Saudi Arabia, 9/11, and the Missing 29 Pages

July 20 2016

When the official report of the congressional 9/11 commission was released in 2003, 29 (not, as often claimed, 28) pages had been removed. These pages have now been released. As has been rumored for some time, they do in fact show evidence of connections between Saudi officials and the hijackings. Simon Henderson writes:

It is instantly apparent [upon looking at the passages] that the widely-held belief for why the pages were not initially released—to prevent embarrassing the Saudi royal family—is true. The pages are devastating. . . . The inquiry . . . quotes a redacted source alleging “incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi government.”

[In a recent] interview, the CIA’s director, John Brennan, [stated that] “there [is] no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually had supported the 9/11 attacks.”

That could very well be right. But it still allows for the possibility, indeed the probability, that the actions of senior Saudis resulted in those terrorist outrages. [One need not believe] that the Saudi government or members of the royal family directly supported or financed the 9/11 attacks. But official Saudi money ended up in the pockets of the attackers, without a doubt. . . .

On Friday, the Saudi foreign minister held a news conference at the Saudi embassy where he declared “The matter is now finished.” Asked whether the report exonerated the kingdom, he replied: “Absolutely.” I think not.

Read more at Washington Institute

More about: 9/11, Al Qaeda, CIA, Politics & Current Affairs, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy, War on Terror

Strengthening the Abraham Accords at Sea

In an age of jet planes, high-speed trains, electric cars, and instant communication, it’s easy to forget that maritime trade is, according to Yuval Eylon, more important than ever. As a result, maritime security is also more important than ever. Eylon examines the threats, and opportunities, these realities present to Israel:

Freedom of navigation in the Middle East is challenged by Iran and its proxies, which operate in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf, and recently in the Mediterranean Sea as well. . . . A bill submitted to the U.S. Congress calls for the formulation of a naval strategy that includes an alliance to combat naval terrorism in the Middle East. This proposal suggests the formation of a regional alliance in the Middle East in which the member states will support the realization of U.S. interests—even while the United States focuses its attention on other regions of the world, mainly the Far East.

Israel could play a significant role in the execution of this strategy. The Abraham Accords, along with the transition of U.S.-Israeli military cooperation from the European Command (EUCOM) to Central Command (CENTCOM), position Israel to be a key player in the establishment of a naval alliance, led by the U.S. Fifth Fleet, headquartered in Bahrain.

Collaborative maritime diplomacy and coalition building will convey a message of unity among the members of the alliance, while strengthening state commitments. The advantage of naval operations is that they enable collaboration without actually threatening the territory of any sovereign state, but rather using international waters, enhancing trust among all members.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, Israeli Security, Naval strategy, U.S. Foreign policy