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September 4, 2018 No.
7654

Saudi Researcher: The Clinton And Obama Administrations Ignored Iran's Involvement In Terror And Courted It

In an article published August 9, 2018 in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Saudi author and researcher Fahd Al-Shkairan claims that Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden derived inspiration for his ideological and military activities from Iran's Islamic Revolution, and that this was manifested later in the cooperation between the Al-Qaeda organization and Iran, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and Hizbullah. Al-Shkairan asserts that, although the Clinton administration was aware of this cooperation, it ignored it and even reached out to Iran and kowtowed to it. He bases his claims on testimony by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then-Saudi ambassador to the U.S., which is presented in a 2006 biography of the prince by William Simpson.[1] According to this book, the Clinton administration disregarded evidence supplied by Saudi Arabia as to Iran's involvement in the 1996 terror attack in the Saudi city of Khobar, in which 19 American soldiers were killed,[2] and even deliberately buried the results of the investigation.

The Obama administration, says Al-Shkairan, likewise betrayed its allies while befriending Iran and, according to Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, even offered to make a deal with Hizbullah. Al-Shkairan adds that all this is a reflection of the feeble response of the international community in general and the superpowers in particular when it comes to Iran – the source of the terrorism in the world – and it explains the growing strength of this country and of the numerous militias it operates across the Middle East and Africa.

The following are translated excerpts from the article[3]

"Khomeini's revolutionary movement managed to revive many fundamentalist [movements]. Thus, Bin Laden described Khomeini's arrival in Teheran as 'tremendous' and expressed hope that this dream would [also] be realized in Saudi Arabia. [And in fact,] from the early 1980s, Bin Laden began to learn from the experience of Iran's [Islamic] Revolutionary Guards [Corps], of the so-called Hizbullah and of [its late military chief] 'Imad Mughniyeh, who became his ally who worked for him and carried out numerous [terror] bombings, among them the Khobar [Towers] attack in mid-1996.

"The collaboration between Iran and its satellites and the Al-Qaeda organization is known to the Americans. When Saudi Arabia decided to complete the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the [Khobar Towers] bombing, a long story ensued, which Prince [Bandar] bin Sultan tells [in his biography]. [Bin Sultan] spoke bitterly about the dubious deal made by the staff of [former U.S. President Bill] Clinton and Iran, to change [the direction] of the investigation and to bury it alive, once clear indications emerged that the Iranians had been involved in the bombing and had assisted the perpetrators.

"Clinton tasked then-FBI director Louis Freeh [he held this position from 1993-2001] with cooperating with the Saudis so as to complete the investigation and instructed him: 'Leave no stone unturned.' [But] in his book The Prince, which is a biography of Prince Bandar and quotes him extensively, William Simpson reveals the complications [that plagued this investigation], among them the differences of opinion between the Clinton administration and the FBI...

"What is amazing is that Freeh himself admits that 'the explosion was not an attack by the Saudi [branch of] Hizbullah alone,[iv] but was an entire campaign financed and orchestrated from abroad by the supreme leadership of the Iranian government.' Freeh also concedes that Saudi Arabia overcame all the difficulties involved in completing the investigation in the best possible way... He stated that Prince Nayef ibn 'Abd Al-'Aziz and Prince Bandar bin Sultan were convinced of Iran's involvement and its responsibility for the bombing.

"A disagreement emerged between [Louis] Freeh and Sandy Berger, [Clinton's] National Security Advisor [from 1997-2001], when Berger warned of political consequences for the U.S if the findings [of the investigation] implicated Iran. Prince Bandar, [who was the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. at the time], said to him in reply: 'We don't want to be accused of pushing you toward war.' The entire American government at the time sided with Sandy [Berger's] position... In 1997, it became clear that the American government had been cool and indifferent to [the results of] the investigation. [Bandar] said: 'The American government knowingly left the investigation without guidance, and at the same time focused its efforts on improving relations with the moderate government in Iran.'

"The Saudis felt the American coolness... and the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar said: 'If Presidents George Bush Jr. or [Ronald] Reagan had received the evidence that was provided to the American government, and not Clinton, then there would have been an invasion into Iran, I am sure of it.' All the delays, and the burying of the results of the investigation, comprised the main process that [led to] the issuing of Bill Clinton's April 1999 announcement reaching out to Iran. The U.S. decided that its attitude towards the investigation was its own business, since all the victims were Americans, and so [Louis] Freeh's file was suppressed. Prince Bandar expressed bitterness about this offensive deal and said: 'Freeh and I felt [this to be] a disgraceful abuse of authority, and that Sandy [Berger] was eager to wipe out the accusation [against Iran]...

"Simpson also said: 'The weakening of the investigation into the Khobar Towers bombing was the clearest example of the ongoing lack of confidence and the increasing antipathy between Clinton and Freeh. This antipathy became a deep rift. The White House was indifferent about following up on the Khobar issue.'

"This brief account, which is recounted at length in [Simpson's] abovementioned book, shows that there were alternating advances and retreats in the international community's [relationship] with Iran. [This country] was awarded a prize for its disastrous terror attacks. And just as Clinton was impatient with the investigation into the Khobar bombings, so did Obama turn his back on his greatest allies and began to kowtow to Iran – the main gateway of all types of terror in the world. Even worse, Hassan Nasrallah boasted that the Obama government had offered Hizbullah a deal worth billions, brokered by Europeans.

"And after [all] this, the world wonders what the source of terror is, and why it is constantly spreading. Iran today has militias in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Africa, which it finances directly, undeterred. If the world is serious about its war against terror, then war on the evil countries and laying siege to them is the first step toward achieving this objective. What was said [above] clarifies the magnitude of the catastrophe in the struggle of the world's superpowers with Iran."

 

[1] William Simpson, The Prince - The Secret Story of the World's Most Intriguing Royal, Prince Bandar bin Sultan (2008). The British Simpson studied with Prince Bandar at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell in England for two and a half years and the two became friends. Simpson subsequently chose a career in computers and finance. In 2006, he published Prince Bandar's biography, which he wrote with the prince.

[2] The reference is to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, in which a truck loaded with explosives was detonated in a Khobar residential complex that housed U.S. military personnel, among others. The attack resulted in the death of 19 U.S. soldiers and a Saudi local, and the wounding of 500 people, 109 of them Americans.

[3] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), August 9, 2018.

[4] Hizbullah Al-Hejaz, is the name of a pro-Iranian, militant Saudi Shi'ite organization established in eastern Saudi Arabia in May 1987, that is active in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. In 2014, it was outlawed in Saudi Arabia and declared a terrorist organization.