Donald Trump, King Salman, Barack Obama, George W Bush, King Abdullah, Bill Clinton
Left to right: President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, First Lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump (top left). Left to right: President Barack Obama and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia (top right). Left to right: President George W. Bush and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (bottom left). Left to right: President Bill Clinton, Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud and Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. (bottom right). Photo credit: The White House / Flickr , Obama White House / Flickr, George W. Bush White House archives, and clintonlibrary42 / YouTube

Saudi Arabia and its links to terrorism are worth keeping an eye on… but hardly anybody is doing that. After the latest terrorist attack involving a Saudi citizen, it should be clear to everyone that the country’s leadership deserves a much closer look. WhoWhatWhy is way ahead of the curve.

The Pentagon has just announced it is suspending operational training for all Saudi military students in the US in the wake of a deadly shooting in Florida.

With the revelations and remaining mysteries surrounding the group of Saudi nationals accused of complicity in the mass shooting at a Pensacola military base, there’s good reason to want to know more. 

That includes understanding the broader context of Saudi Arabia’s delicate dance between being a close US ally and being the sponsor — overtly and covertly — of violence around the world, from the assassination of the Saudi-born journalist Jamal Kashoggi to the treatment of women in the kingdom, even to documented association with the 9/11 hijackers. 

One way to find such context is to revisit these past articles and podcasts published by WhoWhatWhy


Naval Air Station Pensacola

Naval Air Station Pensacola was on lockdown Friday, December 6, 2019 after a Saudi Arabian military pilot training in the US opened fire leaving three people dead and several others wounded. Photo credit: © Patrick Nichols/US Navy via ZUMA Wire

As the US Flexes Muscle, Saudia Arabia Flirts with Old Enemies (October 21, 2019)

Saudi Arabia is bracing for impending turmoil that could be resolved — either by war or by peace. Russia is encroaching on US influence in the region. With only glimpses available of both negotiations and military preparations currently underway, economic developments could provide a rough time frame for the geopolitical expectations in Riyadh. 

9/11 Hijackers: Saudi ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t See’ Policy Revealed (September 28, 2019)

With the US renewing its controversial “alliance” with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with oil production in the Kingdom under siege, and with talk of war against Iran ramping up, the thorny issue of the Saudi role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks remains uncomfortably in the background.

For 18 years now, investigative journalists have faced daunting obstacles in seeking answers about the 9/11 attacks. Of the 19 hijackers, 15 were Saudi citizens. Perhaps the greatest hurdle comes when asking about connections between the hijackers and high-ranking Saudi Arabian officials. Redactions, delays, denials, misdirection, and conflicting statements show a pattern — all of it in one direction and, intentionally or not, to the benefit of the Kingdom. 

Judge Orders Release of Records that Might Tie Saudi Royals to 9/11 (September 11, 2019)

A federal judge’s ruling has raised hopes that we may better understand any possible ties between Saudi Arabia’s ruling family and the 9/11 hijackers — the vast majority of whom were Saudi citizens. Just ahead of the 18th anniversary of the attack, US District Judge William J. Zloch ruled that the FBI unlawfully withheld from journalists important parts of its own highly sensitive investigative report on the subject.

US Won’t Pursue Saudi National Wanted in Manslaughter Case (March 11, 2019)

The Saudi government has actively worked to help Saudi nationals in the United States avoid the consequences of criminal acts they have committed. Despite an outcry from lawmakers, the federal government has seemingly abetted the Saudi authorities. 


World Trade Center, 9/11. George W. Bush, Crown Prince Abdullah

World Trade Center, New York City, September 11, 2001 (left). US President George W. Bush and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Crawford, Texas, April 25, 2005 (right).
Photo credit: White House / Wikimedia and 9/11 Photos / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Amid Fresh Saudi Royal Family Scrutiny, Remember 9/11 (December 14, 2018)

It took the murder and dismemberment of a Washington Post columnist to get people (and the media) focused on a government that, by most standards, does not deserve the kind of diplomatic favor it has long enjoyed with democratic Western powers.

Suspects in Khashoggi Murder Face Death Sentences as US Nods to Turkey (November 17, 2018)

Despite taking the highly unusual move of slapping sanctions on 17 Saudi officials allegedly involved in the murder of journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, the Donald Trump White House appears to be doing all it can to protect its Saudi allies… Turkish officials perceive the US as a main ally of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the Turks (and others including the CIA) believe was behind the murder.


Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia

President Donald Trump as the guest of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Saturday evening, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo credit: The White House / Flickr

Recent Shake-Up in Saudi Line of Succession Fails Sniff Test (July 21, 2017)

Was the Saudi royal succession a coup? 

Veterans Duped Into Lobbying for Saudi Arabia (May 19, 2017)

Our podcast guest says that US veterans were tricked into speaking out against a new law allowing 9/11 victims and their families to sue the Saudi government.


FBI Disparages Its Own 9/11 Report (July 6, 2016)

What to make of the FBI’s highly unusual decision to trash a report from its own investigator into Saudi ties to the 9/11 hijackers? 

Bandar bin Sultan, George Bush, White House

Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from White House / (CC BY-NC-SA 1.0)


Were Saudi Royals Witting to 9/11 Attacks? Russ Baker Guests on Thom Hartmann Radio (September 14, 2015)

Russ Baker talks about a little-known but absolutely central explanatory story regarding 9/11.

Visas for al-Qaeda, Part 1: A Sordid Tale (September 9, 2015)

A former US diplomat reveals odd goings-on at the US consulate in Jeddah, including him being pressed to approve visas for Saudi radicals. 

Out-of-Control FBI to Former Head of 9/11 Investigation: Butt Out! (April 27, 2015)

Even the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee was intimidated when he asked tough questions.


Saudi Royal Ties to 9/11 Hijackers (September 22, 2011)

This blockbuster investigation, from WhoWhatWhy’s early days, exposed links between the 9/11 hijackers and high levels of the Saudi ruling family. 

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from US Air Force / Flickr, Stephen Downes / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0), and Stephen Downes / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

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