Tensions Between Iran And Saudi Arabia On The Rise After Deadly Stampede In Mecca

Who was responsible for the death of 769 Muslim pilgrims in Mina, Saudi Arabia, who died during a stampede last week? Iran says Saudi Arabia’s rulers are personally responsible, but eyewitnesses accounts and a statement by an Iranian official tell a different story…..

Iran accused Saudi Arabia of negligence during the Hajj – the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca – and vows to take legal action against the Kingdom after 136 Iranians were killed during a stampede in Mina. Another 85 Iranians were injured, and 344 remain missing four days after the disaster.

The Saudi Health Ministry announced on Saturday that the death toll had risen to 769, up from 717 on Thursday; 934 people were injured when a crowd of elderly people and children tried to escape an overcrowded street.

Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, used his speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations to demand an international investigation into the disaster. Rouhani said that the “heart-rending” disaster demanded an investigation into “the causes of this incident and other similar incidents in this year’s hajj.”

On Friday, Rouhani suggested that the tragedy in Mina could be a result of the transfer of experienced Saudi security personnel to Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels.

Earlier, Iran’s State Prosecutor, Ebrahim Raisi, told Iranian State Television that “Under international law, this incident is absolutely subject to prosecution. The Al-Saud must be responsive,” making a reference to the House of Saud, the ruling monarchy in the country. Raisi later demanded a criminal investigation into the role of the Saudi regime in the disaster.

Since the deadly stampede occurred, tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been on the rise. Iran already summoned the Saudi consul in Tehran three times to protest the handling of the Hajj, and Ayatollah Khamenei demanded an apology from Saudi Arabia.

Iran contests the Saudi custody of the Muslim holy sites in Mecca and Medina and its right to organize the yearly Hajj that brought over two million pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year. The two archrivals also are embroiled in several regional conflicts such as the Syrian war, where Saudi Arabia supports Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and Iran the Assad regime.

Hundreds of angry protesters gathered outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Friday, chanting “Death to the Saudi dynasty.”

The Iranians also spread accusations implicating the direct involvement of the House of Saud in the stampede. Several regime-controlled media reported that the disaster was the result of the blocking of two of the main roads in Mina to allow the passage of a convoy of the Saudi government.

The Iranian media cited eyewitnesses who said that the convoy of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud had been seen speeding on a road that crossed Route 204, where the pilgrims were walking towards the “Stoning of the Devil” ritual in Mina.

“Saudi Arabia has not responded to the Iranian accusations regarding the convoy. Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki told The Associated Press that a VIP convoy traveling through Mina on Thursday, which included foreign dignitaries, had nothing to do with the incident and was in a different part of town. He said VIPs use their own roads in Mina,” AP reported.

A Saudi eyewitness, who wished to remain anonymous, told Western Journalism on Thursday that the very high temperatures in Mina on Thursday had contributed significantly to the high death toll of the stampede. Temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius on Thursday.

Other eyewitnesses told a news site in Saudi Arabia that a large group of Iranians in the crowd had been responsible for the stampede.

Arab News, which first reported on the issue, cited the news site Sabq, which published eyewitness accounts that said the stampede happened after a large group of Iranians “passed through Souq Al-Arab Street and refused to return, ignoring guidelines.”

Sabq quoted one of the Saudi officials in charge of organizing the event as saying that “the Iranian pilgrims did not listen to the guidelines, ignored it and confronted us. They were raising slogans before the incident.”

Sabq also reported that the Iranians had behaved provocatively during the Hajj and were promoting the Iranian Islamic Revolution among other pilgrims, thereby transforming the Hajj into a political platform. The Iranians were said to have confronted other pilgrims and Saudi security forces prior to the stampede.

Arab News suggested that Yemeni Houthi leader Mohammad Al-Maqaleh could have something to do with the stampede. He wrote on his Facebook page that this year “during Haj there would be incidents which would not have examples in the history. Knock O men of Allah before the season so that you are crowned the day of staying in the mountain of Arafat,” Arab News reported.

On Sunday, the London-based Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat reported that an official from Iran’s Hajj mission had confirmed the Saudi version of the cause of the disaster.

The official, who requested anonymity to discuss the issue, said the accident occurred after a group of around 300 Iranian pilgrims failed to follow orders requiring them to wait for clearance to leave Jamarat—the site where pilgrims perform the ‘stoning the devil’ ritual.

Instead, the group went back to their mission’s headquarters as other groups were on their way to the site as scheduled, according to the official.

‘The group stopped for a while, causing the coming pilgrims to take a route no more than 20 meters wide,’ he said, adding that such behavior often leads to tragic consequences in crowded areas.

The Iranian pilgrims were scheduled to leave Jamarat hours after the accident took place, the official said.

The official’s comments were confirmed by other eyewitnesses who told Asharq al-Awsat that the stampede occurred after the group of Iranians “failed to follow orders from security.”

You Won’t Believe Who Got Blamed For Saudi Arabia’s 9/11 Disaster

One hundred and seven people were killed at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Friday, September 11th, when a huge crane owned by the Bin Laden Company collapsed and partly destroyed the mosque.

At least 238 other worshipers were wounded in the accident that was caused by a huge sandstorm that plagued most of the Middle East last week. The Masjid al-Haram mosque is located at the holiest site in Islam.

“Images circulating on social media showed a massive red crane collapsed through the mosque’s ceiling. Numerous bodies could be seen on the ground. The pictures could not be independently verified.

Mecca is preparing for the hajj, an annual Muslim pilgrimage. Hundreds of thousands of people were expected to arrive to the city later this month. Construction has been underway for years as Saudi authorities have sought to expand the space to accommodate the massive numbers of people each year,” the International Business Times reported.

Originally, social media reports from Saudi Arabia spoke of a stampede that killed an additional number of people right after the crane came down through the ceiling of the mosque but these reports were denied by the Saudi authorities.

The Masjid al-Haram has seen repeated stampedes during the Hajj. In the year 2006, 350 people were killed in a stampede, and another 76 died when a building collapsed at the site. During another incident in 2004, 200 people were killed in a stampede.

Since then the Saudi authorities have taken several measures to improve the safety of the pilgrims. One of these measures is the expansion of the Grand Mosque. This is a $21 billion project that is headed by the Bin Laden group. This is a company started by the father of the Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. Navy Seals in a special operation Pakistan in 2011.

The incident occurred on the same day the United States remembered the killing of around three thousand citizens in the Al-Qaeda attack that destroyed the Twin Towers in New York on September 11th, 2011.

This coincidence immediately led to conspiracy theories among Muslims on social media. One tweet posted by somebody named Rashem Ahmed suggested that the crane collapse was staged as revenge for the attack on the World Trade Center 14 years ago. The ‘perpetrators’ had succeeded to influence the local weather and were said to be able to “create tsunamis and other natural disasters to destroy humans.”

9-11 tweet
Similar conspiracy theories could also be heard in Egypt where a Coptic Christian reported to Camera researcher Dexter Van Zile that the Jews were blamed for the sandstorm that caused the crane to collapse. The Coptic Christian said to Van Zile that people in Egypt were asserting that Israel has created technology that makes it possible for the Jews to control the weather.

These type of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are very popular in Arab society but especially in Egypt and Saudi Arabia where even electricity black- outs are blamed on the Jews and Israel. Somali author and politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in her famous book “Infidel” that while living in Saudi Arabia she noticed how despite the fact that no Jews lived in the country anymore, every disaster or technical failure in the infrastructure was blamed on the Jews.

Even in the United States, there were people who indulged in conspiracy theories after the disaster in Mecca.

An anonymous U.S. citizen posted a YouTube video in which he suggested that someone might have caused the crane to collapse on the mosque as revenge for 9-11. He said that something didn’t seem right and that it could be that somebody sabotaged the crane in retribution for the attacks on the Twin Towers. He even suggested that it could be God’s judgement that caused the disaster in order “to bring down this Muslim oppressive society.” The video got almost 300,000 views in three days.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

Mecca Crane Disaster Kills 100+ Muslims – Who Owned The Crane Is Turning Heads

As Americans observed the anniversary of two terror attacks committed by Islamic extremists, the holiest Muslim site in the world was rocked by a deadly incident Friday. More than 100 individuals were killed and more than 200 were injured when a giant crane crashed into Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mosque of Mecca.

The death toll was likely increased due to the timing of the crash. Reports indicate the crane fell just prior to Friday evening prayer, which is among the week’s most attended services.

According to reports, the incident occurred during a heavy storm. The crane apparently collapsed after being struck by lightning. Photos and video of the disaster – along with graphic images of its aftermath – flooded social media sites throughout the day.

While a few described the incident as payback for the 9/11 attacks, they were largely answered by those offering prayers and compassion for victims and their families.

The significance of the date, however, was impossible for some to ignore.

Another notable detail involves the crane’s ownership. Though it and others at the site belong to a German company, they are being used by the Bin Laden family for an extensive remodel and expansion of the Islamic holy site.

I Hope Donald Trump Is Thankful For The First Amendment (Saudis Not So Much)

Donald Trump’s arrogant personality has for years been out there for all to see. So there’s nothing new during the current Presidential clownfest in that regard. However, in an interview with the author of a new biography on him, Trump is quoted, stating: “For the most part, you can’t respect people because most people aren’t worthy of respect.” And it sounds like that isn’t even taken out of context, because how could you do that? I think that one statement tells us about what Donald Trump really thinks of other people. (Not much.) And there really are sheeple out there who think that that kind of contemptuous attitude is okay. They want their President to have that attitude and think that way about them! They want their rulers to walk all over them and treat them like dirt. I know I do.

And Trump is now in hot water for his saying about Carly Fiorina: “Look at that face! … Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” Fiorina responded, “Those comments speak for themselves.” Of course they do! Donald Trump has no sense of self-control, no sense of discretion, or of decency, quite frankly. Talk about someone “not worthy of respect”! However, he is in some way correct about Fiorina. She does happen to have a scary looking face, as other people have noted. She actually is quite ghastly. But really it is her warmongering views that are ghastly, and un-American, in my view. But what is extremely unattractive and even loathsome about her is her close relationship with criminal U.S. government agencies, CIA and NSA. But most of the obedient sheeple in Amerika don’t have a problem with that, with the crimes being committed by the CIA, the NSA, and so on. Even I have suggested possibly boycotting Amazon.com because of its providing CIA with cloud servers, which I would call aiding and abetting what is essentially a criminal enterprise.

However, given that Trump won’t get elected to anything, nor will he get the fixed GOP nomination, I am glad that there is someone who isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind, to counter the political correctness censorship fascism that we have in our society now. The racism fanatics and feminist extremists want to shut down any debate or opposing point of view on various subjects, and it’s like everything is insulting, triggering or hurtful. The thin-skinned industry controls speech now. But they have become extremely irrational in their extremism. For instance, as Brendan O’Neill writes, now complimenting a woman is misogynistic and offensive! Now you can’t even say something nice about a woman. (I guess Donald Trump need not worry about that.)

And recently, there was the sweeping-human-rights-abuses-under-the-rug meeting between Obama and the Saudi King and foreign minister. But did Obama ask the Royal Saudi dictator about his regime’s flogging and imprisoning of bloggers for criticizing the regime? What about the Saudis imprisoning Saudi lawyers for criticizing their primitive judicial system? And their sentencing of human rights activists to years in prison for criticizing the rulers, and giving 300 lashes and jailing innocents merely for helping others to convert to Christianity. In Saudi Arabia, they arrest and jail the victims of rape. Did Obama ask about those aspects of daily life in Saudi Arabia? Nope.

Their whole culture over there is extremely sick and repressive, like the rich version of North Korea. And I think that U.S. bureaucrats need to get over this love affair with foreign oil producers and get the truth out about possible Saudi involvement in 9/11 as well. There have been some interesting articles by James Bovard, Eric Margolis, Russ Baker, and Paul Sperry on all that.

What was really disgusting with the recent invasion by Saudi Royals, and made me almost toss my cookies, was the literally “red carpet” treatment given to those criminal rulers. The Four Seasons hotel redecorated itself with gold and other extravagances to make a “home-away-from-home fit for the billionaire Saudi monarch,”according to Politico.

“Everything is gold,” says one Four Seasons regular, who spied the deliveries arriving at the hotel. “Gold mirrors, gold end tables, gold lamps, even gold hat racks.” Red carpets have been laid down in hallways and even in the lower parking garage, so the king and his family never have to touch asphalt when departing their custom Mercedes caravan.

How sick is that?

The entire hotel was booked for the “79-year-old king’s entourage of Saudi diplomats, family members and assistants, one source said; a full buyout of the entire property was reserved for the visit,” reported Politico.

How absolutely disgusting. Am I allowed to say that? Or will I get flogged and jailed for it by those schmucks? They are literally criminals, who assault, torture and murder innocent human beings merely because they didn’t like what their victims said. Wait, here we have Obama’s war on journalists, his war on whistleblowers, the IRS’s persecution of conservatives, and Bradley Manning’s being tortured pre-kangaroo trial and put in isolation for his harmlessly revealing to his fellow Americans the criminality and war crimes of our government. (Also in the “exceptional” and “divinely inspired” USA, we have prosecutors knowingly letting innocent people be falsely convicted of crimes and in some cases putting them to death, and there are plenty of police S.W.A.T. teams and FBI/DEA/ETC neanderthals who have beaten, assaulted and murdered innocent people with impunity. So I guess Obama and the Saudi king really do have some things in common.)

Perhaps Donald Trump can tap into some of his vitriol to criticize those things instead of concentrating on what some fascist politician looks like.

This commentary was originally published at Scott’s blog

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

Remembering The 9-11 Jihad Attack Against America

(Authored by William J. Murray in September of 2002 for the first anniversary of the 9-11 jihad attack on the United States. It is re-posted each year on the anniversary of the attack.)

Each of us will remember exactly where we were and what we were doing at the moment we heard about the Islamic Jihad attack against our nation on September 11th, just as our parents and grandparents always remembered the details of their lives on the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

On that fateful day, I was on my way to Washington, DC, to participate in the Sudan Peace Act press conference to be held at the Rayburn House Office Building at 10:00 a.m. that morning.

As usual on my drive from my Virginia office to my Washington, DC, office, I was listening to WTOP, which is a commercial all news radio station. Within two or three minutes of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center, they had a live report from a traffic helicopter in New York City. Immediately I knew that the Islamic Jihad against the United States had reached a new level of terror.

The media at first believed it was an accident, of course. I knew otherwise just because of the description of the damage. No small aircraft had hit the building, and no large modern airliner would hit a skyscraper in broad daylight in good weather by accident.

I heard the New York traffic reporter as he described a second aircraft headed into tower number two of the World Trade Center, and it was at that instant that I made my first call to the White House. I talked briefly to a special assistant to the President. I wanted to be the first to say, “The Jihad against America has begun.”

It was just after 9:30 when I got off the phone with the White House official and was passing the Pentagon on my way into Washington. It was literally at that instant that American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the south side of the Pentagon. I never saw the airplane hit, but literally felt the explosion rattle the windows of my Jeep. I can honestly say I did not know what had happened as I saw the smoke and flames rise from the Pentagon in my driver’s side outside mirror. I thought it must have been a truck bomb, since I was not willing to believe that Islamic madmen had managed to hijack more than two jets.

The irony of my personal journey that day was the cancellation of the news conference on the Sudan Peace Act. That act was written for the sole purpose of stopping the slaughter of Christians in the Sudan by its Islamic government. During the Clinton Administration, the Sudanese Muslims had been given a free hand at killing Christians as had the Islamic government of Indonesia. Clinton’s only foreign intervention to “save” a religious group was the bombing of Christian Yugoslavia. The destruction of Yugoslavia by Clinton led to the construction of terror bases in Europe for the first time. Without the Yugoslav army to intervene, terror cells were free to launch attacks against the West from Kosovo.

Within days of the Jihad attack, the Bush Administration was proclaiming Islam as a “religion of peace”; and America’s left wing media launched into a “blame America and defend Islam” politically correct agenda that amazed even me. Not a single news outlet would place the blame for the attack where it belonged … Before the end of September, I had written and placed advertisements in major newspapers including the Washington Times, clearly showing that there was no difference between the Taliban of Afghanistan and our Saudi Arabian “allies.” In fact, the Saudi princes had financed Bin-Laden and his terror cells.

For my truthfulness, I was ostracized in Washington for some time. I was “uninvited” to events, and individuals at the White House no longer returned my calls. But I fought on, not only in print, but on radio and TV as well, telling the truth about Islam and Saudi Arabia. While congressmen and Senators were inviting Islamic clergy to pray at official events, I was pointing out that Bin-Laden was only doing his master’s bidding–and his master was Mohammed.

It took a year, but the truth prevailed! Slowly but surely, newspapers and other media outlets began to listen to me. Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer joined the bandwagon of truth as did Franklin Graham. Soon, even the major media could not ignore the truth. In August of this year, a lawsuit for $1 trillion was filed by terror victims against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and many members of the Royal family. Documents filed by the lawyers of the 9-11 victims’ families show clearly that Saudi Arabia gave Osama Bin-Laden and the Taliban $300 million to attack targets other than Saudi Arabia. Further, the Saudis gave Bin-Laden and the Taliban hundreds of millions of dollars of other financial assistance and oil.

Saudi Arabia and its royal families financed the Jihad attack against the United States by paying Osama Bin-Laden not to overthrow their corrupt regime. The tide of truth is rolling over the politically correct. Not even the National Education Association (NEA) can stop the truth. The NEA has presented a “blame America” curriculum to be taught by teachers this September. The NEA suggested that teachers point to the interment of Japanese citizens during World War II and other acts of American “intolerance.” The NEA’s official position is that “…no one group is to blame for 9-11.” The vast majority of America’s teachers have rejected the NEA “guidelines” and will tell the truth about what happened on 9-11 to their students.

There is blame to every evil deed, and there is plenty of blame to go around for what happened on 9-11. We can blame our politically correct leaders for refusing to follow up leads to terrorist activity for fear of being “insensitive” to Muslims. We can blame a press and educational system that equates the vile deeds of Mohammed with the peace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The real blame in America rests in the failure of our civil and religious leaders to understand Islam. Terrible things have been done in the name of Christianity over the years, but we always had the words of Christ to return to. Some good things have been done in the name of Islam over the years, but unfortunately, men such as Osama Bin-Laden can always go back to the words of Mohammed. The first massacre of Jews was conducted by him personally at Medina in the year 627. Yasser Arafat, in sending out his suicide bombers, is faithfully following Islam and the words of Mohammed. Arafat, Bin-Laden and Mohammed are one.

The great “Fatah” (military conquest for Islam) is upon us. It is the fourth great expansion of Islam. If we fail to realize this and do not stop the conquest militarily as was done to end the first three great Fatahs, our children and grandchildren will live as slaves to Mohammed.

What does the next year bring us, the next ten years? More violence against Christians by Islamic governments; more terror attacks in the name of Islamic Jihad; more Jewish and Christian children killed by suicide bombers and even more lies from Islamic leaders.

Muslims have no fear of lying. In the Washington Times, Faiz Rehman of the American Muslim Council had the gall to claim last month that 16% of those killed on 9-11 were Muslims. He claims that 500 of the 3,000 killed were Islamic and that America has a debt to Islam. American newspapers have printed this lie without challenge.

(William J. Murray is also the chairman of Government Is Not God – PAC and the author of several books including My Life Without God that details his childhood in an atheist and Marxist home in the 1950’s and 1960’s.)

This piece originally appeared at ReligiousFreedomCoalition.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.