Saudi Arabia May Sell $750 Billion US Assets If US Approves JASTA
Apr 18, 2016 07:30 AM EDT
Saudi Arabia is at risk of selling their $750 worth of US assets should the US Congress passes the bill that supports 9/11 victims file lawsuit against foreign sponsors of terrorism. Saudi announced their plan of giving up their assets and treasury securities before it would be frozen by the American courts.
The news was first reported by The New York Times that claimed that the passing of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, (JASTA) gives the victims of 9/11 attacks and other violence the right to sue foreign sponsors of terrorism. Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered Saudi's message personally last month. However, the Obama administration has expressed its opposition in passing the JASTA bill. The US president said that it would harm US' foreign relations with Saudi. The bill is also feared to trigger more tension between the US and Saudi.
If the bill will be signed, Saudi may face a possible lawsuit over its suspected role in the 9/11 attacks, Business Insider claims. Over the years, the Kingdom has been defending its immunity from liability under the 1976 law that protects foreign countries from the prosecution in US courts. This may be overturned if the bill will be approved. The heated topic has been the subject of debates among the Obama administration and the oppositions. The lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon have been discussing the passing of the bill over the recent weeks.
Meanwhile, two Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders declared their support over the JASTA bill. The presidential candidates backed the legislation that was co-sponsored by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, New York Daily News reports. "Obviously, we've got to make anyone who participates in or supports terrorism pay a price, and we also have to be aware of any consequences that might affect Americans, either military or civilian or our nation," Clinton said on ABC's "This Week."
Families of the 9/11 victims were outraged over Obama's lobbying against the JASTA bill. Over the years, the families were urging the president to release the 28 pages and sue Saudi Arabia. For some families, they believe that the Obama administration is prioritizing Saudi ahead of the American people. The Saudi government has constantly dismissed claims on their role in the 9/11 attacks. However, there are still strong suspicions because it was earlier found that some Saudi officials in the US were part of the 9/11 plot.