Saudi backlash: 9/11 law 'toothless', politically-driven

The law would give families of the 9/11 victims the right to sue Saudi Arabia

Saudi backlash: 9/11 law 'toothless', politically-driven

World Bulletin / News Desk

Political experts and economist have played down the impact of a recently passed U.S. law allowing families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for damages. 

On Wednesday, the Congress overrode U.S. President Barack Obama’s veto of the legislation, known as JASTA. 

The law would give families of the 9/11 victims the right to sue Saudi Arabia for any alleged role it may have had in the 9/11 attacks. 

“The law is not directed at Saudi Arabia,” Fahd bin Jumaa, a member of the Saudi Shura Council, told Anadolu Agency. 

He said there is no evidence in legislation proving Riyadh’s alleged involvement in the attacks. “We are a country fighting terrorism. How can we be accused of terror?” he questioned. 

The Saudi lawmaker said political considerations were behind the passage of the controversial law – which allows families of terrorism victims to pursue cases against foreign governments in US federal court. 

“The Democrats don’t want to lose votes in the coming election,” he said. 

Saudi Arabia has vehemently denied accusations that it backed the 9/11 hijackers. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from the oil-rich kingdom. 

Grave consequences 

Saudi economist Mohamed Angari believes that the passage of the law was “politically-driven”. 

“By the end of the day, the law will not be used in court and will lead to nothing,” he told Anadolu Agency. 

Angari went on to warn that the law will have negative economic consequences on the U.S. 

Saudi Arabia is estimated to have assets worth at least $500 billion in the U.S., including $96.5bn in US treasury debt. 

On Thursday, a Saudi foreign ministry source warned of “disastrous consequences” from the controversial U.S. law, according to the official SPA news agency. 

The source said the legislation “weakens the immunity of states” and will have a negative impact on all countries “including the United states”. 

He went on to call on the U.S. Congress “to take the necessary measures to counter the disastrous and dangerous consequences” of the law. 

Salman al-Dosary, the editor-in-chief of the Saudi-funded, London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, warned that the law causes “chaos in the world order”. 

“What if Saudi Arabia froze anti-terrorism cooperation with the U.S. in response to JASTA. Would Washington be able to fight terrorism without Saudi Arabia?” he questioned on Twitter. 

Salman al-Ansari, the head of the Saudi-American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), said a “reciprocal treatment” would defuse the U.S. law. 

“[By this], the U.S. could be sued by individuals and U.S. funds will be frozen if necessary,” he tweeted. 

“The U.S. will use JASTA for blackmailing but the fact is that this law is a weapon without bullets,” he said. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Ekim 2016, 20:07