Barack Obama has called a “dangerous precedent” the decision of Congress, which, breaking the repeated presidential veto, allowed the families of the victims of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, to file lawsuits against Saudi Arabia. Arab US ally in the middle East are suspected of having links with al-Qaida, but the White house and the Pentagon prevented attempts to “bring to justice”. That helped to overcome the influence of the Saudi lobby in Washington?
The U.S. Congress has allowed the families of the victims of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, to sue Saudi Arabia. It is noteworthy that the first Congress to overcome a veto by President Barack Obama earlier opposed the passage of this bill. Voted for the bill more than two thirds of the members of the house of representatives – 348 vs 77.
“Saudi Arabia stood first in the queue for submission of claims, as voiced data about the involvement of a number of dignitaries, including connected with the reigning family
On Wednesday the upper house of Congress – the Senate – voted for overcoming the veto Obama (99 – for and only one voted against). Now the law comes into force, despite disagreeing with him President.
This is the first such case during the work of the current head of the White house. Obama has already called the vote “a dangerous precedent”. The head of state explained that after adoption of law the U.S. military who are serving abroad, may be “similar claims” from other countries.
“The problem is that, if we destroy the concept of judicial immunity of States in relation to our servicemen around the world can also be undertaken reciprocal actions,” said Obama, who was quoted by CNN. “I don’t want this situation happened when we’re vulnerable to prosecution for all the work that we do around the world,” said Obama. He stressed that the decision of the Congress is “a mistake… I didn’t expect this,” admitted Obama.
The fears of the American President is shared by the Pentagon and the CIA, noted The Financial Times.
Riyadh threatens sale of assets
Earlier, the White house has repeatedly stated that the enactment of the law could adversely affect U.S. security and relations with other countries. September 24, Obama has already vetoed the bill, the Justice against sponsors of terrorism”, which opens up the possibility of lawsuits against Saudi Arabia. However, supporters of the law noted that its adoption will help to clarify the degree of responsibility of Saudi Arabia for the attacks of September 11.
Back in may when the U.S. Senate just approved the bill of the power, Saudi Arabia has threatened in case of approval of the initiative to sell the assets of the Kingdom in the United States amounting to about $ 750 billion.
However, as stated then, one of the initiators of the bill, Texas Senator and a representative of the state of new York in the Senate Chuck Schumer, “it will cause them more harm than us.” Agreed with him and many other economists have noted The NYT.
“If you call them “Islamic terrorists”…”
The Financial Times remarked that the law was passed, despite fierce up until the last second lobbying by the US administration and the Saudi Embassy in Washington.
According to the authors of the publication, the reason was not only the perceived relationship of the Saudis with religious extremism, and the war in Yemen. However, Riyadh is still recognized by the United States and Britain as one of the key partners in operations to combat terrorism and, in particular, IG*, reminded the publication.
The last thing that could make Obama a sign of support for the Saudis to oppose the use of the words “Islamic terrorism”. “If you start calling members of these organizations “Islamic terrorists”, then our friends and allies around the world can hear it as “Islam is terrorism” to some kind. And it makes them (US partners) feel that they are under attack,” said Obama at the meeting with the servicemen. In his opinion, in this case USA will be harder to enlist the support of such countries in the fight against terrorism.
What extremist groups are recognized as terrorist in different countries (infographic)As you know, September 11 2001 in the US, the terrorists seized passenger planes and flew them into the twin towers of the world trade center in new York and on the Pentagon near Washington. Captured fourth liner which by the extremists, presumably, wanted to send to the White house, crashed near the city of Shanksville (Pennsylvania). 15 of the 19 suicide hijackers who carried out the attack were citizens of Saudi Arabia. As a result of this series of attacks killed 2996 people, more than 6 thousand were injured. The organizer of these attacks was the terrorist network “al-Qaeda”.
The families last year filed lawsuits against the government of the Kingdom, accusing him of material support to al-Qaeda. However, the U.S. court rejected their claim, noting that Saudi Arabia has sovereign immunity against claims for damages.
Er between Riyad and Washington, things are not so simple
Political scientist, Director of the Center for the study of the Middle East and Central Asia semen Bagdasarov recalls that Riyadh has long threatened to sell off American assets, but did not.
“Apparently, it is simply economically unprofitable. Meanwhile, the decision of the Congress clearly will be perceived in Saudi Arabia negatively, causing a schism between the US and Saudis, who are trying to maneuver between different superpowers,” – said the expert newspaper VIEW.
It also indicates that recently there has been some trade and economic rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and China.
“In the American elite as much Iranian lobby, composed of those who left Iran after the Islamic revolution, but at the same time dreams of a rapprochement between the US and Tehran. As events will develop further, will show time” – said Bagdasarov.
A dangerous precedent, but a positive signal
The scientist-americanist Dmitry Drobnicki, in turn, points to the above mentioned principle of sovereign immunity. In accordance with this principle, a sovereign state is not subject to the authorities of other States.
“Sometimes this principle on the basis of tradition, sometimes based on precedent decisions of the courts, but it also often fixed by law. In 1976, a similar law was passed in the United States. It clearly delimited against someone abroad you can sue private individuals and legal persons, and against whom it is impossible”, – said the expert newspaper VIEW.
He believes that after the vote in Congress in this legislation, in fact, there was an exception relating to terrorist attacks on the United States. “Saudi Arabia, of course, stood first in the queue for submission of claims, as voiced data about the involvement of a number of dignitaries, including and related to the reigning family, to the attacks of 11 September 2001. Currently there are no grounds for appeals to higher courts, and the decision of any court in the American heartland forced to comply with the U.S. government taking against a state’s repressive measures in the form of, for example, seizure of accounts. This is related to the threat of Riyadh, to sell off American assets – they just want to protect themselves,” explained Drobnicki.
According to the americanists, Congress adopted a populist decision, members of Congress just wanted to get re-elected. “In the Senate against this bill voted only democratic majority leader Harry Reid, in the house of representatives, the bill got more than two-thirds of the votes, he voted for both Democrats and Republicans,” – said the expert.
“Zavorozhennosti” Saudi money
Drobnicki points to the many problems that may arise with the passage of this bill. “Imagine that someone has truly decided to file a lawsuit on Saudi Arabia or any other state. The plaintiff hires a lawyer, the lawyer was coming from the country of the defendant. In that case, even if the court will be fully closed, the foreign party will require some of the secret documents, in particular relating to the September 11 attacks. A foreign lawyer would actually be a scout. On the other hand, other countries can also abolish the principle of sovereign immunity,” – said the analyst.
However, according to Drobnitch, the bill also has positive consequences, because the “zavorozhennosti” us policy and Saudi money is so great that maybe even this populist move will make the American elite, especially the more vulnerable the Saudi lobbying Democrats to reconsider their own policies.
“Now, after the fact, no less than a quarter of the problems between Russia and the United States in Syria, due to Saudi money in Washington. And the fact that the majority of senators found the strength to overcome this lobbying and vote for this bill, it instills hope for positive change in American politics,” – said the expert.
* Organization in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban the activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”