Consequences and the Response to the 9/11 Attack in the US and the Middle East: Analytical Essay

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In this project paper I have chosen to write about terrorism, more specifically about the attack in September 11, 2001. Terrorism is the use of violence against civilians to achieve a desired effect by spreading fear. While physical terrorist acts cause increased fear, the underlying fear that such acts will be brought to life is an important – psychological – element of terrorism. Terror therefore has both a physical and a mental side. I’m going to write about the 9/11 attack and I’ll go into some details about what happened, who was behind it and the consequences.


I have chosen to write about his topic because I find this exiting, especially after seeing the documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. Another reason is that my dad was living in New York when this happened which made me want to dig a bit deeper into this to know more about what really happened and how people felt and what the consequences and response were to these attacks.

To complete this project paper, I have done some research using serious websites, documentaries and interviewing my father.


The September 11, 2001 terrorist attack was the most extensive terrorist attack om American soil, killing nearly 3000 people. The morning of September 11, 2001, a total of four passenger aircrafts were hijacked by 19 Al-Qaida suicide bombers and used as bombs. Two of the planes took off from Boston, one from Newark and one from Dulles, Virginia. Two of the planes hit the twin towers at the WTC in Manhattan, New York, which began to collapse in flames. Most people who were on the floors below the aircraft’s entry point had managed to get to safety but many people who were the points of impact chose to jump rather than to wait for the towers to collapse. Falling materials and fire caused extensive damage to buildings in a larger area. A 47-storey high building, the WTC 7, which was not hit by the planes, collapsed several hours later as a result of fire. The third aircraft was crashed into the United States Department of Defence building, Pentagon. And the fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania before reaching its goal (presumably the White House or Congress). A public investigative commission concluded that the hijackers crashed the fourth plane to avoid attacking passengers taking control. According to the National Memorial Centre for 9/11, in addition to the 19 hijackers, 2979 people died in the terrorist attack; all 265 aboard the four planes, 2606 in the towers and 125 in the Pentagon. Among the dead were 343 firefighters and 71 policemen. 25 Manhattan buildings were damaged in connection with the attack, including a church and two subway stations. All seven buildings that made up the WTC collapsed in connection with the attack or were badly damaged that they had to be removed. Later it was decided that two more buildings will be removed. During the attack on the Pentagon, a part of the building was burned and parts of it collapsed. The terrorist attack was covered directly on television after the first plane crashed in the WTC, making it known worldwide as soon it became a fact.

The hijackers were identified within a few hours, it was possible because they had made no attempt to hide their identity, however, the main source of information was the leader Mohammed Atta’s baggage which was supposed to be with the American Airlines Flight but was sent to another airport by mistake. Due to the hijackers’ background and other information, it was natural to assume that Islamic extremists were behind the attacks, and Al Qaida was designated to be responsible. Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaida leader, went out early and denied that they had had any involvement in the attacks, but later admitted that it was an Al-Qaida operation.

What was the consequences and the response to the 9/11 attack in the US and the Middle East?

2.0 Consequences

The twin towers in the WTC were damaged by the air crashes, but the damage was not so great that the buildings would collapse because of this alone. The NIST states that the fire-retardant material had been sitting on central building components, the buildings would have stood today. In other words, it was subsequent fires that were the main cause of the collapse of towers, not the air crashes per se. The south tower collapsed 56 minutes and the north tower 102 minutes after the crash, respectively. The Pentagon was also seriously injured. After the terrorist attack, President George Bush decided that the United States should attack Afghanistan as a first step in the war on terror. The next US war in the fight against terrorism was the war in Iraq that began in the first half of 2003.

In the US, in the time following the attack, a strong but transient, national of belonging arose. The flag became particularly a significance as a unifying symbol, with the widespread use of jackets with the American flag on and countless houses with large flags hanging from windows and terraces. Over time, this symbolic use became more common to maintain on the political right.

The attacks left deep traces in American politics and social life. US foreign policy was turned against what Bush came to call the “war on terrorism”. The New York suburb, referred to as “ground zero”, was later transformed into an extensive, national memorial site with its own museum. In 2014, a new skyscraper named One WTC was opened just off the site of the original towers. Like other scandalous incidents, the attacks have been subject of speculation that the authorities themselves did not tell the whole truth about who was behind it. The speculation in common is that they are not documented in ways that cannot be refuted by widely available information.

The events of 9/11 had major global consequences. They were the direct cause of the October 2001 attack on Afghanistan, which led to the fall of the Taliban regime. They also intensified the fight against international terror and tightened security and surveillance laws in many countries. In addition, contributed to the US decision to attack Iraq in 2003. The United States’ intelligence cooperated with the country’s armed forces to arrest suspected members of Al-Qaida, both in Afghanistan as well as elsewhere in the world. Several hundred suspects were jailed without trial and placed in a prison camp at the US military base in Cuba.

Furthermore, the US’s growing deficit and government debt aroused concern among economists. The Iraq war, war on terror and security growth provided a major explanation for the spending side of the budget deficits, but Bush’s comprehensive tax cuts in 2002 also contributed to an immediate revenue decline.

2.1 American response

After the 9/11 attacks, the US government responded with immediate action, investigations, jurisdictive changes, soldierly actions and renovation projects. Many relief funds were set up to support victims of the attacks, with the tsk of providing financial support to the survivors of the attacks and to the families of the victims. By the deadline for victim’s compensation on 9/11 2003, there have been 2,833 applications received from the victim’s families.

Shortly after the attacks, Bush made an attendance at the largest Islamic Centre in Washington, D.C and called out to treat the Muslims with respect. Several incidents of harassment and hate crimes against Muslims and South Asians were reported in the days following the attacks. There were reports of attacks on mosques, and assaults on people including one murder; a Sikh who was mistaken for a Muslim. The whole Bin Laden family were urgently evacuated out of the US on a private plane just days after the attacks under FBI supervision.

According to some sources, many Muslim Americans celebrated the attacks, but on the other hand, the largest proportion of the Muslim American population showed sympathy and support.

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“I worked at a super marked owned by a Muslim, it was a very ordinary Tuesday until I got the news from the boss, that the US was under attack from all over the world and that there was war against the United States. I remember people being in complete panic and everyone was anxious, no one thought the towers would collapse as the damage was so high up in the buildings. The super market I worked at showed the support by deducting a proportion of each item purchased that went to support the relatives and restoration.” (Lway Zaben)

Investigations led up to the announcement of War on Terrorism which led to enduring military actions in Afghanistan then Iraq and Bush promised to take Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, something h never managed, on the other hand, in Bush’s statement after the attacks says that “Islam is peace”. In an interview, which was done in connection with a documentary for National Geographic; Bush says that he never wanted to be a president at war, admitting he had no strategy. Decisions were taken day by day, and often in the “war”, he says. As a result, civilians and children were killed.

The attacks and the war in Afghanistan and Iraq brought great stress to both living there and the hundreds of thousands of soldiers and their families, and US relations with allies were severely strained at times. At home, Americans were increasingly divided in their view of both foreign policy and domestic counterterrorism measures, in a way that reinforced the level of conflict and polarization on party politics.

The American people turned to their faith to help them understand and make sense of the attacks. “We join our fellow Americans in prayer for the killed and injured,” the imam at the Al-Abidin mosque told his people. Billy Graham implored his listeners at the WNC “not to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people and a nation,” but to “choose to become stronger through all the struggle to rebuild on a solid foundation.”

2.2 Middle East response

Almost all Muslim political and religious leaders in the Middle East condemned the attacks. Among the leaders who strongly condemned the attacks were the leaders of Egypt (Hosni Mubarak), Palestine (Yasser Arafat), Libya (Muammar Gaddafi), Syria (Bashar al-Assad), Iran (Muhammad Khatami), and Pakistan (Pervez Musharraf). The only exception is Iraq, when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said that “American cowboys reap the benefits of their crimes against humanity.” Saddam later expressed sympathy for the Americans who were killed in the attacks. Although Iraq was not guilty in the events of September 11 and was not involved in one way or another in the attacks such as the case of Afghanistan, which the US invaded, due to the presence of Al-Qaida camos there, Iraq paid a heavy price for the 9/11 events.

On the other hand, a group of Palestinians was photographed on the street after hearing local news report of the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the death of thousands of Americans. Fox news reported that in Ain al-Hilweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, the revellers fired weapons in the air, as similar to the ceremonial gunfire was heard in the Rashidiyeh camp near the southern city of Tire as well. Yasser Arafat and almost all leaders of the Palestinian National Authority condemned the attacks and tried to censor and distort radio broadcasts and other Palestinian news reports that justify the attacks in America where many newspapers, magazines, websites and wired services published pictures of Palestinian public celebration. The Palestinian National Authority claimed that such celebrations were not representative of the feelings of the Palestinian people, and information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said that the Palestinian National Authority would not allow “a few children” to distort the true face of the Palestinians.

In the wake of the attacks, thousands and thousands of people try to escape Afghanistan due to the possibility of US military response. The 17th of September 2001 Pakistan closes the border with Afghanistan, who is already home to many Afghan refugees due to earlier conflicts.

In 2008, John Esposito and Dalia Mujahid published the results of a six-year effort to survey and interviewed tens of thousands of Muslims in more than 35 countries about reactions to the September 11 attacks. 23.1% of those surveyed said that the attacks were somehow justified and that 7% considered them as “completely justified”. According to Pew Research, most Muslims do not believe in the official 9/11 story.

2.3 International response

Reactions to the attacks includes condemnation from world leaders, other political and religious representatives, and the international media, as well as numerous memorials and monuments around the world. World governments have condemned the attacks widely, including those that are traditionally hostile to the United States, such as Cuba, Iran, Libya, and North Korea. However, in a few cases, celebrations of the attacks were reported, and some groups and individuals have accused the US of actually carrying out the attacks on themselves, and as in the US, the outcome of the attacks increased tensions in other countries between Muslims and non-Muslims. UN SCR condemned the attacks and stated willingness to take all necessary steps to answer and fight all forms of terrorism in accord with their agreement. Several nations introduced “anti-terrorism” lawgiving and froze bank accounts of assumed Al-Qaida ties. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies in many countries arrested alleged terrorists.

The British Prime Minister, Blair stated that Britain stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the US. To confirm the British solidarity with the US, Prime Minister Blair flew to W.C.D. “America has no true friend than the United Kingdom.”, stated P. Bush. P.M. Tony Blair launched two months of diplomacy to assembly international support for military action.

Aga Khan stated in a speech at the Nobel Institute that “the 9/11 attacks on the US was direct consequence of the international community ignoring the human tragedy that was Afghanistan at that time.”

3.0 Conclusion

All in all, in the after math of the 9/11 attacks, the US started a war on terror. As a part of this comprehensive war on terror, over 1,5 million US soldiers were positioned in Afghanistan to fight Taliban and in Iraq when it was assumed of producing weapons of mass destruction. Almost 7000 US soldiers died because of these invasions, and many more retuned injured or suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress.

Since the attacks on September 11, the Muslim society in the United States has become a goal of discrimination. Islam began to relate to terror and violence, which led to an increase in hate-crimes across the country. Fear of terrorists and future terrorist attacks penetrated the US, leading to improved Islamophobia and racism, and has also caused significantly an increase in deportations since the attacks in 2001. Additionally, these fears had long-term effects that can be seen today, for instance in President Trump’s approaches to national security – he tried to stop immigration or even travel from Muslim-majority countries over several authority orders, in 2017.

4.0 Sources

  6. National geographic: Inside 9/11
  12. Lway Zaben (my father)

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Consequences and the Response to the 9/11 Attack in the US and the Middle East: Analytical Essay. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
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