Will a 9/11 Lawsuit Against Saudi Arabia Ruin Washington and Riyadh Relations?

© Flickr / Cyril Attias9/11 Terror Attacks: World Trade Center
9/11 Terror Attacks: World Trade Center - Sputnik International
The families of the 850 people killed and 1,500 injured are suing Saudi Arabia over its alleged involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks which claimed nearly 3,000 lives. The lawsuit, however, is unlikely to affect Washington's increasingly warm relations with Riyadh, political analyst Konstantin Truyevtsev asserted.

"Generally speaking, this lawsuit will hardly have a decisive impact on the relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States. A matter of prestige becomes secondary to military and strategic issues. Saudi Arabia has been concerned with Iranian expansion. The United States is the only one Riyadh can count on," Truyevtsev, a senior research fellow at the Center for Arab and Islamic Research at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Oriental Studies, told RT.

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The 9/11-related lawsuit, filed earlier this week in federal court in Manhattan, was brought up after the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) became law in September 2016 once the US Congress overturned President Barack Obama's veto in what was a major blow to the White House that campaigned against the legislation and Riyadh. JASTA allows the families of the victims of terrorist attacks committed on US soil to sue other countries and seek compensation from foreign governments.

JASTA which among other things allows relatives of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in the 2001 terrorist attacks has complicated the already tense relations between the US and one of its key allies in the Middle East. High-ranking Saudi officials have tried to convince the White House to abandon the law.

Most recently, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih said that Riyadh was "not happy" with JASTA and wanted United States President Donald Trump to repeal it.

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Trump initially supported the law, calling Obama's veto "shameful" at the time. He even suggested that the move would "go down as one of the low points of [Obama's] presidency."

"Once in the White House, Trump has been forced to define his stance on the law all over again," Igor Gashkov wrote for RIA Novosti.

Trump's tough stance on Iran could serve as a tacit indication of what his foreign policy orientation in the Middle East is, a welcome development for Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this year, "it was not Saudi Arabia that the Republican referred to as 'number one terrorist state,' as relatives of victims insist, but Iran, Riyadh's key geopolitical rival," the analyst observed. "Trump's statements have been met with enthusiasm in Riyadh which has genuinely counted on working with Washington against Tehran."

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