May 19, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6442

Saudi Government Daily 'Okaz': Senate's Passage Of Bill Allowing To Sue Saudi Arabia For September 11 Attacks Will 'Open Gates Of Hell' For U.S.

May 19, 2016
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 6442

For the past few weeks, the Saudis have been perturbed over the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) now before the U.S. Congress, which, if passed, will allow the families of victims of the September 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia over its alleged support for terrorism. On May 17, 2016, the bill was passed unanimously by the Senate; it must next be passed by the House of Representatives.

The bill's passage by the Senate enraged the Saudis, as expressed in a scathing article in the Saudi government daily 'Okaz titled "Congress's Satanic Deed Opens the Gates of Hell for the World's Largest Country" and accompanied by an image of President Obama with a Star of David and the emblem of the Iranian regime on his forehead (see below).

The same day, the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah published an article in a similar vein warning that JASTA would become a noose around the neck of the legislators who pass it.

It should be noted that the White House opposes the bill, and that even if the House of Representatives passes it President Obama is likely to veto it. The Saudis, however, are nevertheless very concerned about it, as was evident as early as several weeks ago in a statement by Saudi Foreign Minister 'Adel Al-Jubeir, who, during a March visit to the U.S., threatened that his country would sell off $750 billion in U.S. Treasury securities and other assets so that they would not be frozen by U.S. courts.[1] Furthermore, for the past few weeks the Saudi press has been publishing articles against the bill, one of which even claimed that the U.S. itself carried out the September 11 attacks but is now blaming Saudi Arabia for them in order to pressure it.[2]  

The following are excerpts from the articles in 'Okaz and Al-Jazirah.

Saudi Daily 'Okaz: The Bill Is A 'Satanic Deed'; The Senate Will Regret Passing It

The 'Okaz article stated: "The U.S. Senate exhibited the most despicable kind of double standard, defied the [whole] world and showed contempt for international law when it passed a bill allowing families of the September 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. This bill will change the international law regarding sovereign immunity, which has long been implemented.[3] The Senate failed to understand that, by adopting this bill, it will open many doors for harming the U.S. [itself], because this bill will enable countries that have been harmed by the U.S. to sue it for war crimes.

The image that accompanies the 'Okaz article

"The Senate's decision exposed the hypocrisy of the U.S. decision makers and proved that there is no justice or morality in American politics. The U.S. administration is bound to realize that the decisions of American political institutions carry a heavy economic price, which will cause the members of the Senate to regret [passing the bill].

"House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who is the most influential Republican politician in the U.S., understands the economic damage that the U.S. will suffer if this bill is approved. He warned the Senate members not to make mistakes vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, but Senate President Joe Biden stuck to his racist [positions] and pushed to pass this bill... House of Representatives Speaker [Ryan], who understands that the Senate is playing with fire and jeopardizing U.S.-Saudi relations, said that Congress and the U.S. administration must make sure that no mistakes are made vis-à-vis America's ally in the Middle East, but Senate President Joe Biden, whose position is hostile, incited the Senate to pass the bill. 

"Senate President and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also initiated the proposal to divide Iraq into three mini-states on a sectarian and national basis... Biden's rhetoric has provoked a heated debate in the U.S. and outside it, because it contains [elements of] xenophobia and clear hostility towards Muslims.

"The double standard in the U.S. policy has become clear, considering that it ignores Iran and Hizbullah, who, in documents of the U.S. Prosecutor, were convicted of perpetrating the September 11 [attacks] along with Al-Qaeda, and at the same time it levels accusations against a country that has suffered and is still suffering from terror [namely Saudi Arabia], and which spends large sums to defend the region from its dangers."[4]

Saudi Columnist: The Bill may Become A Noose That Will Tighten Around America's Neck

In an article published the same day in the Saudi daily Al-Jazira, columnist Fadhel Bin Sa'd Al-Bu'aynin likewise warned that "stripping countries of their [sovereign] immunity and allowing them to be sued will open the gates of hell for the Americans themselves." He added: "This bill... could be a hangman's noose that will tighten around the neck of its legislator [i.e., America], because the known issues of terror have an intelligence aspect in which Western intelligence apparatuses take part. This, in addition to the state terror that is currently described as intervention [aimed at] protecting peoples, rescuing them and imposing democracy, but is [actually] nothing but interference aimed at destroying countries and peoples, toppling their governments and stealing their resources. One day, this law will be used to sue all those who who caused the destruction of Iraq, Syria and Libya and spread terror organizations in them, and everyone who planned to destroy Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. The monster will rise up against its creator..."[5]




[3] Under customary international law, countries are normally immune from legal proceedings in another state. The U.S. recognizes the concept under the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The bill currently before Congress (JASTA) includes a series of amendments to FSIA.  

[4] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), May 19, 2016.

[5] Al-Jazira (Saudi Arabia), May 19, 2016.

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