Saudi warns of ‘disastrous consequences’ over 9/11 law
Saudi Arabia has warned of “disastrous consequences” from a United States law, allowing 9/11 victims to sue the Kingdom, in a major spike in tension between the longstanding allies.
The warning came after the US Congress voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) on relations between states.
JASTA allows attack survivors and relatives of terror victims to pursue cases against foreign governments in US federal court and to demand compensation if such governments are proven to bear some responsibility for attacks on US soil.
A Saudi foreign ministry source called on the US Congress on Thursday “to take necessary measures to counter the disastrous and dangerous consequences” of the law. The unnamed spokesman, cited by the official Saudi Press Agency, said the law is “a source of great worry.”
This law “weakens the immunity of states” and will have a negative impact on all countries “including the US,” the Saudi spokesman said, expressing hope that “wisdom will prevail.”
In opposing the law, Obama said it would harm US interests by undermining the principle of sovereign immunity, opening up the US to private lawsuits over its military missions abroad. The erosion of sovereign immunity is also a concern among the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, of which Saudi Arabia is the most powerful member.
Saudi Arabia’s Gulf allies have lined up beside Riyadh to criticise the law.
Analysts earlier yesterday warned that Saudi Arabia could reduce valuable security and intelligence cooperation with longstanding ally Washington after the Congressional “stab in the back.”
Cutting such cooperation is among the options available to Riyadh, the analysts said.