What If: The Saudis and 9/11
There is a passage in Bob Woodward’s book, Plan of Attack, that raises some interesting possibilities about Saudi Arabia and the attacks o f 9/11. To wit:
“Saudi Arabia was in a particularly precarious position in the Muslim world. Bid Laden had started al Qaeda…by charging that the Saudi king, who…is officially and spiritually…the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques…, had let in the infidels, the United States military, before, during and after the 1991 Gulf War. Its continued collaboration with the Americans was fueling the extreme fundamentalist movement.” [262-263]
Now in light of Saudi Arabia’s “particularly precarious position in the Muslim world,” we may ask what did the Saudis gain as a result of the 9/11 attacks? Those attacks delegitimized bin Laden, as well as al Qaeda, even significantly in the Muslim world. Those attacks also fortified or even legitimized the Saudi’s collaboration with the Americans, and did so even in the Muslim world. Also, it may be asked what did those attacks cost the Saudis, and it is difficult to identify any such cost.
So, what if the hijackers were Saudi loyalists, that is, loyalists to the Saudi family that rules Saudi Arabia, loyalists disguised as al Qaeda? If this were the case, it would help explain some of the strange coincidences that characterize the run-up to the attacks, such as two of the hijackers residing in San Diego with a man who many consider to have been connected to Saudi intelligence agencies. It’s often been said that its unlikely that bin Laden, or anyone else, would have been able to pull off those attacks from caves in Afghanistan. What if, in fact, these doubts were correct?
And what if Saudi support for “Gulf War II,” as Woodward labels it, was the price the Saudis paid for 9/11? So, what if when the Americans came to the Saudis and told them that it would be necessary to use the 500 mile border between Saudi Arabia and Iraq to launch Bush’s invasion, unspoken was the Americans saying to the Saudis, “You owe us?” And what if the Saudis agreed because they were given assurances that Saddam would in fact be removed? For as Woodward reports, the Saudis argued that “if [Saddam] is attacked…and he survives [again], he will be larger than life…everybody will follow his word. If they say attack the American embassy, they will go and attack it.”  And, of course, the Saudis were referring to the American embassy in Saudi Arabia, meaning that if Saddam survived both the Americans and the Saudis would be grievously harmed. But of course Saddam didn’t survive and the American-Saudi collaboration is as strong as it’s ever been, to the benefit of both countries.