After 9/11, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Salman accused the Israeli secret service of being behind the terror attacks. Now that he is King, the two countries are building ties and cooperating in face of the Iranian threat.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman had accused Israel’s Mossad of carrying out 9/11, according to former US Ambassador Robert Jordan.
Three-quarters of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi citizens, as was then-al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Jordan began acting as US ambassador to Saudi Arabia a few weeks after 9/11. “One of my first calls was with then governor of Riyadh Prince Salman, who is now the king. His response was very emphatic, [that] this could not have been Saudis. We couldn’t possibly have done this. This had to have been an Israeli plot. The Mossad must have done this. I got the same thing from the minister of interior, Prince Naif. I finally had to bring a CIA briefer out and show some of these princes some compelling evidence that it, indeed, was Saudis who were the hijackers,” Jordan told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.
Saudi Arabia continued to be in denial until al-Qaeda began attacks inside the Kingdom, he continued. “The greatest leap forward was after the bombings on May 12th of 2003, when three Western housing compounds were – got blown up by Al Qaeda operatives. At that point, Crown Prince Abdullah said to me that he understood that they had a problem, that they would take immediate action to capture or kill the attackers and to treat just as harshly anyone who gave them comfort or aid or even tried to justify what they did.”
Israel and Saudi Arabia have only recently gone public regarding their diplomatic ties, which have grown due to common threats, especially Iranian interference and support for terrorism in the region. At an event at the Council on Foreign Relations, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold and Saudi Maj. Gen. (ret.) Anwar Eshki announced that the two countries have held a series of secret meetings, although they do not officially have diplomatic ties.
Regarding Saudi Arabia’s relationship with Iran, “It does appear that they have – their strategy is to be against Iran at every turn and to presume that Iran’s hand is behind every negative act, certainly in their eastern province, in Bahrain, and now in Yemen,” Jordan explained.
Bin Laden managed to transform al-Qaeda from an Islamist cell into a global terrorist organization in response to Saudi policy during the Gulf War. The late King Fahd had rejected bin Laden’s offer to provide fighters to defend the country from the Iraqi military, instead allowing non-Muslim American troops to be stationed there. Of the 19 hijackers on 9/11, 15 were from Saudi Arabia.
By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel
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