Alleged Saudi Support for 9/11

Today CNN reported that the review process surrounding the decision to release 28 classified pages from a joint congressional report that focused on alleged Saudi Arabian involvement in 9/11 is in its final stages. Quoting Senator Bob Graham, the co-chair of the 2002 inquiry who has led the campaign to have them released, CNN stated that the review will be handed off to an inter-agency group, including intelligence, law enforcement and defense agencies. A final decision, according to Graham, will come sometime in June.

Yesterday, the New York Times posted a document released by the U.S. National Archives that points to what may be included in the still classified 28 pages. Dated June 6, 2003, the document includes a number of memos composed by 9/11 commission members detailing possible connections between the hijackers and Saudi government members. 47, mostly repetitive pages, includes a segment entitled, “A Brief Overview of Possible Saudi Government Connections to the September 11th attacks”. Two sub-headings detail proven and probably links between Saudi representatives and the hijackers.  The first, “Southern Californian Connections”, include those with links to Saudi Arabia who have proven or strongly suggested links to two of the 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar. The second, “Other Possible Saudi Government Contacts”, includes a number of individuals with ties to Saudi Arabia who may have interacted with al-Hazmi or al-Mihdhar, either directly or through others.

Below I have created a crumbnet, using Thetus‘ Savanna technology,  of the possible Saudi-9/11 links using the information provided under the Southern Californian Connections heading in the U.S. National Archives release. The crumbnet provides a brief overview and visual representation of the the links between Saudi-affiliated individuals and two of the 9/11 hijackers.

Saudi Crumbnet
Crumbnet of possible Saudi-9/11 hijacker ties, powered by Savanna. Click here for a larger view.


The Houthi Hezbollah

On February 24, the Saudi Arabian-owned Al Arabiya news network posted a video of what it claimed was a meeting last summer between Hezbollah commander Abu Saleh and Houthi forces in Yemen. The video shows a man in military fatigues addressing a group in Lebanese-accented Arabic about training for assassination operations inside Saudi Arabia, including a specific attack against an unnamed Saudi commander of border forces.

The current war in Yemen began with the country’s unsuccessful political transition following the ouster of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Disenchantment with the post-Saleh political arrangement turned to civil war, pitting Houthis, a Zaidi Shia religious movement, and the former president against the country’s central authorities. Saudi Arabia, which intervened in support of the central government, claims that it is also a proxy war, one in which Houthi forces have been supplied and trained by Iran and its most successful proxy militia, Hezbollah. Officially Lebanon’s Hezbollah denies these accusations, but as Amarnath Amarasingam and I learned during a recent trip to Beirut, the group is playing a very active role. Read more here in Foreign Affairs.