Monday, 13 May 2013

The 9/11 Commission Report further states




The 9/11 Commission Report further states



    In February 1996, Sudanese officials began approaching officials from the United States and other governments, asking what actions of theirs might ease foreign pressure. In secret meetings with Saudi officials, Sudan offered to expel Bin Laden to Saudi Arabia and asked the Saudis to pardon him. U.S. officials became aware of these secret discussions, certainly by March. Saudi officials apparently wanted Bin Laden expelled from Sudan. They had already revoked his citizenship, however, and would not tolerate his presence in their country. Also Bin Laden may have no longer felt safe in Sudan, where he had already escaped at least one assassination attempt that he believed to have been the work of the Egyptian or Saudi regimes, and paid for by the CIA.

Due to the increasing pressure on Sudan from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United States, bin Laden was permitted to leave for a country of his choice. He chose to return to Jalalabad, Afghanistan aboard a chartered flight on May 18, 1996; there he forged a close relationship with Mullah Mohammed Omar. According to the 9/11 Commission, the expulsion from Sudan significantly weakened bin Laden and his organization.[94] Some African intelligence sources have argued that the expulsion left bin Laden without an option other than becoming a full-time radical, and that most of the 300 Afghan Arabs who left with him subsequently became terrorists.

In August 1996, bin Laden declared war against the United States. Despite the assurance of President George H.W. Bush to King Fahd in 1990, that all U.S. forces based in Saudi Arabia would be withdrawn once the Iraqi threat had been dealt with, by 1996 the Americans were still there. Bush cited the necessity of dealing with the remnants of Saddam's regime (which Bush had chosen not to destroy). Bin Laden's view was that "the 'evils' of the Middle East arose from America's attempt to take over the region and from its support for Israel. Saudi Arabia had been turned into 'an American colony".

He issued a fatwā against the United States, which was first published in Al Quds Al Arabi, a London-based newspaper. It was entitled "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places. Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "The Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places in Islam. The reference to 'occupation' in the fatwā referred to US forces based in Saudi Arabia for the purpose of controlling air space in Iraq, known as Operation Southern Watch.

In Afghanistan, bin Laden and al-Qaeda raised money from "donors from the days of the Soviet jihad", and from the Pakistani ISI to establish more training camps for Mujahideen fighters.Bin Laden effectively took over Ariana Afghan Airlines, which ferried Islamic militants, arms, cash and opium through the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, as well as provided false identifications to members of bin Laden's terrorist network. The arms smuggler Viktor Bout helped to run the airline, maintaining planes and loading cargo. Michael Scheuer, head of the CIA's bin Laden unit, concluded that Ariana was being used as a "terrorist taxi service".












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