Jan , 25 \NewNewss
Saudi Arabia’s print and broadcast media outlets as well as social networking sites have been celebrating the so-called “Saudi victory” for days now over the families of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Saudi media claims that US District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan has refused to accept a lawsuit filed by 800 families of 9/11 victims as well as insurance companies against the Saudi regime for supporting the perpetrators behind the attack. The families reserve the right to sue under the provisions of JASTA passed by Congress in September 2016.
The Saudi regime has been trying for years to upend all attempts to convict it of supporting the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks. It spared no effort, method or form of pressure in an attempt to deny the charges and even overturn the law that empowers the victims to sue it in American courts. It has been trying for a while to accuse Iran or Qatar of supporting and harboring al Qaeda leaders before and during the attacks to escape responsibility.
The truth about what happened last Thursday is that Judge George Daniels listened to the statement of Attorney Sean Carter, the lawyer representing 800 September 11 families. He asked that the case be accepted on the basis of evidence built by his team, which points to Saudi officials providing support for the perpetrators of the attacks through charity organizations. The judge also listened to Michael Kellogg, the representative of the Saudi embassy in Washington, who asked the judge to reject the case on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence.
The families are armed with the content of the 28 pages of the Congressional Inquiry into the attacks, released in July 2017. It contains a clear indication that some of the attackers were assisted by diplomats at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles just a few months before the attacks. What the Saudi media tried to falsify and alter in Judge Daniels’ verdict is that his decision on whether to accept or respond to the lawsuit has not been finalized. But US media quoted him as saying that “the evidence presented by the prosecution may not amount to a level that authorizes it by law to formally indict Saudi Arabia”. However, the spokeswoman of the Sept. 11 families, Terry Strada, denied that the judge has made his final decision on wheatear to accept or reject the lawsuit. She quoted the victims’ lawyer as saying that the judge will continue to study the file and will not issue his final decision for at least two months.
Those closely following the attempts of the Saudi regime to have the charges dismissed are well aware that since the adoption of the JASTA law, Saudi Arabia has been pressuring American legislators and even US citizens to drop the law or amend it so that Riyadh can avoid being held accountable.
At the beginning of last November, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (1) announced that her office had asked the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board to investigate the involvement of two current [Iowa] state employees in lobbying for Saudi Arabia while holding important government posts – something punishable by law.
The state governor accuses Connie Schmett and her husband Kim Schmett of receiving $ 101,500 to work for Saudi Arabia to bring down the JASTA law. The scandal was not the first of its kind in the past year. The US media was overwhelmed with leaked information about the lobbying firm Qorvis – a Saudi agent for lobbying. The firm brought 50 retired US veterans from various states to Washington DC, who stayed at the Trump International Hotel for days at the expense of the company (the company spent about $ 270,000 in the hotel (2)). The veterans would visit Congress, meet with its members and talk about the JASTA law and the need to “modify it because it affects the safety and security of American soldiers in general.”
I was a double scandal (3) for both the Saudis, who exploited the retired military, and Donald Trump, who is accused by organizations monitoring the performance of the US administration of receiving personal benefits from the Saudis by hosting the servicemen in his hotel while lobbying members of Congress against JASTA.
Last June, the Maryland District Prosecutor filed a lawsuit against Trump (4) for using the presidency for personal gain in relation to the incident.
What is noteworthy in the records of the lobbying groups that Saudi Arabia deals with – some of these are devoted to modifying the JASTA law – is that their activity has almost ceased since May. This is the same month of Trump’s visit to Riyadh. A number of US media outlets have circulated information about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his brother Khalid (who was appointed ambassador to Washington in April) being able to build a personal relationship and direct contact with Trump through his son-in-law Jared Kushner (5).
The basic idea is that the JASTA Law must be amended in Congress to be ratified by Trump. With a Republican majority in Congress, it is possible to talk about an agreement between the US President and the Republicans in both chambers of Congress that would approve the amendment to the law in the next stage. The absence of Saudi pressure on JASTA based on the available data can only be explained according to this analysis. It is noteworthy that Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham launched a campaign after the law was passed in late 2016 to call on their colleagues in Congress to amend JASTA on the grounds that the law would affect the safety of US citizens and military personnel in the world.
Even if we concede that there is an agreement between the Saudi Crown Prince and Donald Trump to amend the JASTA law, it is impossible to predict how the Republicans and Trump will commit themselves to implementing this agreement. It is certain that the US president seeks to benefit from Saudi wealth to the greatest extent possible, and he will not hesitate to exploit any opportunity to capitalize on the Saudi regime’s financial assets that contribute to improving his economy and foreign investments in his country. He regularly tweets about economic and financial achievements and falling unemployment achieved by his administration since he took office last year.