By Mohammad Mazhari

9/11 attacks shattered the Americans' sense of security: Shireen Hunter 

September 11, 2020 - 8:36

TEHRAN - Shireen Hunter, a professor of political science at Georgetown University, is of the opinion that the September 11 attacks “shattered the Americans' sense of security” and led to “a far more directly interventionist American foreign policy.”

The September 11 attacks mark a turning point in the history of the United States. Nearly 3,000 Americans were killed on that sunny morning when two hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and another plowed into the Pentagon.

Noting that the 9/11 attacks were the first attack on mainland America since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Shireen Hunter tells the Tehran Times that the event convinced many Americans that in order to prevent similar attacks in future "the U.S. must target sources of potential future attacks where they are." 

On October 7, 2001, the U.S. launched attacks on Afghanistan to topple the Taliban that was ruling the country on time and provided sanctuary for al-Qaeda, a group blamed for the 9/11 attacks. Two years later, on March 19, 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq as well. 

The U.S. and Britain invaded Iraq despite the fact that the Saddam Hussein regime was against terrorist groups. 

“They (Americans) used the war against terror in the pursuit of other goals. In the process, the war on terror generated more terrorism and spun more terrorist groups, such as, for instance, new branches of al-Qaeda and Daesh.”
Responding to a question about the consequences of these wars, Hunter says the “hardline conservative elements” in the U.S., especially the neo-conservatives, exploited the people's “trauma” resulting from the 9/11 attacks to “advance other agendas, including regime change in some states.”

 "They used the war against terror in the pursuit of other goals. In the process, the war on terror generated more terrorism and spun more terrorist groups, such as, for instance, new branches of al-Qaeda and Daesh,” Hunter notes.
The wars only caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and left Iraq and Afghanistan in ruins. 

"After 17 years, the U.S. and, especially the American people, are tired of so-called endless wars," Hunter notes. "They want the U.S. to wrap up these military involvements and bring the troops home. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are the most powerful military and political force." 

According to political observers, in order to leave Afghanistan, the U.S. must come to terms with the Taliban. 
Hunter says that the U.S. wants the Taliban to block Iran's influence in Afghanistan. 

The university professor says although Taliban occasionally hold talks with Iran they are anti-Shia. "Taliban are basically anti-Shia and anti-Iran, although occasionally for expediency, they talk to the Iranians."

Regarding the repercussions of 9/11 on U.S. internal security, the American professor says a major consequence of 9/11 has been “intrusions in aspects of Americans' privacy”. 

"But other aspects of Civil Liberties have not been much affected. Because of 9/11, today, the U.S. is more of a security state than before this event," according to Hunter.

9/11 revealed a new face of America as a country, which was once a dream for everyone around the world.

While the "American Dream mostly refers to every American's expectation of having upward mobility and achieving economic success and security," after the 9/11 attacks, this notion was strongly challenged, she says.

"It (American Dream) also implies feeling secure in his/her private life," Hunter points out. "These are both challenged today, especially in terms of expectations of upward mobility and economic success. Large expenditures for wars have contributed to the eroding Americans' expectations of a good life."

Although most of the 9/11 attackers were Saudi nationals, the U.S. administration preferred to keep silent towards some Arab countries which their citizens were directly involved in the attacks.

“The U.S. government has been unwilling to push Riyadh to compensate the victims of 9/11”"That was due to the close relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, the U.S. government has been unwilling to push Riyadh to compensate the victims of 9/11," Hunter elaborates. "Unequivocally admitting to Saudi Arabia's guilt would be politically embarrassing to both Washington and Riyadh and could cause friction between the two capitals. Hence the U.S. silence and inaction."

15 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi citizens. Two were UAE nationals.
Responding to the hypotheses that the 9/11 attacks were plotted to spread Islamophobia in the West, the American academic says “conspiratorial theories about 9/11 are not valid”.

"I certainly do not believe in them. It is inconceivable that the U.S. could have been responsible for this event, just in order to spread Islamophobia," she argues.
Hunter claims that some Muslim groups' actions, especially those resorting to violence, have been creating enough excuse for those who want to generate discord between Muslims and the Western states and peoples.

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