The White House previously told reporters Vice President Biden would represent the U.S. in Riyadh following Friday’s death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. That apparently changed overnight.
Fifteen of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals as was Osama bin Laden. While Saudi officials have disavowed any connection with the government or the Saud ruling family, some members of Congress who have read classified material from a 9/11 investigation have specifically stated that Saudi officials were involved.
The “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001” released an 832-page report but 28 pages were redacted and several members of Congress have said they were “shocked” when they read them. Reportedly, they include a CIA memo that claims high-level Saudi diplomats and intelligence officers helped the hijackers logistically and financially.
“Terrorism just didn’t happen on its own,” Schumer told reporters. “It took money. There were many countries and groups that funded al-Qaeda. Today, similar groups are funding ISIS [ISIL].”
Congressman Walter Jones, who has read the redacted pages, has called on the White House and the State Department to reconsider the relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has also come under massive fire for an atrocious human rights record. Saudi nationals are regularly beheaded and most recently they have been criticised for sentencing a liberal blogger to thousands of public lashings for insulting Islam through electronic channels and apostasy. A recently leaked video also showed the beheading of a woman accused of beating her daughter to death.
While the U.S. government used ISIL’s beheading practices to garner support for bombing Syria, the beheadings in Saudi Arabia have not elicited any such condemnation.
“Saudi Arabia has stepped up arrests, trials, and convictions of peaceful dissidents, and forcibly dispersed peaceful demonstrations by citizens,” Human Rights Watch says on its website. “Authorities continued to violate the rights of Saudi women and girls and foreign workers. Authorities subjected thousands of people to unfair trials and arbitrary detention. Courts convicted human rights defenders and others for peaceful expression or assembly demanding political and human rights reforms.”