has done the unimaginable by almost unanimously passing a law allowing the families of 9-11 victims to lodge civil cases against (and other states) for aiding and abetting terrorism, which flouts all international laws and conventions protecting sovereign states from frivolous lawsuits. has arrogantly rewritten international law in a display of unprecedented arrogance and disrespect for one of its closest allies.
It is true that some senior lawmakers who led the charge to overturn President Barack ’s veto are having second thoughts, but only because it has hit home that reciprocity could entangle US diplomats, service personnel and intelligence agents abroad who could find themselves entangled in cases against the US government in relation to its military interventions, black sites, renditions, torture, drone attacks.
Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, would like the law amended to protect Americans without infringing upon what they refer to as the rights of 9-11 families and blame President for not spelling out the potential repercussions.
In reality, the President did, but without any real conviction. The backtrackers say he did not mount a full offensive to get his points across and did not respond to requests from lawmakers for a meeting to thrash out the implications.
Throughout the wrangling, made no defence of which was vindicated from playing any part in the September 11 attacks. Instead, he emphasized his sympathies for the families of victims and his concerns about US citizens outside the country.
President used his veto knowing that the bill had overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and the Senate and that garnering the requisite two-thirds vote needed to overturn it was a given.
I am beginning to wonder whether this episode was a scenario with the collusion of the to further undermine the Kingdom of . claims of embarrassment ring hollow.
Hundreds of would-be beneficiaries are lining up to lodge cases in courts that are empowered to freeze Saudi assets until such lawsuits reach their conclusion.
This is nothing short of a hostile act which cannot go unanswered. Today, is in the crossfire. Tomorrow, other states could be targeted including other Gulf Cooperation Council () member countries.
A spokesman for ’s Foreign Ministry said and other (EU) member states consider a violation of international law. The EU issued a statement condemning the law as conflicting with the principle of state sovereign immunity. The Dutch parliament characterized the law as “a gross and unwarranted breach of Dutch sovereignty”.
, the United Arab Emirates, , and Turkey have variously warned that the US could suffer consequences in terms of loss of investments, trust and cooperation.
Naturally, investors will hesitate to deposit their money where it can be seized on the say-so of a judge with little or no knowledge of foreign affairs or the fact that considered Riyadh as its greatest enemy.
The idea that the Saudi leadership, which stripped of his nationality, had any relationship with is laughable but if , supposedly a repository of superior intellect, can behave with such ignorance, what can we expect from the judiciary!
It seems to me that is responsible for shooting its own country in the foot. An article in The Washington Post is headlined “The unbearable idiocy of ”. “How low can they go,” heads another in Salon? The Huffington Post calls the law “irresponsible and dangerous”.
Meanwhile, in light of , an Iraqi group is seeking compensation for the US invasion. According to a report in Al Arabiya, Arab Project in Iraq, an Iraqi lobbyist organization, views as a window of opportunity to claim compensation from the US for abuses committed by American forces in Iraq.
Among its demands is “a fully-fledged investigation over the killing of civilians, loss of property and individuals who suffered torture and other mistreatment at the hands of US forces.” has handed it that right on a silver platter.
US exceptionalism has gone beyond all acceptable limits. The US, a prime instigator of the Rome Treaty creating the International Criminal Court in The Hague, refused to ratify its own membership.
twisted the arms of over 100 of its allies, including partners, to sign non-reciprocal Status of Forces (SOFA) agreements that solely protect US military personnel from being subjected to criminal or civil justice systems.
Moreover, the US leant on the to sign up to a non-reciprocal extradition treaty allowing the US to extradite British citizens and others for allegedly committing offences in contravention of US law on the grounds of “reasonable suspicion” rather than hard evidence.
and Gulf States should take a firm stand against such unfair, self-interested practice of which is a glaring example. Dr Khalid bin Abdulaziz Alnowaiser, a Saudi specialist in international law, has called upon the Shura Council to pass its own form of allowing Saudi citizens to file lawsuits against states in Saudi courts.
I not only commend Dr Alnowaiser’s proposal, I urge the Kingdom and all its partners to implement similar laws not only to protect the rights of its nationals but also to send a strong message to Washington that we will not submit quietly to being singled out for mistreatment and insult.
I have long suspected that has become Washington’s target but now my suspicions are confirmed. Riyadh is being undermined at every turn. The time for diplomatic speak is over.
First, the world’s biggest sponsor of state terrorism and its Lebanese satellite both complicit in the crimes of the Syrian war criminal, Bashar Al Assad, were removed from ’s national security intelligence assessment.
On the heels of that shock was the news the administration had been secretly negotiating a deal that served to enrich and empower Tehran to the detriment of its closest regional allies, thus altering the balance of power.
Thirdly, the United Nations secretariat got in on the act by adding the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to a blacklist relating to “Children in Armed Conflict” that was swiftly removed.
National correspondent for The Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg’s revelation that President had dubbed the Kingdom and other allies as “free riders” while urging Saudi to share the neighbourhood with was a major poke in the eye.
All the while the oil price war was ongoing diminishing revenues caused by a glut, and further worsened when sanctions were lifted on the sale of Iranian oil.
I have written on more than one occasion asking the US “Are you with us or against us?” With the passing of , despite appeals from Saudi government officials not to go that route, regretfully I now have my answer.