Dumping Riyadh For Tehran

By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Monday, February 9th, 2015 @ 12:50AM

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Left: Zacarias Moussaoui

The Oscar worth direction of Iran’s image-laundering campaign is drowning, as hoped by the Obama administration and Tehran, in media headlines about the “new” evidence of Saudi funding of al Qaeda.

Documentation of the Desert Kingdom and its royals’ support of al Qaeda have been evident for years. However, Moussaoui allegations that the Saudi Royals funded al Qaeda, have “shocked shocked” the American media.

The Saudis should have been held accountable for supporting al Qaeda and other jihadist groups and for funding madrassas, mosques and Imams to spread globally the radical Wahhabi strain of Islam, much before the 9/11 attacks. However, political considerations prevented U.S. courts from prosecuting them, until now.

The first attempt to sue the Kingdom for funding al Qaeda was brought in 2003. Two years later, after long litigation, the U.S. District Court in Manhattan ruled that the Saudi Kingdom and members of the Royal family could not be sued here. The decision was appealed and in May 2009, shortly before President Obama’s first official visit to Saudi Arabia.  Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s brief to the Supreme Court supported the Saudis argument against the 9/11 victims appeal, saying, “the princes are immune from petitioners’ claims…” [because of]  “the potentially significant foreign relations consequences of subjecting another sovereign state to suit.”

Apparently those “significant foreign relations consequences” regarding Saudi Arabia have changed.

On February 5, 2015, after al Qaeda’s imprisoned hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui testimony made the headlines, State Department’s spokesperson Jen Psaki, was asked how her office regarded the new revelations that prominent members of the Saudi royal family and government have funded Osama bin-Laden. Ms. Psaki responded she wan “not in a position to comment [because this is] a ongoing private litigation.” Moreover, she added: “We did file a brief earlier in the litigation when the case was before the Supreme Court in 2009.” However, she did not explain, nor was she asked why despite of the 2009 objection to the 9/11 victims appeal, the Administration has allowed the case to proceed and even facilitated Moussaoui’s testimony.

In October 2014, the Justice Department granted a team of lawyers for the 9/11 victims the unusual access to Moussaoui who is held at the country’s the most secure prison in Florence, Colo. And last December, the Second Circuit effectively reversed itself and reinstated the kingdom as a defendant.

Despite the Obama administration’s claim it wants to reset relations with the Royal Family, the timing couldn’t be better.

Since Tehran has not been officially implicated in the 9/11 attacks, the mudding Saudi Arabia at the time the barbaric Sunni ISIS is grabbing headlines, would further enhance Shiite Iran power in region.   However, allowing the regime a nuclear enrichment program with which to develop weapons will expand this radical Islamist regime’s threat far beyond the Middle East. The ever-changing deadline of talks between the U.S. +5 and Iran, which was pushed back since November 2013, has been quietly moved again from the beginning of March to the end of the month. In the meantime, not surprisingly, we hear “Tehran is happy with this new flexibility on the enrichment question.”

The President’s accommodationist tendencies of Iran were visible soon after he was elected to office. In April 2009, a statement from the other P5+1 members welcomed “the new direction of U.S. policy towards Iran.”

The new direction was Obama’s abandonment of the previous U.S. policy of requiring Iran to fulfill UN Security Council demands to suspend the nuclear fuel cycle activities prior to negotiations.

It should have been clear to anyone who has observed the infinitely renewed diplomatic gatherings over the years, that the “process” served to allow Iran to advance its nuclear enrichment plans. There has been no real deterrence — only the inconvenience of getting around the sanctions. Those turned out to be a blessing in disguise, forcing the regime to streamline the economy, freeing it from the Western financial tumult and developing alternatives to support its economy. The U.S. and the West never promised to take retaliatory action against Iran for stalling and refusing to stop its nuclear enrichment program.

Israel and Saudi Arabia are not the only countries that Iranian nuclear arms can harm. In allowing the Moussawi testimony, Obama is actually showing a dislike for Saudi Arabia that is only exceeded by his distaste for Israel.  In doing so he downplays the importance not only of Saudi Arabia but all the states of the Arabian Peninsula.   Thus far he has failed in Libya, In Syria, in Iraq, Yemen, and even in Turkey and in brokering an Israel-Palestinian Peace deal. To add Saudi Arabia to the list is yet another disastrous turn in America’s Middle East foreign policy.

* Rachel Ehrenfeld is director of N.Y. based American Center for Democracy and author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed- and How to Stop It.

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Categories: 9/11, ACD/EWI Blog, Al Qaeda, Financial Jihad, Gulf, Iran, Iran deal, Islam, Jihad, Latest News, Middle East Conflicts, Moussaoui, Nuclear Iran, Nuclear threat, Nuclear Weapons, Palestinian terrorism, Saudi, Shiite, Syria, Terrorist Financing, Turkey, U.S. Foreign Policy