By Hassan Lasjerdi, Tehran Times editor-in-chief

What happened to 9/11?

September 12, 2016

TEHRAN - U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday honored the nearly 3,000 victims of the September 11 attacks.

In a weekly radio and internet address, Obama hailed the bravery of survivors and the emergency personnel who responded to the heart- breaking incident, and the work of others who have worked since to keep the United States safe, saying: The attackers' goal was to frighten Americans into changing how they live.

He went on say: “Americans will never give in to fear.”

“It's our diversity, our welcoming of all talent, our treating of everybody fairly - no matter their race, gender, ethnicity, or faith - that's part of what makes our country great. It's what makes us resilient,” said Obama.

As Obama’s term is nearing an end, the 2016 presidential race for the White House is getting hot. The two presidential nominees, the Republican and Democratic frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton talked on how they would handle the affairs of the country if they become president.

That’s exactly when I recall coiffed Trump, reading a statement issued by his campaign office, calling for a “total and complete shutdown” on Muslims entering the U.S. Stating that “we have no choice”, Trump went on to say that the authorities should be looking at mosques as there is “hatred” within them.

Trump has proposed, in various forms and iterations, banning Muslims from entering the U.S. “until we figure out what’s going on”.

Well I hope that is not the diversity, welcoming of all talent, treating of everybody fairly - no matter their race, gender or faith that President Obama said in his address.

Why “Muslims” might not be interested about the U.S. policy in the Middle East? Let me draw your attention to the wars that the United States has started in countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, claiming they are fighting terrorism and bringing democracy.

Why after more than a decade since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, war and chaos is still taking toll in the country and the blood of Afghans is shed?

The U.S. aims were to dismantle al-Qaeda and deny it a safe haven for operations in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban from power. Was the U.S. successful?

At the time President George W. Bush demanded that the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden and expel al-Qaeda. The Taliban declined to extradite him unless given what they deemed convincing evidence of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The request was dismissed by the U.S. as a delaying tactic, and on October 7, 2001 it launched Operation Enduring Freedom with Britain.

However on May 2, 2011, U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan. United Nations-backed peace talks have since taken place between the Afghan government and the Taliban!

What happened in Iraq?

The 2003 invasion of Iraq signaled the start of the Iraq war, which was dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom. The U.S. deposed the longtime dictator Saddam Hussein.

According to George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the coalition mission was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.”

In a January 2003 CBS poll, 64% of Americans had approved of military action against Iraq; however, later on 63% wanted Bush to find a diplomatic solution rather than go to war. Polls also showed that 62% believed the threat of terrorism directed against the U.S. would increase due to war.

The invasion of Iraq was strongly opposed by some long-standing U.S. allies, including France and Germany. Their leaders argued that there was no evidence of WMDs in Iraq and that invading the country was not justified in the context of UNMOVIC report released on February 12, 2003. On February 15, 2003, a month before the invasion, there were worldwide protests against the Iraq war, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally. According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between January 3 and April 12, 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war.

Iraq was invaded at last!

The whole world knows that neither the Afghans, nor the Iraqis benefitted from the invasions and the pursuing wars. Well who benefits from any war except the ones who get richer?

Were there WMDs in Iraq in the first place? Saddam was ousted and killed but the country is plagued by terrorism. Are the Iraqi people free now? They do not know the next morning that they wake up and go to work, school… they come back alive or not! Iraqi women are slaves of ISIL militants and the boys are recruited as child soldiers for acts of terror and the girls are kept as sex slaves or sold. Iraqi men are killed in masses. Is this freedom?

However, Obama pledged relentless attacks against al-Qaeda and ISIL, whose acts of terror have reached the West.

 The House of Saud links to 9/11 shouldn’t remain secret

President Obama said in his address that the U.S. will fight terrorism relentlessly. The world knows that the U.S. military is powerful and is equipped with sophisticated weaponry. Why, despite all this military prowess, have they not been able to uproot ISIL?!

Does it downgrade the U.S. to cooperate with other countries in the fight against terrorism? As many world leaders including President Obama say, fighting terrorism is a collective effort and the results have proven to be much better when powers join hands in the face of the ugly phenomenon of terrorism.

What happened to the role of Saudi Arabia and the terrorists who have links to the House of Saud?

The 19 hijackers in the September 11 attacks were affiliated with al-Qaeda. 15 of them were Saudi citizens.

For more than 13 years, 28 pages documenting specific indications of foreign government support for the 9/11 hijackers were hidden from the American people.

Declassified on July 15, 2016, the 28 pages revealed a web of interconnections linking Saudi government officials, members of the Saudi royal family, suspected Saudi intelligence operatives and 9/11 hijackers.

Among those revelations:

The first page of the declassified 28 pages on the Saudi government links to 9/11 involves Saudi Prince Bandar — the former Saudi ambassador to Washington — who made payments to an avowed supporter of bin Laden who boasted of helping two Flight 77 hijackers in San Diego.

An unlisted phone number linked closely to Bandar was found in the phone book of al-Qaeda associate Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan.

Zubaydah also had a phone number for a bodyguard at the Saudi embassy in Washington who was under an FBI investigation.

The U.S. and Saudi governments claim there are no clear evidences for these and many other disturbing coincidences found in the 28 pages and other declassified documents. If so, the people of the United States and the entire world deserve to see the full evidence for themselves.

Terrorism is a heinous act and there is no such a thing as good or bad terrorism. Terrorism is ugly in any form. It has many roots. Terrorism, whether in form of a proxy war or in form an alliance between certain groups and countries, does not benefit the people who are just bearing its brunt.

HL/PA

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