U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump lead a moment of silence to mark the 16th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump lead a moment of silence to mark the 16th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

9/11 remembered

Mon, Sep. 11, 2017
CAIRO – 11 September 2017: On the 16th anniversary, it becomes clear how the 9/11 attacks changed the mentality of the people in the Arab world. The four coordinated terrorist attacks by the al-Qaeda on the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 still burns in the minds of the Arabs, even before the Americans.

The attacks which killed 2,997 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage, resulted in far stronger consequences in the Arab region.

The American campaign against terrorism was not efficiently exploited. The American administration sometimes took advantage of the counterterrorism campaign in the way that caused increase of extremism and hatred between Muslims and the U.S.

The 9/11 attacks had a great impact on all Arabs

The 9/11 attacks contributed indirectly to the promotion of terrorism in the Middle East. The emergence of the Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East, most notably in Syria and Iraq, is deemed one of the outcomes of the 9/11 attacks.

On the 13th anniversary of 9/11 attacks, in 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a ″comprehensive″ strategy to counter IS that ″in concert with coalition partners… will defeat IS and deny them safe haven.”

On the 14th anniversary, the Islamic State (IS) released a video in which it threatened the U.S. with a fresh wave of attacks. During the 10-minute video, the terrorist group warned the U.S. that its militants are "back in America" and that the country can expect another large-scale attack like the one in 2001.

"We declared jihad against the U.S. government, because the U.S. government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal whether directly or through its support of the Israeli occupation," bin Laden is quoted, as a jihadi song in English plays in the background.

In February 2016, in its weekly al-Masrā newspaper, Ansar al-Sharia released an article claiming to tell the “untold story” behind the 2001 plot that killed almost 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.

Piles of wreckage from EgyptAir Flight 990 on Nov. 1, 2000- AFP

Just under two years before, EgyptAir Flight 990 had crashed into the Atlantic Ocean during its journey from Los Angeles to Cairo, killing all 217 people on board – almost half of them Americans.

The article, published by the Jihadology, claims that moment was the origin of the 9/11 plot.

Al-Qaeda Founder Osama bin Laden- AFP

But it is said that it was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, identified as the “principal architect” of the terror attacks by the 9/11 Commission Report, who had the idea to use planes from the U.S.

The claims were made in the third issue of Ansar al-Sharia's propaganda newspaper, al-Masra

Al-Masra is released by Ansar al-Sharia, which is an alias for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

After the September 11 attacks in the U.S. in 2001, the international military campaign was launched by the U.S. government. U.S. President George W. Bush first used the term "war on terrorism" on September 16, 2001, and then "war on terror" a few days later in a formal speech to Congress.

In the latter speech, George Bush stated, "Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.” The term was originally used with a particular focus on countries associated with al-Qaeda.

The term was immediately criticized by such people as Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and more nuanced ones subsequently came to be used by the Bush administration to publicly define the international campaign led by the U.S. However, it was never used as a formal designation of U.S. operations in internal government documentation.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration (2009–2017) on a number of occasions expressly rejected the term “war on terror,” as well as the epithet global, as being inaccurate and misleading. President Barack Obama announced on May 23, 2013 that the “global war on terror” is over, saying the military and intelligence agencies will not wage war against a tactic but will instead focus on a specific group of networks determined to destroy the U.S.

On December 2014, the Obama administration also announced the end of the U.S.-led mission combat role in Afghanistan. However, with the unexpected rise of the IS terror group earlier that year, a new operation against terror in the Middle East and South Asia was announced – the Operation Inherent Resolve.

In May 2016, the American Senate passed a bill which would allow victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue the Saudi royal family and government officials for damages. The move heralds the end of the U.S.-Saudi strategic relationship which began seventy years ago when President Roosevelt met Saudi King Abdelaziz al-Saud aboard a warship in the Suez Canal.
The ‘Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act’ (JASTA) is sponsored by Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and his Republican counterpart John Cornyn. It was passed unanimously, despite the White House being opposed to the measure.

In July 2017, a senior ranking member of U.S. Congress raised fresh questions about the relationship between Qatari institutions and well-known figures with senior leaders of al-Qaeda, Al-Nusrah Front in Syria, Hamas in Palestine and ISIS.

Qatar’s role in actively channeling funds or failing to stop others sending money to banned groups should bring into question the continued major U.S. military presence in the country, said Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.

September 11 attacks in New York City in 2001- Reuters

She added in a hearing session in the U.S. Congress that Qatar has three sources of terrorism funding including the funding that arises from the Qatari government and that from the Qatari citizens’, given to terrorist organizations under the auspices of the oil-rich state.

According to documents revealed in 2015 on terrorism funding, Qatari individuals and entities were transferring funds to extremist groups in the Arab region such as Al-Nusrah Front, Ros-Lehtinen added.

She stressed that Qatar should abandon the current foreign policy followed by its administration; otherwise the U.S. Udeid airbase’s location in Doha must be reconsidered by the American administration.

“Doha’s behavior must change the status quo, and if it does not, it risks losing our cooperation on the air base.”

She defined Qatar as only helping “to facilitate our operations at our airbase”, while “the UAE, for example, has spent 12 years with us fighting alongside in Afghanistan.”

Qatar supplied Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, the mastermind of the 9/11 terror acts, with financial assistance, Ros-Lehtinen said.

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen on the hearing- screenshot

The Republican congresswoman described Doha as “a permissive environment for terror financing” and said that it had “openly housed Hamas leaders, Taliban leaders, and has several individuals who have been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department and it has failed to prosecute them.”

She said she hoped the rift would end with the Gulf countries working closely with the U.S. Treasury Department “to root out and disrupt terror financing streams.”

She manifested that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have tried many times to persuade Qatar to stop its funding assistance to terrorist groups, noting that Qatar is a permissible environment for terrorism.

“Today we remember the victims of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, and honor the heroes who valiantly saved many lives that day, even sacrificing their own,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said in a press statement on Monday.
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