- Terror in America - Arab columnists: The perpetrators
of the attacks are not Arabs or Muslims.
- Many columnists in the Arab media have discussed the
identities of the perpetrators of the New York and Washington, DC attacks.
Some chose to disregard the findings of the FBI investigation (that the
perpetrators were Arabs and/or Muslims), presenting instead a series of
American and international elements that they believe carried out the
attacks. Following is a review of possible perpetrators according to the
- Bush and Powell Did It
- The possibility that the US attacks were a conspiracy
hatched by President Bush and Secretary of State Powell was presented
by Samir Atallah, a columnist for the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.
He wrote: "I have a sneaking suspicion that George W. Bush was
in the operation of September 11, as was Colin Powell."
- "The reasons for this are as follows: George W.
Bush was the president who has garnered the least support of all US
throughout history. He won the election by a miniscule majority that would
not have won a town council [position] in a village in South Egypt. His
presidency was in doubt from the beginning. It was said that the poor
way in which he entered the White House would divide the American nation.
It was said that he is not worthy [of being president], that he is a
man who takes no interest in what is happening in the world, a man who
does not know the name of the president of Pakistan..."
- "[But] after September 11, George W. Bush is the
first president since Roosevelt with both parties behind him, with no
one opposing him. He is the first president in the history of the US to
have received an unprecedented amount of financial, political, and
support, and to have it approved so quickly. He continues the line of
the Bush family: losers at peace, but leaders at war. Every George Bush
in the family, fathers and sons, has his own world war..."
- "Regarding the involvement of Colin Powell... it
was General Powell's fate to be the one to declare war together with both
George Bush Sr. and with George Bush Jr. It might have been noticed that
Powell was the first to use the word 'war,' and the first to name Osama
bin Laden. Just as he commanded the military in Iraq, he will command
diplomacy during the war declared on the unknown..."(1)
- Israel, International Zionism, or the Jews
- This theory has been very popular among various
in the Arab media. Columnist Ahmad Al-Muslih, for example, stated:
happened is, in my opinion, the product of Jewish, Israeli, and American
Zionism, and the act of the great Jewish Zionist mastermind that controls
the world's economy, media, and politics..."
- "The goal of the suicide operations in New York
was, in my opinion, to push the American people, President Bush, and NATO
to submit even more to the Jewish Zionist ideology and the historical
goals [it has held] since the Basel Congress in 1897, under the
slogan of 'Islamic terror'... We have said in the past that
Zionism is leading the region to disaster, and that it is trying to lead
the Americans and its worldwide allies to world disaster. Perhaps what
happened on American [ground] is the beginning of the world
- The Lebanese-Jordanian Holocaust denier Hayat Al-Hweiek
'Atiya also hastened to point an accusing finger: "Maybe some will
think that I am hallucinating things when I speak of Jewish Zionist hands
behind the terrible event that struck at the US. Maybe [they will say]
that this is one of many hands. But anyone following the reactions has
noticed one headline: the American-Zionist-Israeli 'Holy Alliance'
that "international terror" is to blame. By international
[this alliance] means, first and foremost, Islam and the
- Al-Hweiek 'Atiya continues: "In a lengthy
with the Arab League representative in Paris for the [Egyptian]
Al-Nil television channel, [the representative] refrained from pointing
directly at the Jews, because as an official he cannot do such a thing
before an investigation reveals it, but he [implied] it..."
- "We must direct all diplomatic and media efforts
not only towards washing our hands of it and denying our involvement from
the defendant's seat but also to [launching] a counter-campaign that will
shift us to a stronger offensive position."(3)
- Jordanian columnist Rakan Al-Majali wrote that "it
is clear that Israel is the one to benefit greatly from the bloody,
terror operation that occurred yesterday, and that it seeks to benefit
still more by accusing the Arabs and Muslims of perpetrating this
attack... Only Israel does not fear the discovery that the Jews are behind
this operation, if indeed it was so; who in the US or outside it would
dare to accuse them, as every blow to them means talk of a new
They, more than anyone, are capable of hiding a criminal act they
and they can be certain that no one will ask them about what they
- Jordanian columnist Jihad Jabara added: "I
eliminate the possibility that Arab and Islamic organizations stood behind
these acts... Why [couldn't it be] that Zionist organizations perpetrated
it, so that Israel could destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque while the world was
preoccupied with what happened in America...?"(5)
- Jordanian columnist Mussa Hawamdeh stated: "I say
that Israel benefits from the explosions... We all know that there are
extreme religious groups in the US who believe that the coming of the
Messiah is near, and who aspire to purify Americans of all their human
crimes. Among them are those who believe in committing suicide in order
to reach Paradise, through punishing the human race. Mass suicide of
groups has already occurred. We do not know whether Jews as well, more
precisely the Mossad, have not had a hand in what happened, out of evil
and dangerous intentions."(6)
- American Extremists, Japan, China, Russia,
or Opponents of Globalization Did It
- The Arab media presented a lineup of other suspects
who are neither Arab nor Muslim. Syrian columnist Hassan M. Yussef wrote:
"There is a possibility that this was an [act of] ancient
The US declared war on Japan, and used the atomic bomb for the first time,
against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. [The bomb] killed more than 221,983
and was the cause of the Japanese defeat and the end of the war in 1945.
Has the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki been resurrected sixty years
- Palestinian columnist Tallal 'Awkal added: "The
ostensible motives of the Palestinians and Arabs [to carry out the
are no different from those of millions of nations on the face of the
Earth who suffer from American and Western oppression and injustice...
[The Americans] should seek the perpetrators far from the region. Not
everyone interested in confronting American policy also has the means
to carry out such an act... Why can't the motive be a settling of
accounts from World War II? Why can't the background [to the attack] be
protest by those harmed by globalization; we noticed the strengthening
of the spirit of their battle in Seattle, Genoa, and Athens...? Why can't
the motive be linked to those harmed by the missile defense
- Lebanese columnist Nur Al-Din Sat'e determined that
"[Perhaps] the perpetrators of the attack belong to local American
militias... It could also be that they are young people who hacked into
the computer directing internal air traffic and aimed the airplanes at
- Columnist Abd Al-Jabbar Adwan wrote: "Who are the
ones who benefit from this act? They are, beyond a doubt, not the Arabs.
An initial examination shows that some, such as Russia, China, and Israel,
will benefit without any of them necessarily planning the operation.
everyone will be surprised to find that, once again, the operation was
'Made in the USA,' as American society is filled with extremist religious
groups who consider themselves enemies of the state, its mechanisms and
its liberal society..."
- "It is known that the American government intends
to push forward the missile defense shield project; China, Russia, and
several other European states are opposed to this, and President Bush
is not interested in their position. It is also known that the American
explanation of the need for this system establishes that it is not
against China or Russia, but against countries described as 'rogue' states
or terrorist movements..."
- "Is there a connection between the missile defense
system and the acts in New York and Washington? This question remains
up in the air. In any event, we must imagine the danger the Chinese and
Russians perceive at being stripped of their deterrent capability. [This
would be the case if] President Bush pushes this system through [Congress]
claiming [it is part of] the war on terror ... mostly since the American
government wants to weasel its way out of agreements limiting missile
proliferation and [preventing] the development of weapons of mass
- "The benefit to Russia and China from this terror
will be revealed a long time from now; however, the benefit to Israel
will be evident sooner. If Israel is behind this terror, then its plan
is for a joint US-Israeli military strike, within a few weeks at the most,
against some Arab states. In this way, it will [eliminate the possibility
that]... Americans will understand Arab issues, particularly Palestinian
- "...Even if it is proven that the perpetrator [of
the US attack] is an American organization or a mafia gang, the damage
to the Arabs is already done, as once an hour it is said that they are
willing to support and commit such [acts of] terror... while Israel is
deep in mourning and reminds the world that it too is subject to these
kinds of suicide operations...(10)"
- (1) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), September 14,
- (2) Al-Dustour (Jordan), September 13, 2001.
- (3) Al-Dustour (Jordan), September 13, 2001.
- (4) Al-Dustour, (Jordan), September 13, 2001.
- (5) Al-Rai, (Jordan), September 13, 2001.
- (6) Al-Dustour (Jordan), September 13, 2001.
- (7) Tishrin (Syria), September 13, 2001.
- (8) Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), September 13,
- (9) Al-Safir (Lebanon), September 12, 2001.
- (10) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), September 13, 2001.
- Special Dispatch
- September 20, 2001
- No. 271
- Terror in America (5)
- British pro-Syrian journalist Patrick Seale: Suicide
attacks are immoral but highly effective; the terrorists sought a 'balance
of terror' with the US.
- The pro-Syrian British journalist Patrick Seale, author
of Hafez Assad's biography, published an article in the London
daily Al-Hayat examining the efficacy of suicide attacks on the US and
- Seale opens his article stating that "there is no
proof [implicating] extremist groups in the Arab and Islamic world. It
is not only Arabs and Muslims who have reasons to hate the US. Across
the world, there is a developing movement of anti-globalization activists;
there are [also] 'ecological terrorists' who maintain that US policies
endanger the future of the earth. Similarly, we must not forget that in
the US itself are those opposed to the federal government, like Timothy
McVeigh who blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma [City]; finally,
there are various radical groups in the Third World that place the blame
for the suffering and destruction caused to their countries on the
- "It should be immediately pointed out that morally,
such operations must arouse the deepest disgust, and they should be
as harshly as possible because they violate the 'rules of war,' killing
and injuring innocent civilians. Similarly, the willingness of a few to
commit suicide and to kill others testifies to a deep internal perversion.
Most human beings are not capable of understanding such self-sacrifice,
which became known by the name of 'kamikaze,' because it goes against
human instinct. But at the same time we must notice that many countries
violate the 'rules of war,' or have violated them in the past. The US
killed a large number of innocent civilians in Vietnam, Cambodia, Latin
America, Iraq, and many other places, not to mention the tens of thousands
of innocent Japanese [who were killed] in the atomic attacks on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. Britain too, bombed German
causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in a morally
questionable strategy that is still the subject of deep
- "In light of the suffering of the Palestinians,
is it legitimate for them to strike at Israeli citizens with suicide
bombings? There is no doubt that morally it is a mistake to kill innocent
citizens, no matter what disagreements [the attackers] may have with
their government. But if we put aside the moral issue, we must ask
whether suicide bombing has an effect or not. The answer to this question
requires us to look at the goals of Palestinian suicide bombers and of
those who send them."
- "First, the bomber seeks to create a balance of
terror. The Palestinian terrorist's aim is to deter Israeli terror - i.e.
'if you kill my people, then my people will also kill!' The aim is to
force the Israeli government and military to use restraint, and to
before they attack the Palestinians, because the Israelis will pay dearly.
There is no doubt that the terrorists who attacked the US sought to attain
a balance of terror as well."
- "Second, and more importantly, the Palestinians,
by means of attacks in the heart of Israel, seek to persuade the Israelis
that they will pay a high price for their occupation. They want to force
Israelis to apply pressure on their government to withdraw from the
lands. The attackers' main goal, therefore, is to put an end to the
Their claim is as follows: If the Palestinians attack only settlers and
Israeli military personnel, the mass of Israelis in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem,
Haifa, Acre, Netanya, and the Negev development towns will not realize
how costly the occupation is. Only by bringing the war home to the heart
of Israel will the Israeli public be made to understand that the time
has come to return the settlers to their homelands, to withdraw from the
occupied territories, and to allow the establishment of a Palestinian
- "This claim is important. The suicide bombings
shook public opinion in the US and Israel. They aroused horror in the
hearts of simple Americans and Israelis. In Israel, the attackers have
managed to wear down Israeli morale. They have made many Israelis change
their lifestyles and think twice before going to crowded marketplaces,
entering restaurants, or getting on a bus."
- "The US has also become accustomed to attack
being attacked. It too was enraged and disconcerted by the explosions.
Will it seek mere vengeance, or will it reexamine its policy as a
- "In addition to their immorality, suicide bombings
cause additional problems that are likely to significantly undermine their
- "Many Israelis maintain, mistakenly, that these
explosions are proof that the Palestinians do not differentiate between
the occupied territories and Israel [proper]. That is, the Israelis have
begun to think that the Palestinians - from the Palestinian Authority,
with Yasser Arafat at its head, to Hamas and Islamic Jihad - seek not
only to put an end to the occupation, but also to annihilate the State
of Israel itself!"
- "Many Israelis, like many of their friends abroad,
are completely convinced that the existence of Israel is in danger. In
an existential conflict, any weapon, any barbaric operation, any response,
violent as it may be, is justified."
- "If the Palestinians have declared war on Israel
- and suicide bombings are perceived as a kind of war - many Israelis
claim that Israel's assassination of Palestinian leaders and destruction
of the Palestinian civilian infrastructure (such as the power station
in Jenin) are justified."
- "Similarly, the US now sees itself at war with
terrorists operating in secret who have succeeded in bringing the most
powerful country in the world to a halt. In war, any weapon, any violent
response is considered justified."
- "However, let us hope that a different mentality
will hold sway in the US, and that it [the US] will reexamine its policy
and will not be blinded by the need to strike at unseen enemies... The
clear lesson from the horrible events to which we were witness is that
the only guarantee of the US's and Israel's security is a just and
settlement in the Middle East, one that will meet the rights and interests
of all the sides."
- (1) Al-Hayat (London), September 13, 2001.
- Special Dispatch
- September 20, 2001
- No. 272
- Terror in America (6)
- Lebanese professor: It is permissible to rejoice over
'the penetrating of the bastion of American colonialism'; 'Everyone
at the misfortune of the American administration, while its leaders
to find a place to hide'
- Images of Palestinian jubilation following the September
11th attacks have attracted the attention of the Arab media. Most writers
criticized both Palestinian reactions of joy to the disaster and the
and Israeli media networks that broadcasted images of these scenes. They
claimed that American media networks used the pictures of a few
who celebrated the attacks, in order to distort the image of the entire
- The editor of the Palestinian Authority mouthpiece
Al-Jadida, Hafez Al-Barghouthi, claimed that the film crew enticed the
Palestinians to rejoice: "The crew of one of the satellite channels
artificially created feelings of joy among the children in occupied
Crew members asked the children to dance for them and [the children],
enraptured by the camera, did so... The occupier dreams of shifting the
cameras from our dismembered body parts to the [dismembered] body parts
of others in the world... The Palestinians have no interest to gloat.
[Those few who gloated] do not represent our public opinion. It is a whim
that might also have [been expressed] in other parts of the world, even
in the Western world. But in these instances [in the Western world], the
cameras did not reach those places..."(1)
- However, University of Lebanon lecturer Mustafa Juzo
published an article in which he stated that the displays of joy are
and called those criticizing them "hypocrites"(2):
- "History will testify that the Arabs have never
carried out barbaric wars. It is known that the rules of war customary
in the Islamic conquest were far superior to those implemented by the
United Nations today. The humane approach - even relatively in past
- is what characterized the behavior of the Arab and Muslim conquerors.
- "In contrast, terror as we know it today was
in the region only at the beginning of the 19th century, by Western
and the Zionist gangs. Therefore, the killing of innocents distresses
every Arab, even if the slain are his enemies. Hence, many Arabs
identification with America's tragedy. This is the truth."
- "However, another truth is that most Arabs, and
perhaps also most of the Third World, did rejoice, not because of the
killing of thousands of innocent Americans, but because of the penetration
of the bastion of American colonialism and the offensive within its home
turf. No one thought for a moment about the people who were inside the
tallest of the world's towers as they burned; everyone thought of the
American administration and rejoiced at its misfortune, while its leaders
scrambled to find a place to hide."
- "There is a large degree of hypocrisy and idiocy.
Does anyone think that the CIA does not know how much it is hated by the
Arab people, and how happy the oppressed people in the Third World are
at the tragedy that has struck it? [Therefore, there is no point] in our
trying to prove to them that the Arab people are not gloating over the
American misfortune. Can anyone really believe that a people of whom the
US has killed hundreds and thousands times the number of people killed
in New York and in Boston [sic], is sorry, and is not happy, when he
this smack to the face of its most bitter enemy?"
- "The meaning of terror according to the American
[dictionary] is known. [The term] refers to any resistance to the new
colonialism. In contrast, the collective and racist annihilation of
constitutes (according to the American dictionary) a civilized action
that should not be resisted."
- "The Arab wise-guys (referring to those who
the attacks) are granting the US - who has opposed them in all
forums and in all arenas of the war - permission to attack their peoples
and their friends, especially in light of the fact that the American
are restricting their investigation to [suspects with] Arab names, as
if the Arabs are entirely to blame... It never occurs to the US that there
are others who benefit more from the attacks on the US cities than the
Arabs and the Muslims. I refer mainly to Israel, especially since one
of the suspects mentioned by the media lived in occupied Palestine and
could very possibly have been used by Israel..."
- "There is no doubt that several Arab intellectuals
have put their fingers on a painful truth, saying that terror can be
only by removing the reasons for it, and that the strike on the US is
the result of the oppression it inflicted on nations. Some Arab states
demanded to distinguish between terror and resistance. There must also
be a scientific and correct definition of terror. Terror is the use of
violence against innocent civilians with the aim of achieving political,
religious, or racist goals - provided that the civilians subjected to
that violence are not partners of the military, do not constitute a
and are not benefiting from the military aggression in ways such as living
on occupied land, or profiting from the property of the people whose land
- "The funniest thing is that the Arab media and
intellectuals encouraged the Arab rulers and people to please America;
they chastised anyone expressing joy, as if the Arabs should be seeking
forgiveness for every crime carried out in the US out of fear that the
enemy, whether the one close by [Israel] or the one far away [the US],
will take revenge..."
- "Arabs must make the American leaders understand
that the occupation cannot be rewarded by love, and that American
are not more important than the rights of human beings... [America] must
understand that someone who successfully infiltrates its home turf and
attacks its Department of Defense can strike painfully at its interests
outside the US with greater ease."
- "May Allah have mercy on the innocents that the
American administration murdered by means of the hijackers; among them
are several of our countrymen. True, that administration did not carry
out the crime itself - but it caused it, and whoever causes a crime bears
a large part of the responsibility for it."
- (1) Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), September 13,
- (2) Al-Hayat (London), September 17, 2001.
- The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is
an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the
media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as
well as background information, are available on request.
- The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
- P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
- Phone: (202) 955-9070
- Fax: (202) 955-9077
- E-Mail: email@example.com
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