Bin Laden Could Not Have
Acted Alone - Syria
By Mounir Osman
Hindustan Times

DAMASCUS - The Syrian foreign minister said he doubted that Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network acted alone in the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, saying Monday "there should be assistance that had been offered to them from persons and institutions" inside the country.
Addressing a meeting of the ruling National Congress Front coalition, led by President Bashar Assad's Baath party, Farouk al-Sharaa accused Washington of a "hidden agenda" in its war against terrorism, such as a desire to control vast oil reserves in the Caspian Sea.
"The United States has not presented irrefutable and clear proof about the September accident," al-Sharra said. "It has presented evidence that can be called presumptuous evidence which has some ambiguity ... based on travels and on money moved between Europe and the USA.
"Is it possible that bin Laden and Taliban were alone behind this complicated act? I say no. There should be an assistance that had been offered to them from institutions and persons inside the USA," al-Sharaa said. He did not elaborate.
Although Syria is on Washington's list of nations considered to be sponsors of international terrorism, the United States says it has enlisted Damascus' help in combating terrorism. But the two countries differ sharply over Syria's support for Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas and two militant Palestinian groups also labeled terrorist by the U.S. State Department.
"The United States, very angrily, was ready to strike any target that comes through its mind or is presented to it by any American study center or Congress," al-Sharaa said.
He said Washington would be the main loser in the future as it has lost a "golden opportunity" to build an international coalition following the Sept. 19 attacks.
"It should have built an international coalition of solidarity. In that case it would have won the whole world," he said.
He also criticized unidentified European governments for siding with the United States, saying the support stemmed from fear of a U.S. action against terrorist leaders hiding in European capitals.
Turning to the Middle East, al-Sharaa said the fear of an American strike against an Arab country for harboring terrorists left some Arab governments afraid to sever or "even lower" relations with Israel, despite Israel's attacks on Palestinians.
He was apparently referring to Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab countries that have signed peace treaties with Israel.
"The most important thing was that each Arab country escapes alone. They (Arab countries) focused their own interests on preventing the attack," he sa


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