Former US senator Bob Graham says Washington’s failure to investigate the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks has emboldened the Kingdom to engage in harmful actions including supporting the ISIL terrorist group.
“I believe that the failure to shine a full light on Saudi actions and particularly its involvement in 9/11 has contributed to the Saudi ability to continue to engage in actions that are damaging to the US – and in particular their support for ISIS (or ISIL),” the co-chairman of the official inquiry into 9/11 said in an interview with the Independent.
He also criticized successive US administrations for ignoring Saudi support for extremists in the region.
“One reason I think that our intelligence has been less than stellar” is that not enough attention was given to Saudi Arabia’s actions prior and after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Graham said.
The former chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee also said that the Persian Gulf state has been “a central figure in financing ISIS and extremist groups.”
This is while the Obama administration is trying to include Saudi Arabia in a coalition against the ISIL group.
The United States, along with the United Kingdom and other allies, have been criticized for their policy towards Syria where ISIL emerged.
Graham said the US is defending the Saudis because of its long-term strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia and the close personal relationship between the Bush family and the Kingdom.
He said he does not understand why the “policy of covering up Saudi involvement [in 9/11] persisted under the Obama administration.”
The United States and some of its regional allies, chief among them Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been supporting militant groups in Syria to fight the government there.
Last year, ISIL exploited the chaos of the Syrian conflict to capture large swaths of territory there before sweeping into neighboring Iraq.