There is “no conclusive proof” Arabs and Muslims were behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the U.S. itself may be responsible, asserts an Egyptian professor at American University of Cairo.

The charge by Galal Amin, a professor of economics, came in reaction to the U.S. administration’s Greater Middle East Initiative, reports the Middle East Media Research Institute.

In an article in Al-Ahram Weekly title “Colonial Echoes,” Amin complains of the U.S. initiative’s assessment of the Arab world, which cites an adult illiteracy rate of 40 percent and a combined GDP of Arab League members that is less than Spain’s.

The U.S. conclusion is that these problems present an opportunity for the international community, but Amin insists this is a “bundle of nonsense” and asks, “What business do you have interfering in our affairs? Have we complained to you about our democracy, knowledge and women, and asked for help?”

Amin says the initiative’s claim that its aim is to partly or wholly eliminate terror is “unconvincing,” insisting “there is still doubt that the September attacks were the outcome of Arab and Islamic terror.”

The professor contends there is no “conclusive proof” Arabs Muslims were involved and says many American, European and Arab writers “suspect that the attacks were carried out by Americans, or with American assistance, or that Americans knew about them and kept silent.”

“Such doubts are strong and rest on damning evidence,” Amin writes, “but the U.S. administration forcefully censors them and bans any discussion of the matter – something that, by the way, makes one suspect the US administration’s commitment to ‘knowledge.'”

Amin does not provide any of that “evidence” but goes on to argue against a point asserted by the U.S. initiative, that terrorism is a result of the lack of a free society, knowledge and women’s empowerment.

That claim is “untenable,” he contended, even if it is assumed, for the sake of argument, the 9-11 attacks were the result of Arab and Islamic terror.

“What guarantee do you have that an Arab government that is democratic and faithfully expressing the sentiments of its own people would not engage in acts of terror against you, or encourage certain individuals to carry out such acts?” he asks.

He points to the Iranian Islamic government that came to power in 1979 as a result of a popular revolt.

Addressing the issue of lack of knowledge,” he asks, “[W]hat do you have to say about the young Arab men who you say piloted the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon? Weren’t they well educated, with enough technical sophistication to commandeer commercial planes?”

Regarding women, he writes, “[W]hat do you have to say of the Palestinian girls and women – people who you definitely regard as terrorists – who blew themselves to pieces in protest against the usurpation of their national rights, hoping their sacrifice may bring back Palestine?”

“Most of these women were educated, independently minded, and loaded with confidence,” Amin claims. “Yet you would see their actions as high terror. So women’s empowerment is not sufficient to eliminate terror.”

The true cause of terror, he claims, is Arab relations with the U.S. and the U.S. position on the Palestinian issue. Therefore, he asserted, the Greater Middle East Initiative’s insistence on a greater role by the U.S. is likely to “increase, rather than temper, the region’s inclination for terror.”

Even if the U.S. diagnosis of the Middle East’s problems were true, he said, “All these matters are slow to change, and their beneficial consequences would only be felt in the long run. Are you really willing to put up with terror for that long?”

A faster and more effective way to eliminate terror, he said, would be to get rid of “counter-terror, of the type Israel practices in Palestine and the U.S.” in Iraq.

The initiative’s real motives, he contends, is controlling Iraqi oil, carving off regional markets and “softening the region for Israel’s domination.”

“Since none of these motives are in the interest of Arabs, they had to be sugarcoated with slogans superficially compatible with Arab interests: democracy, knowledge, women’s empowerment, and development,” Amin writes.

“Freedom and democratization would make the occupation of Iraq more palatable,” he continues. “Changing the education curricula – under the guise of fortifying knowledge and improving the lot of women – would make students accept the idea of cooperating with Israel. Television channels created with U.S. funding, on the pretext of improving knowledge and the media, would help sell U.S. and Israeli goods. Creating a Middle East development bank, as mentioned in the initiative, would give Israel a share in the distribution and sharing of oil revenues and any foreign aid coming to the region.”

Amin says, “It is no wonder, therefore, that an initiative exclusively critical of Arab countries should be envisioned at the scale of a Greater Middle East – for its aim is to bring the prey closer to the predator, to help the top dog have its way.”

The Egyptian professor concludes with a reference to a leaflet Napoleon Bonaparte distributed to the Egyptians when his armies invaded Egypt in 1798.

The similarity to the Greater Middle East Initiative is “striking,” Amin writes.

Napoleon’s statement “opens on a devout note and proceeds to advocate democracy and equality, while maligning the local rulers of the country for treating foreigners unjustly,” he says.

“Just as the U.S. initiative does two centuries later, Napoleon’s statement proceeds to promise the Egyptians progress and prosperity under French rule: ‘From now on, no Egyptian is to despair of assuming high office or moving up to high places. The scientists and the best minds of the nation would be in charge, and this would improve the situation in the country.’ Napoleon spoke softly, but like the Americans of today, carried a big stick. ‘Any village rising against French soldiers would be put to the torch,’ goes Article II of the French statement.”

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