Saudis fearful of litigation tied to 9-11
Saudi Arabia has reportedly told the Obama administration and congressional leaders that it will sell billions of dollars in U.S. financial assets if Congress passes a bill to make the Saudi government legally responsible for any role in the 9/11 attacks.The situation also reflects the weakened position of Saudi Arabia since the US is no longer dependent on it for its energy supply. The Saudis are also looking to diversify their economy and be less dependent on oil to pay for government services. They would be limiting the places where they could invest at a time when other parts of the world are even more volatile. What the Saudis may fear is that some of its citizens provided aid and comfort to the mass murderers.
The administration has tried to stop Congress from passing the legislation, a bipartisan Senate bill, since Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir last month told Washington lawmakers his country’s position, according to The New York Times.
Al-Jubeir purportedly informed the lawmakers during a trip to Washington that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell as much as $750 billion in Treasury securities and other American financial assets on the world market, fearing the legislation could become law and U.S. courts would then freeze the assets.
The revelations about the Saudis’ ultimatum come several days after reports that President Obama will soon decide whether to declassify 28 pages of sealed documents suspected of showing a Saudi connection to the deadly 9/11 terror attacks.
Economists are purportedly skeptical about the Saudis making good on their vow to sell the assets, considering such a move would be difficult to execute and could severely hurt that country’s economy, which depends on the U.S. dollar.
The separate 9/11 Commission essentially found no evidence that the Saudi Arabia government supported the attacks.
However, the commission’s narrowly worded finding about having “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization” has skeptic suggesting that lesser officials government operatives or were involved.