On Friday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that allows victims of the 9/11 terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia. The bill was already passed in the Senate back in May, but it still has to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, what already threatened to veto it back in April.
The bill itself is a bipartisan effort, spearheaded by Senators Chuck Schumer of New York, the number two ranking Democrat in the upper chamber, and John Cornyn of Texas, the third ranking Republican. The bill would deny Saudi Arabia the ability to invoke sovereign immunity against lawsuits in US courts.
Saudi Arabia has been accused of being too tolerant of extremist clerics in the lead-up to 9/11, and there has long been innuendo about high-ranking Saudi officials being involved in the funding of al Qaeda.
In an interview on CNN Friday, Schumer said,"There are always diplomatic considerations that get in the way of justice, but if a court proves the Saudis were complicit in 9/11, they should be held accountable." Schumer added that, "if they've done nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about."
In July, 28 previously classified pages of the 9/11 Commission Report on the topic of Saudi involvement were finally made public. While the pages didn't conclusively link Saudi Arabia to the attacks, they did spotlight a few tantalizing mysteries.
While on a trip to Washington, DC, in April, Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, went around telling lawmakers that if the lawsuit bill passed, the King of Saudi Arabia may have to unload $750 billion in US assets and treasury securities. This sudden and potentially destabilizing transfer of US assets could ostensibly be necessary to the Saudi economy given that if a 9/11 won a lawsuit, Saudi assets might be frozen in an effort to collect the damages.
According to the New York Times, an anonymous source at the White House confirmed this week that the President's veto threat still stands.
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