Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Two decades after the attacks of September 11, 2001, perpetrated mainly by Saudi terrorists, the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to deny its involvement. in fact and strives to project the image of a country allied to the West, open and tolerant, after a series of economic and social reforms.
The attacks claimed by the jihadist network Al Qaida caused nearly 3,000 deaths and several more later from rescue-related illnesses, in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania in the worst terrorist attack in American history. Only 60% of the fatalities of that day have been identified. And many more have died or reported illnesses in later years as a result of the events.
After a time of crisis, Saudi Arabia managed to get closer to its American ally. But it has been in recent years, under the impulse of the Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, that the kingdom has launched several reforms to get out of dependence on oil and modernize its image, accused of exporting a rigorous Sunni Wahhabi doctrine.
Today, women are allowed to drive, cinemas reopened, and pop concerts can be mixed. These reforms constitute “one of the long-term consequences” of 9/11, estimates Yasmine Farouk, a researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank.
According to the families of the victims of the attacks, several secret documents may contain evidence that the Saudi government had ties to the perpetrators. At first, nearly 1,800 victims were opposed to President Joe Biden’s participation in any commemorative event 9/11 20th Anniversary Unless he kept his electoral promise to declassify documents on the alleged involvement of Saudi Arabian leaders in those crimes.
Finally, Biden ordered declassify documents so far secrets about the investigation carried out by the FBI to clarify the largest terrorist attacks that the US has experienced in its history. The purpose of the executive order to the Department of Justice is for Attorney General Merrick Garland to post for the next six months, indicated the White House.
On Wednesday, the Saudi embassy in Washington celebrated the announcement and reiterated “long-standing support” for this operation, in order to “put an end once and for all to the baseless accusations against the kingdom,” reported German wave.
In 2018, Prince Mohamed declared that he wanted to suppress all “extremist” elements from the education system. “There is no doubt that the intention is, but the implementation will take time,” says Kristin Diwan, of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
The social reforms have not, however, meant the end of the repression against the opposition and civil society, with a regime especially hostile to public debate. International NGOs have praised these reforms, but continue to denounce the brutal repression against critical voices, such as the imprisonment of feminist activists or the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey, in 2018.
— DW Español (@dw_espanol) September 9, 2021
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.