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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

How 'Our friends the Saudis' threw the Khobar Towers investigation off track

President Obama is not the first US leader to bow to the Saudis. Over the weekend, Asia Times did a fascinating expose of how the Saudis managed to ensure that the investigation of the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers barracks was blamed on Iran and not on al-Qaeda. Here's the bottom line:
In light of the history of [FBI Director Louis] Freeh's relations with [Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince] Bandar [bin Sultan], his conduct of the investigation of Khobar Towers deserves new scrutiny. Freeh effectively shut down a probe of a terror bombing in which bin Laden was clearly implicated when the Saudis had refused to cooperate; he refused to pursue any investigation of a bin Laden role in the bombing; and he pushed a seriously flawed Saudi account of the bombing, despite the fact that it was tainted by the likelihood of torture.

The result of Freeh's blatant pro-Saudi bias was that bin Laden was allowed more years of unhindered freedom in which to plan terrorist actions against the US. Had Freeh not become an advocate of the interests of the regime whose representative in Washington eventually put him on his payroll, US policy would presumably have been focused like a laser on bin Laden and al-Qaeda two years earlier.

And perhaps the disinterest of the George W Bush administration's national security team toward al-Qaeda before 9/11 would have been impossible.
The three parts of the story are here, here and here.

It's a pity that the US has allowed itself to become dependent on the Saudis for oil supplies. There are so many rational reasons to end the relationship. Over 3000 Americans who were murdered on 9/11 by Saudi hijackers are some of those reasons.


At 11:09 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

If the Saudis didn't have the oil no one would give a f*ck about them. The fact they have the one vital resource the planet needs is the only reason any one does business with them at all.

After all as a medieval theocracy, its not exactly an advertisement for an enlightened country in our modern era.


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