London: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE`s) recent decision to suspend ties with Qatar over its perceived support for terrorist elements and for not cutting off ties with Iran appears to have taken a fresh twist.
A whistle-blowing information group, reportedly going by the name of Global Leaks, has been quoted by papers like the Daily Beast, The Telegraph, Huffington Post and Al-Jazeera, as saying this month that some Gulf countries were used to receive funds from banks in Pakistan and UAE owned by the UAE royal family to allegedly finance terror strikes in the US in 2001 and Mumbai in 2008.
These media outlets say they have received documented information from this group that says that banks like the Dubai Islamic Bank in UAE, and the Bank Al Falah and United Bank Ltd. in Pakistan owned by the Abu Dhabi Royal family reportedly cleared financial transactions of terrorist outfits like the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), both of which have been named by India as being squarely involved in the 26/11 attacks that claimed 166 lives and maimed over 300 others.
This information gathering group maintains that business and financial institutions in some Gulf countries and Pakistan were involved in terror-related financing for the 9/11 strike as well.
Meanwhile, the month of June has seen the UAE warning the United States that it runs the risk of jeopardizing and ending bilateral intelligence cooperation to block legislation that will allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia and UAE for compensation.
According to reports filed by The Telegraph, Huffington Post and Al Jazeera earlier this month, leaked e-mails of UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba have privately warned American lawmakers not to allow American citizens affected by 9/11 (in the US) and 26/11 (in Mumbai, India) terror strikes to sue countries where these terror plans were supposedly hatched in US courts, or they run the risk of not receiving “crucial information and intelligence” related to those two significant criminal incidents of the 21st century.
The Telegraph reports that these leaked communications reveal how both the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been working jointly to lobby against the US Congress` passing the Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) last year, with Ambassador Al Otaiba coordinating with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on the issue.
It is now a known fact that two of the 19 hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York in 2001 were UAE born citizens, while 15 were Saudis.
According to these “leaked” e-mails, Ambassador Al Otaiba is reported to have said that while he understood “the desire to provide justice for those who were affected by 9/11”, the passing of JASTA poses “a large risk to the US and its allies.”
He is further quoted, as saying that, “JASTA would also have a chilling effect on the global fight against terrorism. In order to effectively fight the scourge that is terrorism, the US needs reliable, trustworthy international partners. If a foreign sovereign nation is at risk of being sued in a US court, even if it`s an ally, that nation will be less likely to share crucial information and intelligence under JASTA. Why risk alienating key allies at a time when their cooperation is absolutely necessary?”
Media reports are saying that some of these documents that may soon appear in the public domain reportedly suggest for instance that the family of one of the Americans who died in Mumbai in 2008, has filed a case against the royal family of Abu Dhabi, which owned banks that financially helped the LeT and the JuD.