Melanie Phillips

1 October 2011

Was Iran involved in 9/11?

Published in: Daily Mail

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Back in 2008, when the terrorist Imad Mughniyeh was killed in Damascus by a car bomb, I referred in my blog to speculation that he had been involved with al Qaeda and may even have been involved with 9/11. This would have been remarkable, since Mughniyeh was the deputy head of Hezbollah, the killing arm of the regime in Shiite Iran. Yet as we all know, al Qaeda was drawn from Sunni Islam while the Shia Muslims were their deadly rivals. So the suggestion that Iran may have been involved as well was one that few would take seriously.

Nevertheless, I had long been hearing this speculation based on the view that the 9/11 operation was so sophisticated it had Mughniyeh’s fingerprints all over it. For as I wrote, Mughniyeh was without doubt the most cunning, audacious and strategic terrorist in the world. As the Jerusalem Post reported at the time:

'[Mughniyeh] also apparently had strong ties with Al Qaida and according to the testimony of Ali Mohammed, a senior Al Qaida operative who was arrested for involvement in the attacks on American embassies in Africa, Mughniyeh met with Bin Laden in Sudan in 1993. Hizbullah, Mohammed said, provided explosives training for Al-Qaida fighters. This relationship and the fact that Mughniyeh was Hizbullah's liaison to Al Qaida, has led western intelligence agencies to raise the possibility that he was also involved in the 9/11 attacks.'

Now it appears that a law suit, brought by Ellen Saracini, the widow of the captain of one of the two planes that crashed into the Twin Towers, is about to make precisely this case in court, backed by a large amount of hitherto unknown secret intelligence information. According to the respected Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman, who is also an expert witness due to be called to give evidence in this case, Saracini’s legal team believe that this intelligence detailing the ties between al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Iran contains the smoking gun that ties Iran to 9/11. Bergman writes:

'The huge amount of evidence included in the lawsuit comes together to form a fascinating charge: Starting in the 1990s, Iran and Hezbollah helped Osama Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri create a new terror organization from scratch, to be headed by Afghanistan veterans and members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Iran trained group members, equipped them with advanced technological means, enabled them to move freely and provided them with plenty of terror-related expertise and experience accumulated by Hezbollah in its operations against Israel and the United States.

'Later, according to the lawsuit, Iran assisted in the preparations ahead of September 11.... Witness X testifies about Iran’s advance knowledge of the plan to crash passenger airliners into strategic targets in Washington and New York. He testifies that he was present at training facilities for Sunni terrorists in Iran and adds many details about the way Iran’s intelligence service utilizes legitimate Iranian organizations such as its airline and shipping company for terror aims.

 'Witness Y testifies about Imad Mughniyeh’s personal involvement in training the September 11 hijackers and the shelter granted by Iran to al-Qaeda’s men after the attacks. Meanwhile, witness Z says that he was present in a series of meetings in Tehran involving senior al-Qaeda men, local intelligence officials and Mughniyeh’s men in the months before the 9/11 attacks.'

Bergman observes:

'Should Mellon and his team prove all of the above, everything we thought we knew about the terror offensive will change forever.'

Indeed it would. It would also prove, as I have also long argued, that it was not enough to try to destroy the Taleban/al Qaeda connection in Afghanistan and the potential threat from Saddam Hussein, because the war on the west from the Islamic world was a multi-headed hydra. To succeed against it, the west also needed to deal with Syria, Saudi Arabia and above all Iran. For reasons as yet fully unexplained, the west nevertheless refused to act against Iran even while it was fuelling the insurgency inside Iraq – and indeed even though it now effectively controls Iraq through a puppet Prime Minister, thus meaning that the US and its allies dispatched Saddam only to deliver Iraq into the hands of Iran.

If this court case does show that Iran was behind 9/11, the US will be left with a very awkward question. Why has it gone after al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein in the cause of making America and the west safe from Islamic terrorism, but has refused to act against Iran? And in the light of such a verdict in court, what would the US now do?

About Melanie

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her controversial column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail. Awarded the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996, she is the author of All Must Have Prizes, an acclaimed study of Britain's educational and moral crisis, which provoked the fury of educationists and the delight and relief of parents.

Read full biography


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Contact Melanie

Melanie Phillips
Daily Mail
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Contact Melanie