Unfortunately, news stories compete to the extent that one can completely burry the other.
The world waited months for the declassification of the most famous 28 pages in the world – the U.S. congressional report on the Sept. 11 attacks. Lobbies that opposed Saudi Arabia exploited those pages and considered them as carrying evidence of supposed involvement from Riyadh, and used it for years against the Saudi government, its ruling family and more than 20 million Saudis and hundreds of millions of those who love Saudi Arabia and its people and culture.
The problem with prejudgments is they are based on wishes rather than facts. Saudi Arabia's enemies, primarily the Iranian lobby in the US and those benefiting from hostilities against Riyadh as they seek political, electoral or popular gains, continued to talk about the 28 pages as if they were conclusive evidence to the Saudi government's involvement in the Sept. 11 twin attacks which struck the US in 2001.
After Iran propagated claims that Saudi Arabia had a direct role in Sept. 11, it got a taste of its own medicine.Turki Al-Dakhil
Riyadh had been demanding the declassification of the 28 pages for some time now. Diplomatically, Saudi Arabia has requested the pages be made public first through the late Prince Saud al-Faisal and most recently through Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. All the while, US courts were demanding Iran pay up to an excess of $21 billion in compensation for providing material support during the 9/11 attacks.
The US government finally did so last Friday, and it turns out that they do not implicate Riyadh in any way. However, less than an hour after this news broke, the failed Turkish coup dominated media coverage. Those who were exploiting the classified pages were thrilled because it diverted attention away from Saudi Arabia’s innocence regarding Sept. 11.
On March 9 this year, US District Judge George Daniels in New York issued a default judgment ordering Iran to pay more than $7.5 billion in damages to a group of insurers and families of those killed on Sept. 11. Daniels said Tehran “had failed to defend claims” that it aided the hijackers, and so was liable for damages tied to the attacks.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry itself said some of the attackers passed through its territory. The late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden acknowledged Tehran’s role in sponsoring his family, friends and fighters. After Iran propagated claims that Saudi Arabia had a direct role in Sept. 11, it got a taste of its own medicine.
There has been slander against Saudi Arabia since the attacks. The nationalities of the hijackers do not implicate an entire society or state. Even more dangerous is the provision of funds, training and sponsorship to these terrorists. Iran is pervasive in terror.
This article was first published in al-Bayan on July 20, 2016.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.