Nineteen years ago jihadi terrorists attacked America. Four jet-liners rammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field murdering 2,996 civilians. Fifteen of the nineteen Islamist hijackers were Saudis.
At that time Saudi official sources denied any Saudi involvement. Instead they blamed Israel and the Zionists for the 9/11 attacks:
- On June 23, 2002 Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abd Al-Aziz was asked about post-9/11 U.S. criticism of Saudi Arabia. The Prince said, “It is enough to see a number of congressmen wearing Jewish yarmulkes to explain the allegations against us” (Al-Sharq Al-Awsat; London, June 23, 2002). The London-based Saudi daily Al-Hayat added that the Prince cut off a journalist, stating: “Say ‘Jewish congressmen’ . . . That is sufficient” (Al-Hayat; London, June 23, 2002).
- On November 29, 2002 Saudi Minister of Interior Prince Nayef Ibn Abd Al-Aziz said in an interview posted in the Saudi paper Ain-Al-Yaqeen “We put big question marks and ask who committed the events of September 11 and who benefited from them. Who benefited from events of 11/9? I think they [the Zionists] are behind these events”
Other royal Saudi statements shed light on their perspectives on Jews and Zionists :
- The late Saudi King Faisal told the Egyptian magazine Al-Musawwar in 1972, “While I was in Paris on a visit, the police discovered five murdered children. Their blood had been drained, and it turned out that some Jews had murdered them in order to take their blood and mix it with the bread they eat on that day.” In a 1973 interview with the Lebanese newspaper Al-Sayyad, King Faisal said that in order to comprehend the crimes of Zionism it’s necessary to understand the Jewish religious obligation to obtain non-Jewish blood.
- The daughter of King Saud Abdul Aziz, Fahda, declared on September 5, 2002 that her father had “made the right diagnosis: ‘The Zionist threat is like cancer – in dealing with it neither medicine nor surgery will do any good.’ This royal statement was meant to emphasize that the Arabs do not, and will not, accept an Israeli state amidst them.”
What information has come out since 9/11 about Saudi connections? Are any biblical dynamics involved here?
Saudi long-term support of jihadi terror
Saudi royal funding helped establish the Makhtab al-Khidamat (Arabic for Services Center) in 1984. It was set up by two members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdullah Azzam (Bin Laden’s mentor) and Osama bin Laden with strong support of the Saudi, Egyptian, and U.S. Governments, including Prince Turki al-Faisal (then head of Saudi Intelligence). Jihad against the Russians in Afghanistan was an original focus. Later it evolved into al-Qaeda (Arabic, the Base, like a rolodex of contacts), supported by Saudi Intelligence, the Saudi Red Crescent, and Saudi government-established groups World Muslim League and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, as well as private donations from Saudi princes and mosques. These groups and their offshoots organized and carried out the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the US Embassy Africa bombings in 1998.
Rachel Bronson details in her book Thicker Than Oil: America’s Uneasy Partnership With Saudi Arabia, how in the 1980’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud helped to recruit fighters for Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, an Afghan Salafist jihadi who mentored both Osama bin Laden and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
The Saudi government was the principal financial backer of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement since at least 1996.
The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency accused the Saudi High Commission of shipping both aid and weapons in the 1990’s to Mohamed Farrah Aidid, the al-Qaeda-linked Somali warlord depicted in the movie Black Hawk Down.
Mohammed al-Khilewi, the First Secretary at the Saudi Mission to the United Nations, defected in May 1994 and sought political asylum in the United States. He brought with him 14,000 internal Saudi government documents depicting the royal family’s corruption, human-rights abuses, and financial support for Islamist extremists. In particular, he presented evidence that the Saudis were giving financial and technical support to Hamas (a jihadi terror group in Gaza). At a lawyer’s office meeting with two F.B.I. agents and an Assistant United States Attorney, the agents refused to accept the Saudi documents (following instructions from their superiors).
Saudi support for Hamas (money and logistic support) was warmly acknowledged with thanksgiving by Hamas’ founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin in an April 26, 1998 interview on Qatari television. In Yassin’s Al-Quds interview on July 26, 1998, he stated that his audience with the Saudi King during his recent tour of the Arab states “was an expression of appreciation on the part of Saudi Arabia for [our] activities for the sake of Palestine and to tell the world – especially the U.S. and Israel – that Saudi Arabia supports the path of jihad. Saudi Arabia has demonstrated strength and courage.”
On May 6, 2002 Israel Defense Forces raided Palestinian Authority buildings, seizing documents, including a copy of a personal letter from PA Envoy Abu Mazen to the Saudi governor of Riyadh province, Prince Salman Bo Abed al Aziz, This letter dated December 30, 2000 protested that most of the $130 million sent to the West Bank by the Saudi Interior Ministry ended up in the hands of Gaza’s Hamas and other jihadi terror groups. The Saudi Committee for Support of the Intifada Al Quds (an Arabic phrase for Jerusalem) headed by Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayif bin Abd al-Aziz and financially supported by the Saudi royal family, habitually transferred funds through both Chase Manhattan Bank and Citibank in New York State to Hamas, the jihadi terror group responsible for 40 percent of the homicide bombings during the intifada of 2002-2005. US State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs explained at the time, “No one seriously doubts the veracity of the information contained in [the documents seized by Israel].”
Israeli authorities on September 27, 2005 announced the arrest of an Israeli-Arab Hamas activist who played central militant, political, and financing roles at a ‘Hamas command center in Saudi Arabia.’
Robert Baer, former CIA case officer, notes that “on June 22, 1998, forty Chechens were quietly brought to a secret military camp located seventy-five miles southeast of Riyadh. Over the next four months, they were trained in explosives, hand-to-hand combat, and small weapons. A lot of time was set aside for indoctrination into Wahhabi Islam. Salman, the governor of Riyadh and the full brother of King Fahd, was the camp’s sponsor” (Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude).
Saudi-al Qaeda connections
In a March 2002 raid by Bosnian police on the Sarajevo offices of the Saudi charity Benevolence International Foundation (a front for terror funding) investigators found a document dubbed the “Golden Chain,” later authenticated by U.S. intelligence officials. Believed to have been written in 1988, the document outlines the top 20 financial sponsors of al-Qaida, all of them Saudis – bankers, businessmen, two former ministers, etc. Their aggregate net worth was $85 billion. One of the entities on the chain was “Bin Laden brothers.”
Former CIA director James Woolsey describes Wahabism (the Saudi stream of jihadi Islam) as “the soil in which al-Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are flourishing.” Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest source of funds for and promoter of Salafist jihadism. In 2013, Strasbourg’s European Parliament declared Salafism and Wahabism to be the main source of global terrorism.
Former Taliban intelligence chief Mohammed Khaksar said in sworn statements after 9/11, that Prince Turki al-Faisal, head of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Department (G.I.D.), made a deal with Osama bin Laden in 1998. Al-Qaeda, following a stream of Islam even more radical than Saudi Wahabism and based on the writings of Ibn Taymiyyah, saw the House of Saud as apostate, weak on Islam and worthy of destruction. But al-Qaeda agreed not to attack Saudi targets. In return, Saudi Arabia would provide material assistance to the Taliban, not demand bin Laden’s extradition or close down al-Qaeda training camps. Saudi money would continue to flow without stop into al-Qaeda’s coffers.
Dick Gannon, who served as Director of Operations for the State Department’s Office of Counterterrorism, observed in October 1998, less than three months after leaving his post, “We’ve got information about who’s backing bin Laden and, in a lot of cases, it goes back to the royal family.”
In 2003 David Aufhauser (General Counsel to the Department of the Treasury) told the Senate Judiciary Hearing on Terrorism: Two Years After 9/11, Connecting the Dots (September 10, 2003) that “Saudi Arabia is the epicenter of terrorism financing.” He added that during the 1980’s and 1990’s Saudi Arabia had spent “nearly $80 billion” to spread Wahhabi ideology throughout both Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
According to the U.S. Senate Hearings on Counterterror Initiatives in the Terror Finance Program (September 2003 through October 2004), “Saudi Arabia is present at every stage of al-Qaeda financing, but primarily as the major source of funding.”
French counterterrorism expert Jean-Charles Brisard, author of The Economic Environment of Osama Bin Laden (October 2001) was asked what proportion of bin Laden’s funding came from Saudi Arabia: “It would be more than 90 percent. No question about that.”
Brisard’s written testimony given before the U.S. Senate on October 22, 2003, noted that in June 2001, the late FBI Chief of Antiterrorism, John O’Neill, told him that “All the answers, all the keys enabling us to dismantle Bin Laden’s network are in Saudi Arabia.”
Robert Baer, former CIA case officer, notes that “one report sent to the United Nations Security Council indicated that Saudi Arabia transferred half a billion dollars to al Qaeda in the ten years beginning 1992” (Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude).
Blacking out a Saudi role connections
Between January and November 2002, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence conducted a ‘Joint Congressional Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activity Before and After Terrorists Attacks of September 11.’ At page 396 of the Joint Inquiry’s report, in the final section of the body of the report, black marks cover all the words. All 28 pages of Part Four, entitled “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters,” had been redacted.
Florida Senator Bob Graham was then Chairman of the Joint Congressional Inquiry as well as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Graham is quoted by authors Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan (The Eleventh Day) as saying that his panel found “that the Saudis were facilitating, assisting, some of the hijackers. And my suspicion is that they were providing some assistance to most if not all of the hijackers. It’s my opinion that 9/11 could not have occurred but for the existence of an infrastructure of support within the United States. By ‘the Saudis,’ I mean the Saudi government and individual Saudis who are for some purposes dependent on the government – which includes all of the elite in the country,” Graham noted, “I was stunned that the intelligence community would feel that it was a threat to national security for the American people to know who had made 9/11 financially possible.” At a subsequent press conference, Senator Graham, who retired in 2005, added that “Saudi Arabia was essentially a co-conspirator in 9/11.”
A U.S. official who had read the censored section told the Los Angeles Times that it described “very direct, very specific links” with Saudi officials, links that “cannot be passed off as rogue, isolated or coincidental.” The New York Times journalist Philip Shenon has written that Senator Graham and his investigators became “convinced that a number of sympathetic Saudi officials, possibly within the sprawling Islamic Affairs Ministry, had known that al-Qaeda terrorists were entering the United States beginning in 2000 in preparation for some sort of attack. Graham believed the Saudi officials had directed spies operating in the United States to assist them.”
It is puzzling that U.S. intelligence agents were regularly called off from pursuing leads which pointed back to the Saudi embassy in Washington or its consulate in Los Angeles, where former FBI Agent Stephen Moore headed a 9/11 task force looking into local contacts made by two of the 15 Saudi hijackers, “Moore testified in an affidavit for the 9/11 lawsuit. He concluded that ‘diplomatic and intelligence personnel of Saudi Arabia knowingly provided material support to the two hijackers and facilitated the 9/11 plot.’ Yet he and his team were not allowed to interview them, according to the suit.”
In October 2001, Newsweek reported that “Two interrelated global charities directly financed by the Saudi government – the International Islamic Relief Organization and the Muslim World League – have been used by bin Laden to finance his operations. The organizations were left off the list of groups sanctioned by the United States last week, U.S. officials hinted to NEWSWEEK, in order to avoid embarrassing the Saudi government.”
According to the Report of the Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, the ‘banking and wire service infrastructure’ of the United Arab Emirates aided the September 11 hijackers. Four transfers totaling approximately $110,000 to a SunTrust account in Venice, Florida, served as the principal funding for the attacks . . . Due to such transfers, and the reputation of the U.A.E. as a financial center of the Persian Gulf with lax banking regulations and unregulated free trade zones, the U.A.E. serves as a particularly illustrative example of the problems of money laundering and terrorist financing mechanisms in the Middle East . . . With the bulk of terrorist funds being raised in Saudi Arabia, and both nations dependent on each other for economic and security reasons, it is doubtful that the United States would ever impose special measures on the ‘epicenter of terrorist financing’”
A U.S. official who read the redacted 28 pages commented anonymously to the New Republic journal in 2003 that “if the twenty-eight pages were to be made public, . . . I have no question that the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia would change overnight.”
Michael Schneuer was chief of the CIA’s ALEC STATION (Bin Laden Issue Station) from 1995 to 1999. On June 20, 2006 he gave an interview to PBS Frontline. He dryly noted that leaders of the USA have decided that America is “being attacked because [al-Qaeda] hate freedoms and liberties and elections and gender equality. As long as we’re pursuing it from that side, we don’t understand the enemy’s motivation. We also like to say that they are people who are gangsters and criminals and on the lunatic fringe of the Muslim world . . . Both of those things are wrong. We’re being attacked . . . by a great and rising percentage of the Islamic world.” Schneuer’s overall appraisal of spiritual dynamics in the Middle East is less than biblical, though, to put it mildly: “The American relationship with Israel, in my mind, is a useless and unnecessary relationship.”
Former CIA case officer Robert Baer sums it up, “Anger against the West and particularly the United States spills all over the Land of Islam. But there are groups that all the signs keep pointing to – the Wahhabis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and al Qaeda, of course – and there’s one place that serves more than any other as the principal backer: Saudi Arabia” (Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude).
A small word of clarification is necessary here. The Saudi royal family is Wahhabi, following a strict jihadi interpretation of Islam which is not far removed from Mohammad’s original message. At the same time, many of the thousands of Saudi princes and their families live a profligate private life which is privately condemned by the ulema (Islam’s highest religious authorities) and publicly condemned by al-Qaeda, ISIS and their jihadi following. Saudi kings have made a deal with al-Qaeda – freedom of operation in exchange for leaving the House of Saud alone. This is how Saudis manage to support jihad, as long as it abides by the rules and stays out of Saudi Arabia. So the Saudis can both support jihad and, at the same time, declare that they are opposed to its advocates.
I never promised you a Rose Garden
The Hebrew prophets declare that at the End of Days “it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:3). There is a sobering connection (both in timing and in spiritual substance) between the 9/11 attacks and the issue of Jerusalem.
Between May and July 2001, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Aziz (now King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia) instructed his Ambassador Prince Bandar Sultan to communicate his grave displeasure with America’s support of Israel. Abdullah was infuriated by Israel’s counter-terrorism efforts against Islamic jihadi terror groups, and by American refusal to condemn Israel’s anti-terrorism policies. Deciding that America did not “get the hint”, on August 25 Prince Bandar told the Saudi Chief of Staff General bin Muhayya to cancel Saudi Arabia’s high-level strategic military review with America’s top brass.
Then, on August 27, 2001 Prince Bandar delivered a message to President Bush from Crown Prince Abdullah which said, “A time comes when peoples and nations part. We are at a crossroads. It is time for the United States and Saudi Arabia to look to their separate interests.” The message continued, “Therefore the Crown Prince will not communicate in any form, type or shape with you, and Saudi Arabia will take all its political, economic and security decisions based on how it sees its own interest in the region, without taking into account American interests anymore because it is obvious that the United States has taken a strategic decision adopting (Israel’s) policy.” Unspoken (though anonymously leaked at the same time) were threats of drastic cuts in oil supply to America or even an oil embargo; turning to other countries for weaponry; and no further intelligence cooperation regarding jihadi terror groups and plans.
Less than two days later, a two-page Presidential letter was winging its way to Riyadh, held tightly in Prince Bandar’s hands. President George W. Bush had for the first time ever officially committed the United States to establish a Palestinian state – to divide the land of Israel – and was planning to announce this sea-change in US policy on September 24, 2001. Saturday September 8, 2001 saw Saudi and U.S. officials discuss how the revolutionary announcement would be publicized – would Secretary of State Colin Powell publicize it first, or would President Bush, or perhaps both? Final decisions were put off to the next week.
Prince Bandar recollected that “the happiest man in the world that night, on Monday night, was Bandar bin Sultan. I was in the [indoor] swimming pool [of my McLean residence], smoking a cigar. I gave myself a day off because I worked the whole weekend. I had been to Saudi Arabia . . . out with the [Bush] response, back with our response. I worked on the weekend up to 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock in the morning . . . I worked all Monday. And I said to my office, Tuesday I’m taking the day off.” But Tuesday was 9/11.
The terror attack on September 11 2001 which destroyed the Twin Towers was carried out by 15 Saudi citizens. The resulting confusion and American crisis forced a rescheduling of President Bush’s Palestine policy change. The announcement was postponed until Bush’s Rose Garden speech of June 24, 2002. The principles were then further established by the international ‘Quartet’ on April 30, 2003 as part of what is now known as the ‘Road Map.’ This ‘Road Map’ plan called for Israel’s withdrawals from its settlements and for the establishment of a Palestinian state on land promised by the God of Israel to the Jewish people.
The connection between America’s official decision to divide the land of Israel and the most serious terror attack on U.S. soil to date is a sobering point, fully worthy of meditation and prayerful consideration. Though there are other factors which contributed to the tragedy of 9/11, God’s warnings about cursing Israel and dividing His land (in Genesis 12:3, Joel 3:1-3 and Zechariah 14:1-3) call us to serious prayer for our nation’s leaders.
How should we then pray?
- Pray for the leaders of the world to receive a revelation of God’s heart and strategies for the Jewish people and their land
- Pray for strategic decision-makers to receive a deeper understanding about the nature of jihad and jihadi strategies
- Pray that God would grant the leaders of Israel divine strategies in dealing with these issues
- Pray for divine clarity and obedience to fall upon those world leaders currently involved in dividing the Jewish people from their land
- Pray for the raising up of the Ezekiel 37 prophetic army among the Jewish people
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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