Saudi Arabia is not happy about the 9/11 lawsuit bill. Relations with the Kingdom have cooled and this might bring a freeze.
Nations get sued all the time. But it’s usually commercial or more civil disputes. This time, however, Saudi Arabia and its suspected role in 9/11 is on trial. The verdict by the American people is guilty, I guess, because Obama’s veto was just overturned. Interestingly, whatever court case and maybe a trial that ensues is sure to reveal interesting theories and maybe new facts unbeknownst to the public. It’s going to be fascinating to see what, if anything, happens next.
This isn’t just about our national security. It’s about Saudi Arabia’s, too. They have rules in place to protect their foreign service officers the same as we do. They also have a reasonable right to protect state secrets and not to allow information to leak that might destabilize their country. It’s not to say future legal dealings would reveal such information, but they can invoke the idea as a defensive measure.
This is more of a symbolic victory than a practical one. It might be bad for immediate relations with the Kingdom. But, maybe we should be saying who cares. We’re becoming energy independent and in many ways Saudi Arabia needs us more than we need them. Still, they aren’t done fighting this law and action against them. Precedence and perception are important in the Middle East, and there’s no doubt the Saudi royal class won’t rest because of a vote in Congress.
The Associated Press reported that ‘experts’ predict that Saudi Arabia is still going to fight the 9/11 lawsuit bill. It was historic when Congress overruled the President’s veto of the 9/11 lawsuit bill. It marked the first time in President Obama’s administration that a veto was overruled. It might also be because Congress is so unproductive.
“Chas Freeman, former U.S. assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs and ambassador to Saudi Arabia during operation Desert Storm, said the Saudis could respond in ways that risk U.S. strategic interests, like permissive rules for overflight between Europe and Asia and the Qatari air base from which U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria are directed and supported”, according to the Associated Press.
Yet, I don’t think the average American cares what about Saudi Arabia may or may not do in protest.
The Associated Press reported that Senator Bob Corker who is currently the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, presented an alternative before the vote. “Before the vote, Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee repeated concerns on the Senate floor that the bill could expose the U.S. to enormous liability, adding a better solution would have been to set up some type of tribunal. But the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said in order to be consistent and to give the victims an outlet to seek justice; he would back the legislation.”
This could affect American industry in the region and in doing so American economic interests. The CEO’s of DOW Chemical and General Electric sent letters to Congress voicing their concerns. But, we’re entering an age of changing relations with the Middle East and Saudi Arabia. A new phase where Saudi Arabia might have to participate in the region in a more substantial way instead of acting as a de-facto financier.
This nation has long suspected of Saudi Arabia being a head of the snake in regards to Salafi-Jihadis and there is little patience in the American people for debate. Saudi Arabia may seek to “go it alone.” But we have so many common interests and hopefully, the maturity to separate politics from reality. We can still work together, but we should also have a less biased view toward the Kingdom and an open mind about the region.
Featured image courtesy of conservativerefocus.com.