US Congress passing bill to sue Saudi Arabia over 9/11

Key details:

29/09/2016 from Qatar

-‘Families of those killed in the terror attacks on 9/11 are now legally allowed to sue Saudi Arabia, after Congress voted Wednesday to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the legislation, the first override of his presidency’ (CNN, 2016).


-‘The American political fabric knows that Saudi Arabia is completely innocent and has been vindicated from the events of 9/11, with both the 9/11 congressional report and the recently declassified 28 pages clearly showing a complete lack of any evidence that would implicate it, and that any evidence against the Kingdom is presumptive, hypothetical and indeterminate’ (The Hill, 2016).


-According to the video (in the link below):

‘-The law provides the opportunity to sue states for mere suspicion of its citizens.

-Transform the law into a political tool to pressure governments.

-Litigation takes a long time and accompanied by the freezing of funds states.

-The law is contrary to the foundations and principles of equality among states.

-It violates US law which gives immunity to foreign countries.

-States allow reciprocity sue US officials.

-It establishes a dangerous precedent internationally significant economic damage, especially in several countries abandon its peg to the US dollar’ (@fdeet_alnssr, 2016).


-‘Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks’ (NYT, 2016).


-‘Pakistani journalist Karim Khan’s son and brother were killed when a CIA drone attacked Karim’s home in December 2009. Now he’s fighting back through the courts’ (Al Jazeera, 2016).



The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) to sue Saudi Arabia is creating a benchmark in world politics allowing not only the US to sue other states but vice versa. The Act mirrors the benchmark created by Ayatollah Khomeini who through his fatwa on Salman Rushdie, allowed for the targeting of individuals not of the same nationality of the state – as evidenced in the drone strikes targeting suspected affiliates of terrorism. This has already been established two-fold (in both cases) in the case of Karim Khan in his pursuit to sue the US.

However, the timing of this veto begs the question ‘why now?’ An enquiry in 2002 of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11 produced the 28 page report showing a lack of evidence of the state’s involvement. The catalyst, then, is found in the US elections as evidenced in the rhetoric of those who voted against the veto or supported enforcing the Act. Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani has said that “the failure of Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, who was obviously afraid to show up to work today and stand with these Americans, is a disgrace” (CNN, 2016). Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the chief Republican sponsor of the bill said “at the end of the day, this vote is about doing what’s right for the American people” (ibid, 2016). This discourse has become the circumstance of American politics in its disregard for political correctness or sensibility as this has become an abuse of congressional authority. Presidential candidate Donald Trump in his pursuit of the presidency has swept the political stage in a populist frenzy that has exaggerated the disregard of state equality, sovereignty and non-intervention in the affairs of states – thus building walls by other means.