Saudis warn of ‘disastrous consequences’ after Obama’s veto of 9/11 bill overturned

by WorldTribune Staff, September 30, 2016

A U.S. law allowing victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia will lead to “disastrous consequences,” the kingdom warned on Sept. 29.

The House of Representatives approved the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) earlier this month. It was passed by the Senate in May.

This frame grab from video provided by C-SPAN2, shows the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, as the Senate acted decisively to override President Barack Obama's veto of Sept. 11 legislation, setting the stage for the contentious bill to become law despite flaws that Obama and top Pentagon officials warn could put U.S. troops and interests at risk. /C-SPAN2 via AP)
The Senate voted 97-1 to override President Barack Obama’s veto of Sept. 11 legislation. /C-SPAN2 via AP)

President Barack Obama vetoed the legislation but Congress overwhelmingly rejected the veto. It was the first time during his term in office that an Obama veto was overturned.

Supporters of the law, fueled in part by the belief that Saudi Arabia was behind the 9/11 attacks, say it is narrowly written to include only Saudi Arabia.

A foreign ministry source in Riyadh on Sept. 29 called on Congress “to take the necessary measures to counter the disastrous and dangerous consequences” of the law.

The unnamed spokesman, cited by the official Saudi Press Agency, said the law is “a source of great worry.”

According to the new law, survivors and relatives of terrorism victims can pursue cases against foreign governments in U.S. federal court and demand compensation if such governments are proven to bear some responsibility for attacks in the United States.

This law “weakens the immunity of states”, and will have a negative impact on all countries “including the United States,” the Saudi spokesman said, according to AFP. He expressed hope that “wisdom will prevail.”

Obama had said it the law would harm U.S. interests by undermining the principle of sovereign immunity, opening up the U.S. to private lawsuits over its military missions abroad.