9/11 Case Brings Forth Wahhabism Shadow Over Saudi Royal Family

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Washington, DC – The first case against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was filed in the US District Court in Washington, DC last Friday, just two days after Congress passed a law allowing Americans to sue foreign governments over their alleged roles in terror attacks.

Earlier on Wednesday, both houses of Congress overwhelmingly overrode President Barack Obama’s veto of the bill, which allowed families to sue in US court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the 2001 attacks.

Stephanie Ross DeSimone filed the lawsuit in US District Court in Washington DC. Her husband, Navy Cdr. Patrick Dunn, was killed when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. DeSimone, then known as Stephanie Dunn, was two months pregnant with the couple’s first child.

DeSimone’s lawsuit, alleged, “On September 11, 2001, nineteen members of the terrorist organization Al Qaeda, fifteen of whom were citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, hijacked four commercial airliners, and used those planes as weapons in a coordinated terrorist attack upon the United States and its citizens (the “September 11th Attacks”).”

“The September 11th Attacks represented a single targeted operational strike, carried out as part of Al Qaeda’s broader and ongoing campaign to wage jihad against the United States,” the court documents said. The document further alleged “Al Qaeda’s ability to conduct large-scale terrorist attacks was the direct result of the support Al Qaeda received from its material sponsors and supporters, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (“the Kingdom” or “Saudi Arabia”).”

The terrorist attack of September 9, 2011 raised more questions than just the terror alert threat levels. Since then, the global fight against terrorism has seen regime changes and sanguinary scenarios across the continents. Although Saudi Arabia’s name has been raised at regular intervals, this is the first time the name has appeared in a court of law in the US.

A walk down the annals of the history of Saudi Arabia, lets the discerning eye explore the fundamentalism of the Saudi form of Islam known as Wahhabism.

With the arrival of 70s, the mud houses and camel caravans started coexisting with the ultra-modern infrastructure. The newly found wealth of “Petro-dollars” brought phenomenal changes in a few decades.

But like every “gift,” this one also came with a package and that has thrown young Saudis to face many non-traditional problems.

Talking of young generation brings forth the demographic problem in the oil-rich state. According to official estimates, the last two decades have seen the native-born population doubling to nearly 18 million but on the other hand the per-capita income during the same period dwindled to almost half of what it was. Add to that burgeoning unemployment figures of above 30 percent in the adult male population and thousands bloating that figure every year with no chance of finding a job in sight.

Now, compare that to the average monthly stipend of about $30,000 for a low in hierarchy prince in the Saudi ruling family and according to rough estimates the number of them is as high as 25,000. In the process the government gets about 50 percent of the oil revenue as the rest is pocketed by the royal family at source. Ironically, most Saudis are aware of this fact and that fuels the unhappiness in the Vox Populi.

It is thus not the lack of wealth but a disproportionate distribution system that is one of the major factors that attracts Saudi youth to terrorism which according to sources has the silent support of most people under 30.

The question that arises is was it a coincidence that 15 of the 19 hijackers of September 11 terrorist attacks on the US were Saudi citizens and so was the mastermind Osama bin Laden.

The ruling Saud family since its inception in 1750 has been wearing tainted glasses of Wahhabism, a form of ruthless Islam, which does not spare even any other Islamic sects. Moreover, most people in the oil-rich Eastern Province are Shiite Muslims who have long been treated as second-class citizens by the Sunnis who run the country.

Muhammad al-Saud, a tribal leader, had in 1750 formed an alliance with Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab, a religious leader and al-Wahhab’s name defines the Islamic interpretation that remains the kingdom’s ideology. The present Saudi Kingdom was formed in 1902, when Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud captured the town of Riyadh but its greatest victory came in 1924, when it captured Mecca from the Hashemite dynasty that had controlled the city for centuries.

Muslims believe that the Prophet himself forbade the presence of infidel troops in the “land of the two cities” (Mecca and Medina) and this was the major source of bin Laden’s thrust against US presence in the holy land. Saudis tolerated the Americans in far away lands but after the war in 1991 when US troops didn’t go home, the hardliners got the leverage against the United States.

Simply put it boils down to the fact that neither the United States can let go of Saud Royal Family as Islamists will definitely take over nor can it stop talking of democratization of the Arab world. With the starting of the latest case against Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the relations are likely to sour.

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