Saudis view JASTA law as nothing short of blackmail

People look over the north memorial pool during the 15th anniversary of September 11 at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, on September 11, 2016 in New York. (AFP/Bryan R. Smith)

People look over the north memorial pool during the 15th anniversary of September 11 at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, on September 11, 2016 in New York. (AFP/Bryan R. Smith)

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Saudi Arabia’s Al Riyadh newspaper argued against the law, saying it set a dangerous precedent at law that endangers the interests of US citizens because its implementation would not stop at the US border but instead go beyond to other states. It also prompts the citizens of any country to sue the US government if they believe that will bring justice for them and help realise their interests. 

The paper said the only way for other countries to counter the Jasta law is by passing similar laws based on the principle of reciprocity. Since the US can enact laws that allow the trial of countries and their citizens on allegations and suspicions, other countries can proceed to do the same. Many countries in the world have evidence and facts that confirm Washington’s involvement in acts of terror in within their borders in which millions of people have been killed and many cities destroyed. The paper concluded by saying: “We, in Saudi Arabia, have to encourage these countries to pass similar laws and motivate them to lodge lawsuits to prosecute American soldiers and politicians for their committed crimes.

Dubai-based Al Bayan said in its editorial that the Jasta law, which was passed by both the Senate and House, saw the first veto override of Barack Obama’s presidency less than four months before he leaves office. The law was met with wide-ranging reactions, with Russia and European countries regarding it as a judicial violation by the US against the entire world and a kind of financial blackmail against Saudi Arabia. The paper believes that the law affects the immunity of sovereign states, and opens the door for individuals from all over the world who feel entitled to damages as a result of Washington’s policies, to sue the US within the same context.

Al Bayan said Saudi Arabia was completely innocent of terrorism, adding that “The kingdom never supported terrorists, as all reports and investigations proved that Saudi Arabia is innocent [as concerning the] 9/11 attacks. No country can be held responsible for any individual’s mistake. This is a strange approach that mirrors political intrigues against Saudi Arabia, and is a desire for financially blackmailing it.”

In its editorial, Jordan’s Ad-Dustour newspaper says that Saudi Arabia feels like as it has been stabbed from the back after the passing of the Jasta Law. This rule, which was strongly opposed and vetoed by Obama, is one of the rare American measures against the kingdom — given that Saudi Arabia and the US have been close allies for decades. Saudi Arabia has faced different challenges throughout various stages and has always managed to overcome them in a professional and confident manner. It will more likely manage to overcome this challenge the same way by various means.

Electronic newspaper, Rai Alyoum said that leading US law firms had started preparing petitions a month ago to file lawsuits before American courts requesting compensation from Saudi Arabia, members of the Royal family, prominent figures and businessmen.
The e-paper said there were no law firms across the world as greedy and as opportunistic as American law firms, which are looking for an opportunity to prosecute any party to blackmail them and make them bankrupt, especially if they are Arab or Muslim and belonging to a rich country. The e-paper ended by saying the issue of compensating the families of 9/11 victims has nothing to do with extremism but is a means to blackmail Saudi Arabia.

By Khitam Al Amir

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