In a controversial decision, US lawmakers voted to overturn President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). The legislation allows US citizens to sue foreign governments believed to be involved in terrorist activities on US soil.
Among the bill’s chief opponents was the Saudi government. Now that the bill is law, Riyadh’s newsrooms are having a field day.
"The Saudi press published dozens of articles condemning the law, warning about Saudi reactions to it and its political and economic ramifications for Saudi-US relations, and presenting various Saudi options to counter it," said Steven Stalinsky, director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), according to the Washington Times.
These options include "establishing a Gulf lobby in the US; aiding in the filing of lawsuits against the US around the world; ending Saudi-US security coordination; ending the setting of oil prices in dollars; establishing an independent Saudi weapons industry, similar to the Iranian nuclear program, as a means of pressuring the US; and more."
In an editorial written for newspaper Al-Riyadh, journalist Abdalla Al-Nasser suggests that the US has no right to criticize Saudi Arabia, given Washington’s disregard for international law. The law could be used to allow victims of US abuse to sue, as well.
"The US, which purports to respect human rights, international law and UN regulations, is the first to violate and ignore them," he wrote.
"The US, with its mentality of arming itself, works to establish its global empire, and to this end uses all methods of violent takeover of the peoples of the earth, particularly the Middle East.
"The US [first] creates terrorism and then exterminates peoples in the name of the struggle against it. These forms of abuse, violent takeover, deception, and crime are elements of the American identity."
A separate columnist points out America’s actions in Japan.
"The US killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese when it deliberately incinerated Hiroshima and Nagasaki," Adel Al-Harbi wrote.
"Don’t their families have the right to sue the murderers? Doesn’t Vietnam have the right to sue those responsible for killing over 1 million Vietnamese over a period of 13 years?"
Stalinsky points out that these newspapers are owned by the Saudi government, indicating that these are harsh accusations from one of America’s principal allies.
"These are all government-controlled," he added. "They will never write anything critical of the Saudi government, royal family. If they have a disagreement with any of the papers, they will fire the editor or writer."