Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

‘JASTA,’ 9/11 Allegations…The Legal Battle | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55369920

A display at the National September 11 Memorial Museum shows the 9/11 hijackers, AFP

As previously foreseen, the first of a kind legal battle made possible by the United States Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) began.

Families of 850 victims whose lives were claimed by the 9/11 terror attacks, next to the families of 1,500 injured on the ill-fated day, filed federal lawsuits against Saudi Arabia under allegations that it provided financial support to al-Qaeda members for years preceding the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

The plaintiffs seeing their day in court does not come as a surprise, it was rather anticipated given the fierceness of the families of the victims and the army of lawyers behind them. It is far and foremost a legal battle driven by material-oriented motives. However, international fallouts ensued by JASTA’s undermining of state sovereignty will not harm or effect those having their day in court.

Even though legal experts believe that the lawsuit would draw on for years due to the lack of evidence— for almost two decades, no judiciary body or US intelligence found proof of Saudi government involvement in the attacks– the claims are still filed to court. As if to shake up the new US administration after President Donald Trump only recently having hosted Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

According to reports, Trump and the Deputy Crown Prince had just established needed patching to the historical US-Saudi alliance.

If Saudi Arabia had raised the alarm over JASTA and considered its consequences “grave and dangerous”, it is not because the Gulf kingdom has anything to fear – Saudi Arabia’s position from terrorism is clear and well displayed – but it is because the bill muddles all relations shared by the international community given that they are based on principles of equality and sovereign immunity.

Abolishing sovereign immunity or weakening it would adversely affect all states, the United States included.

Assumptions and analysis aside, facts show that 9/11 investigations by each of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency exonerate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of being even remotely involved in the terror attacks.

The 28-page famous Congressional report, on which the bill was based, reads that no evidence was found against Saudi Arabia—therefore, the lawsuit is nothing more than a brawl among lawyers which will yield the very same conclusions deduced by US investigation committees.

Meanwhile, the world would be rocked by chaos. It is not far-fetched that this lawsuit inspires a mushroom effect, except this time some would be directed against the US and a number of its servicemen deployed all over the world. Not to mention that the US economy would be greatly affected as would its currency, impeding on potential investments.

Kick starting litigation plays right into the hands of extremist groups. As the war on terror makes substantial progress, backed by international co-operation, a JASTA founded trial will help extremists spur hatred and rally more supporters. Such a lawsuit feeds into hate slurs claiming US intolerance towards Islam and other cultures.

It goes without saying that legal action against the Kingdom presents an undeniable contradiction. How could it be that Saudi Arabia supports al-Qaeda, according to claims, while the very same group has long fought and still fights Saudi Arabia more than any other country in the world?

Not only did the terror group bomb, terrorize and kill Saudi citizens, but has carried an assassination attempt at the life of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. It is beyond commonsense for a state to support the same terrorist group prioritizing its doom!

Saudi Arabia is well prepared and stationed for a full-fledged legal battle. The Kingdom will not be shaken off by “JASTA” or any other bill for that matter, despite the mammoth-scale damage done to international values of sovereign immunity which will also have a jab at the United States. With all that being said, is the world ready for such a mess?!