President Trump today doubled down on his tough talk against Iran, calling them the ‘number one provocateur of terror in this country’ as the war of words between the two nations.
‘They’ve been very hostile. Truly been the number one provocateur of terror in this country and representing their country, but certainly our country has been very much involved because we’re trying to help a lot of people out and I don’t mind that at all,’ he told reporters on the South Lawn.
Trump again warned the Iran that any aggression on their part would be ‘met with great force’ even as he conceded there was no indication anything has happened.
‘We have no indication that anything has happen the or will happen but if it does, it will be met obviously with great force. We’ll have no choice,’ he said.
The administration has been drawing a link between al Qaeda and Iran to argue the Islamic nation is a terrorist threat to the United States.
It’s a very similar strategy the Bush administration used in attempting to link Iraq to the events of 9/11, resulting in a costly and unpopular war.
It’s also an argument that could allow the president to fight Iran without congressional approval under a 2001 use-of-forces resolution, which gives Trump the authority to use force in order ‘to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.”
Trump has trumpeted the rhetoric of Iran’s top regional enemy Saudi Arabia in recent weeks.
Saudi Arabia and Iran – two powerful neighbors – are locked in a fierce struggle for regional dominance.
The decades-old feud between them is exacerbated by religious differences.
They each follow one of the two main sects in Islam – Iran is largely Shia Muslim, while Saudi Arabia sees itself as the leading Sunni Muslim power.
While the United States and Iran have been enemies since the Islamic revolution in 1979, it was Saudi Arabia that was involved in the 9/11 attacks.
Osama bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind and founder of al Qaeda, was born in Saudi Arabia in 1957.
Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers, who brought down the World Trade Center in New York City and put a hole in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. were citizens of Saudi Arabia.
Two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Lebanon, and one was from Egypt.
None were from Iran.
Evidence submitted in a major 9/11 lawsuit moving forward against the Saudi Arabian government reveals its embassy in Washington may have funded a “dry run” for the hijackings carried out by two Saudi employees, further reinforcing the claim that employees and agents of the kingdom directed and aided the 9/11 hijackers and plotters.
Two years before the airliner attacks, the Saudi Embassy paid for two Saudi nationals, living undercover in the US as students, to fly from Phoenix to Washington “in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks,” alleges the amended complaint filed on behalf of the families of some 1,400 victims who died in the terrorist attacks 16 years ago.
The court filing provides new details that paint “a pattern of both financial and operational support” for the 9/11 conspiracy from official Saudi sources, lawyers for the plaintiffs say. In fact, the Saudi government may have been involved in underwriting the attacks from the earliest stages — including testing cockpit security.
Citing FBI documents, the complaint alleges that the Saudi students — Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi — were in fact members of “the Kingdom’s network of agents in the US,” and participated in the terrorist conspiracy.
“We’ve long asserted that there were longstanding and close relationships between al Qaeda and the religious components of the Saudi government,” said Sean Carter, the lead attorney for the 9/11 plaintiffs. “This is further evidence of that.”
But Trump has stood by Saudi Arabia, even after his own CIA concluded last year that its government was responsible for the gruesome death of an American journalist.
The CIA concluded last fall that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, contradicting the Saudi government’s claims that he was not involved in the killing.
The CIA’s assessment, in which officials have said they have high confidence, is the most definitive to date linking Mohammed to the operation and complicates the Trump administration’s efforts to preserve its relationship with a close ally.
A team of 15 Saudi agents flew to Istanbul on government aircraft in October and killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate, where he had gone to pick up documents that he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.
In reaching its conclusions, the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi, according to the people familiar with the matter.
Khalid told Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, that he should go to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so.
It is not clear if Khalid knew that Khashoggi would be killed, but he made the call at his brother’s direction, according to the people familiar with the call, which was intercepted by U.S. intelligence.
Members of the Saudi team that killed Khashoggi had received training in the United States, the Washington Post reported, revealing other new elements in the death of the newspaper’s former contributor.
Trump has defended Saudi Arabia, in part, because he’s done millions of dollars worth of business there.
Son-in-law Jared Kushner also has a massive amount of business dealings in Saudi Arabia.
Trump registered eight companies during his presidential campaign that were tied to hotel interests in that country.
The companies were registered under names such as THC Jeddah Hotel and DT Jeddah Technical Services, according to financial disclosure filings.
During a rally in 2015, the day Trump created four of those companies, he said he gets along well with Saudi Arabia.
“They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”
After his election, Trump said on Fox News he “would want to protect Saudi Arabia.”