US Senate: Saudi Arabia can be sued for 9/11

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act was passed by the Senate with the support of a bipartisan formation of Democrats and Republicans. White House counters: It would make the US attributable abroad and further undermines relations with Riyadh. Now the bill will pass to House or Representatives.


Washington (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The US Senate has approved the controversial bill that will allow the families of the 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia, for (alleged) links with the bombers. The bill is strongly opposed by the government and by President Barack Obama, because it would leave the United States open to being cited in a case brought by a foreign government. Moreover, the law threatens to further undermine the already delicate relations with Riyadh, at an historic low between the two former allies.

Yesterday afternoon the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act took a decisive step forward, after approval by the US Senate. The bill is a rare act of bipartisan collaboration and is being brought forward by Republican John Cornyn (Texas) and by fellow Democrat Chuck Schumer (New York).

It gives victims' families the right to sue in U.S. court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the 2001 attacks that killed thousands in New York, the Washington D.C. area and Pennsylvania..

Now the bill passes to the House of Representatives, which will be called to discuss it and vote for its approval.

Earlier this month the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had denied rumors about putting pressure on the White House about the norm.  However, at the same time the possible withdrawal of 750 billion in investments from US banks was announced.

Supporters of the bill claim it would mean that the United States "will combat terrorism with every tool we have available, and that the victims of terrorist attacks in our country should have every means at their disposal to seek justice”.

By June the Obama administration will also have to rule on the publication of a US Congress dossier on the September 11 attacks, which would prove a link (albeit indirect) between Riyadh and the bombers. However, analysts and experts believe is unlikely that the document really contains sensational revelations or new elements capable of further eroding relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia.