Saudi Arabia has reacted angrily to the passage of a US law that allows families of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to sue the kingdom for its backing of the attackers, warning that the anti-Riyadh measure would lead to “disastrous consequences.”
An unnamed Saudi Foreign Ministry source on Thursday urged the US Congress “to take the necessary measures to counter the disastrous and dangerous consequences” of the law, which is said was “a source of great worry.”
This law “weakens the immunity of states, and will have a negative impact on all countries including the United States,” the Saudi official commented.
The remarks came a day after both the Senate and House voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).
The vote was a blow to US President Barack Obama, who vetoed the measure last week amid warnings from Pentagon officials and political analysts that the passage of the bill could jeopardize American troops and Washington’s interests.
Speaking after the Senate vote, Obama said he viewed Congress’ passage of the 9/11 law as a “mistake” and “basically a political vote.”
“It’s a dangerous precedent, and it’s an example of why sometimes you have to do what’s hard,” he said.
Fifteen of the 19 al-Qaeda hijackers who carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks were Saudi nationals.
Families of the victims spent years and explored all available channels to sue Saudi Arabia in US courts for any involvement in the assaults, which killed nearly 3,000 people. The Riyadh regime denies any connection to the 9/11 terrorists.
Pundits say that Saudi Arabia would now opt to lower the level of its security and intelligence ties with the United States, and push close allies in the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council to reduce all manners of cooperation with the US, including granting access to strategic military bases in the Middle East region.