 11 rolls around, a day forever etched in the minds of those who could not escape witnessing the horrors of two skyscrapers imploding and sinking to the ground within minutes, US media has a field day taking potshots at its favourite target, the Saudis.
For the past two decades they have been trying to pin the event squarely on the government and people of Saudi Arabia and frankly it is become somewhat of a redundant nuisance. And some of the writers whose columns border on the vitriolic were not old enough to understand the events as they unfolded just parrot whatever has been handed down over the years by the repetitive force of assumptions and conjecture.
Understandably the families of the victims will continue to mourn their lost loved ones and for them we share our sympathy. The victims have long contended that the US authorities have held back files from being disclosed. For years, the US government resisted disclosing such information on the grounds of national security, but with the latest demands by the victims, US President Joe Biden acquiesced to their pleas and promised to make the facts public.
Saudi Arabia welcomed the US President’s decision to lay rest once and for all their innocence in the September 11 affair with the facts exposed to the lawyers and representatives of the victims’ families who had been relentlessly pursuing uncovering the whole truth of that horrible day. There is no smoking gun to hang the Saudis, rest assured.
In categorically rejecting all allegations, the Saudi Embassy in Washington firmly stated that “Any allegation that Saudi Arabia is complicit in the Sep. 11 attacks is categorically false. As the administrations of the past four US presidents have attested, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has unwaveringly condemned and denounced the deplorable crimes that took place against the United States, its close ally and partner.”
Highlighting the findings of the 9/11 Commission, an independent, bipartisan commission created by congressional legislation and the signature of President George W. Bush in late 2002, to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Saudi Embassy reiterated that “Previous declassification of materials relating to the Sep. 11 attacks, such as the “28 Pages,” only have confirmed the 9/11 Commission’s finding that Saudi Arabia had nothing to do with it. It is lamentable that such false and malicious claims persist.”
There you have it. No evidence has ever emerged to indicate that the Saudi government or its officials had previous knowledge of the terrorist attack or were in any way involved in its planning or execution.
When I first saw the explosions on television twenty years ago, I took it as someone playing tricks or a macabre Hollywood April Fool prank, so dastardly and outrageous were the scenes. But it soon dawned on me that they were real, and the fires and explosions were real, and the people dying and the buildings falling down were not a staged event.
Very soon war drums beat louder and American troops were being rushed to the Gulf and the subcontinent, raising a number of disturbing questions that have lingered over the years. Questions that point toward a stench that do not necessarily seem to be coming out of Afghanistan. There were many niggling pointers that just didn’t add up. Events unfolding globally following the World Trade Center disaster have given rise to more questions that yet remain unanswered.
CNN also reported that one of the hijackers’ passports supposedly survived fire and heat of over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and was found in perfect shape in the area ‘around’ the World Trade Center. Aside from the idiocy of any suggestion that a passport would survive a plane crash that is allegedly so severe it destroys the virtually indestructible Black Box, we are also led to believe that a passport, made of nothing but paper ‘flew away’ out of the hijacker’s pocket, down a few blocks from the WTC grounds. Why a few blocks away? Questions that didn’t make sense at the time.
It is understandable that everyone was upset with what happened on 9/11. Rational and humane people everywhere have similar feelings over the tragic loss of innocent lives. But a war of attrition began, one that destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq and only recently led to the inglorious withdrawal of US troops, leaving behind more destruction.
Twenty years after the horrible acts of 9/11, facts bear themselves out. Saudi Arabia had nothing to do with it, and soon to be disclosed papers will attest to that.
Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi sociopolitical commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena