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Saudi Arabia, 20 years after 9/11: ‘A country in the making’

Saudi Arabia, 20 years after 9/11: ‘A country in the making’

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The Saudi Arabia of today is far different from the Saudi Arabia of Sept. 11, 2001.

All but four of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens, and the Saudi kingdom was the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaida and mastermind of the attack 20 years ago. In the two decades since then, Saudi Arabia has confronted al-Qaida on its own soil, revamped its textbooks, worked to curb terror financing and partnered with the United States to counter terrorism.

It wasn’t until the last five years, though, that the kingdom began backing away from the religious ideology upon which it was founded and which it espoused within and outside its borders —Wahhabims a strict interpretation of Islam that helped spawn generations of mujahedeen.