12:50 GMT29 January 2020
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    Washington has proved that "it is an unreliable ally" with regard to Saudi Arabia by passing the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) law that relatives of 9/11 victims can invoke to sue the oil kingdom for its alleged role in the 2001 terrorist attacks, Saudi political analyst Dr. Khaled Batarfi told Izvestiya.

    The law has become the latest thorn in the already troubled relationship between Washington and Riyadh.

    The White House has campaigned against the bill, arguing that it would put US servicemen, diplomats and intelligence officials serving abroad at risk. The US House of Representatives voted for the JASTA on September 9, prompting US President Barack Obama to veto it. Last week, the US Congress overturned the veto.

    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called the move "the single most embarrassing thing this United States' Senate has done possibly since 1983."

    Russian politician Igor Morozov, a member of the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the Federation Council, told the Russian daily that JASTA is "clearly a challenge from Riyadh's longtime partner."

    The vote proves that "Americans no longer consider Saudi Arabia to be their ally in the Middle East," he suggested. "This will surely prompt Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf to revise their relations with the US."

    In addition to political repercussions, the law could also have economic implications.

    "Any investor investing in a foreign country thinks that his or her assets will be safeguarded by national legislation. In this case, this principle has been violated. As a result, many countries, not only Saudi Arabia, should consider moving their investments elsewhere," Khaled Batarfi said.

    The analyst said that Saudi investments will be safe in Russia, China, South Africa, Europe "and many other places." He also noted that by passing the bill, the US has reaffirmed that it does not abide by the rule of law since it can "alter laws based on momentary advantage."

    Riyadh Saydaui of the Geneva-based Arab Center for Research and Analysis recalled that the oil kingdom's leadership had said it would be forced to sell Saudi assets in the US if JASTA was passed.  

    Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir "threatened to move all [Saudi] assets out of the US for a reason. He was speaking about approximately $750 billion," the analyst said.

    "The new law enables relatives and victims to demand multimillion settlements from Riyadh. If we take into account that several thousand people died in the 9/11 attacks, the compensations could total $3.3 trillion," he added.


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    Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, terrorism, bill, JASTA, September 11, 9/11, United States, Saudi Arabia
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