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Cold War in the Islamic WorldSaudi Arabia, Iran and the Struggle for Supremacy$
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Dilip Hiro

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190944650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190944650.001.0001

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The Gulf Rivals’ Eastward March

The Gulf Rivals’ Eastward March

Chapter:
(p.163) 10 The Gulf Rivals’ Eastward March
Source:
Cold War in the Islamic World
Author(s):

Dilip Hiro

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190944650.003.0010

As de facto ruler, Crown Prince Abdullah aided the Taliban, a hard line Islamic fundamentalist party in Afghanistan, created by Pakistan in 1994 during the civil war. Assisted by Islamabad and Riyadh, the Taliban captured Kabul in September 1996. In their spring and summer 1998 offensives, they seized more territory. During their capture of Mazare Sharif, eleven diplomats from Iran’s consulate “disappeared”. The subsequent tensions between Iran and the Taliban escalated to the point when Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards carried out military exercises near the Afghan border. Thus pressured, the Taliban handed over the Iranian diplomats’ corpses. President Khatami was quick to condemn the 9/11 attacks masterminded by Osama bin Laden based in Afghanistan. In contrast, the widely shared view of senior Saudi princes was that 9/11 was part of the Zionist conspiracy to get Washington fired up to launch a worldwide campaign against Islamic terrorism. Iran clandestinely supplied intelligence on the Taliban on the eve of Washington’s anti-Taliban campaign in October 2001. Yet in January 2002, President George W. Bush included Iran along with Iraq in his “Axis of Evil.” Ignoring Abdullah’s opposition to aggression against any Arab country, Bush ordered invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003.

Keywords:   Taliban, Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Islamic Revolutionary Guards, 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, US anti-Taliban war, George W. Bush, Axis of Evil, US invades Iraq

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