The terrorist attack in 9/11/2001 led to the destruction of many properties and a loss of multiple people’s lives. The airline together with the American government and insurance companies had to compensate the complainant for the losses incurred. At that time, there was no law that required any country or individual connected with the attack to compensate for the victims. The exception was if the funding was not provided in America and was little associated with the country. Recently, the state Senate adopted a law named Justice against Sponsor of a Terrorist Act (JASTA) that holds the funding countries accountable for any terrorist attack. This act appeared after officials of Saudi Arabia confessed to having been involved in the 9/11 attack. Not surprisingly, it implies a direct revenge mission against the kingdom. The president Barrack Obama did not support the law as he suspected it might destroy the long-lasting relationship between the America and Saudi Arabia. The research paper analyzes the formation of the law and its implication for the future contacts between the two countries.
Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act
The authorities of the United States of America continued to believe that terrorist operations receive funding and ideological support from some governments. As a result, they formulated the “Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” in September 2016. The aim of the act is to combat terrorism and to ensure compensation for the victims. According to the law, global terrorism is a severe crisis in general and a threat to essential functions of Americans in particular. It makes the international market and trade unstable and limits traveling for citizens and visitors inside and outside the country. Some of the terrorist groups receive funding from other nations in order to conduct harming activities targeted at American citizens and government. Any individual or state that supports the terrorist groups and activities, whether consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, will be brought to the court of law to answer the allegations. This individual or country will be held accountable for any injury resulting in disability, property loss, or a person’s death and will pay or serve a jail term. The law applies to all persons, organizations, and states regardless of their rank in the government or the relationship with the USA.
It is believed that the countries or individuals will fear to shoulder the responsibility for terrorist activities and withdraw their support. Some concerns, however, are currently expressed regarding the fact that most of the extremists are frequently ready to die and do not care about the outcome. They live a life of today and do worry much about what will happen in future or whether they will face some changes. Besides, those who support the terrorist groups, do it carefully by erasing all the trails of illegal activities, including banking money at foreign banks. It is, therefore, not easy to trace these supporters as some of them are highly intelligent people and are well-trained in the security issues. Moreover, a certain percentage of them are those people that have stopped services in military forces in developed countries, while the rest has a tight connection with corrupt military people. These connections and trainings make it rather complicated for the world to eradicate terrorism.
Saudi Arabia and the USA Relationship
The relationship between America and Saudi Arabia started in 1933. In this year, they formed a bilateral diplomatic relation. They have decided to overlook the differences between them, because, for instance, there is domination of Islamic religion and monarchy form of leadership in Saudi Arabia, while the United States of America prefers a democratic form of leadership and embraces all faiths. George Bush and Barrack Obama have had close relationships with the people from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have business cooperation and worked together to improve security and fight terrorism. Unfortunately, the issue of terrorism is rather grave and pressing.
The American government suspected that the Saudi Arabia was involved in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. The attack happened in New Yolk City and Washington, involving four military hijacked planes. Almost 3000 people were killed and property and infrastructure worth nearly 150 billion dollars were destroyed. Most of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Most importantly, the leader of the attack, Osama bin Laden, had the Saudi Arabia nationality. The kingdom suffered adverse publicity in the US, and it also considered withdrawing its support for Saudi Arabia. America blamed it for funding the extreme religious groups in mounting their attacks. It also accused the government officials of the kingdom of ignoring some matters, even being aware of all the terrorist activities. In defense, the Saudi government denied the allegations and claimed not to support the terrorist groups. However, the government of America became frustrated with the lack of public support by Saudis. Additionally, they failed to cooperate in the interviewing of the hijackers’ background information.
The Saudi country experienced several attacks in 2003 that were targeting government and any business or buildings associated with the USA. The aim of the terrorists was to destroy the close ties between the two countries. The USA government interfered in the conflict and educated its allies on the counter-terrorist issues. It also helped them with the latest technology advancements and war gadgets, so the Saudi forces interacted with American troops and received training from them. The US insisted that the Saudis need to adopt certain policies aimed at fighting against terrorism. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia declared that terrorism does not have a link to a particular political system, culture, or religion. It urged the faith educators to sensitize all the followers, especially the young generation, to the terrorism and to prevent new recruitment. The terrorist groups targeted the less educated people, promising them heavenly rewards and convincing them that they were God warriors. As a consequence, the Saudi government faced more terrorist attacks, and three years after it started to demonstrate seriousness in fighting terrorism. This time it was more equipped to counter-fight and prevent these dangerous activities. The Saudi authorities were able to arrest a large number of terrorists both from their own countries and from other nations. Interestingly, while some criminals were American citizens, the rest were at the top of the Al Qaeda who helped the government to obtain information through intensive interrogation. Under the circumstances, they had to stop their activities and froze their commercial sources which some came from the government officials and other persons from Australia.
Saudi Arabia’s Confession of Involvement in Terrorism
The passing of the act followed the Saudi Arabia’s confession regarding support for the extremists in early years. The representatives of the country have previously denied the allegation, even though the US government has always suspected their support. After the kingdom has refuted the arguments, the United States concluded that Saudi supports the groups unknowingly. It was believed that the support comes usually through charity groups which are initially targeted at the poor communities, but it usually reached the terrorist group. It was rather shocking when the Saudi government officials revealed the truth, after many years denying that, and claimed that they now want to solve the problem. This statement makes the United States feel betrayed, considering the fact that numerous resources and amount of time were spent on fighting the same terrorism that was supported by their allies. Since this confession may deteriorate their already unstable relationship, the Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act may also serve as a major determinant of weakening the ties. It is clear that the United States will use the act against the Saudi over the 9/11 terrorist attack, and even if it does not, it will not be easy for the country to ever trust their allies, especially concerning the issues connected with the terrorism and extremism. That is why, the president Barrack Obama had refused to sign the act realizing the effect it would have on this relationship, especially after they admitted to having taken part in the attack.
According to the confession made by the top Saudi government officials, they said that they admit having misled the USA government when they denied their support to terrorist. Moreover, they stated that their support started in 1930 with the aim of defeating Nasserism that was a communist and political thought launched by Abel Nasser from Egypt. The ideology was a threat to the peace of Saudi Arabia, which led to the fight between Egypt and Saudi at the Yemen border. The extremely funded group helped Saudi to win the war. Thus, they made a conclusion that Islamism is important in protecting the kingdom borders. The officials defend the support toward extremism by saying that they used it to resist to the Soviet Union that collapsed in 1991.The group was later assigned to fight against Iranian Shiite movement, and this task was performed successfully. These activities confused the government that decided to support it financially without taking into consideration the future implications. Hence, the government backed these actions ignorantly and carelessly, believing that it would protect the country.
Future Implication of JASTA
The introduction of the bill fueled tension between Saudi Arabia and the United States. The government of Saudi claimed that if the bill gets passed, they will sell all the treasury, security, and other assets they have to the United States. This operation might be impossible to happen at once as it may cripple the Saudi economy. However, it might occur at a slow pace until the two countries are free from each other’s support, although the breaking of the relationship is dangerous for both. First, USA should not assume that Saudi has completely stopped funding the extremist groups, since they might use these against the United States as a revenge mission. What is more, they can devise a better plan of action than one that was done in 2001, given that the soldiers have learned much from Americans and received training from the US military. Even though the USA has already improved its security and is ready to face and prevent any terrorist attack, Arabia can also rebel against Americans and try to defeat them. Moreover, this course of events will have a huge financial implication to America. Second, ending the relationship means America has gained yet another enemy. The country already has enough rivals who are determined to do anything to see it fail so that it would stop being a super power. It is clear what can happen if all these nations can decide to join their forces against America and even impose sanctions, similarly to the way America has done it with other countries. Punishment to America will cause the economic crisis in many countries, and there will be a little technological development as it is mostly concentrated in America. In spite of the fact that it has the most powerful weapon, it may not be able to defend its territory in case many nations once come together.
After the country has been attacked by the terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia joined forces with America and held campaigns against the dangerous criminals. It this attempt, they released vital information about the terrorist that helped the two countries to fight and reveal the leaders of the groups. This support has resulted in confession later. If the government of America decides to use the information they obtained against the kingdom, they will never be able to stop the terrorist in any other country. This is because the Saudi nation will be more careful in all security investigations and will never repeat the mistake of revealing extra data. The terrorist groups will then take advantage of this situation and build themselves against the Kingdom and the United States. It will then turn into a blame game of who will compensate for the victims. The government of the United States should look beyond their citizen’s welfare and concentrate on international peace, since they will also be affected.
After 15 years have passed, it is hard for the complainants to determine the genuine causes of the attack. Many people have been known to take advantage of such situations and claim that they were the victims of the attack. A bright illustration of the case is a situation when the president of the United States of America – Barrack Obama signed the First Responders Bill. The bill was focused on the compensation program for the victims of the attack and advocated for extended health cover for people who developed health conditions and issues after the assault. It was also aimed at compensating people who lost their jobs and wages as a result of health related issues got after the attack. In such a case, one cannot clarify a disease developed as a result of other factors apart from the attack. This pretence is especially true for every person who worked near the attacking area. As a matter of fact, many people have had diseases like psychological problems or various impairments that can be related to such an attack. However, since there is a compensation program, any person who can be able to prove that they were near the area can benefit from the payment. This situation will also be the case for those wanting to be compensated by another country. Even those who received compensation from their government will still prefer getting a bonus. All relatives of the dead person will also choose to receive compensation for the death of their family member. It is hard to discover the truth, especially because the attack had happened many years ago.
Another thing that can happen is that the countries can adopt with such an act and use it against America. The state has been insisting on the need of other countries to observe human rights, yet it has violated human rights in different countries. It is depressing how this state led its fight in regions like Afghanistan. It has used robots to target its enemies so that it would land into unexpected areas. The robots do not have the ability to discriminate against the criminal and the civilian as these are merely the programs that follow the instructions. The technology has resulted in the death of many innocent civilians and multiple disabilities and psychological tortures to the people that lived in those areas. Furthermore, it also caused the loss of properties. Many civilians were left with wounds, unable to work, and homeless. The other governments also have to cover the costs incurred as they try to repair the damage caused by the American government. Every country will start suing other nations for past wars. These are the same issues they are accusing Saudi Arabia of during the 9/11 attack. It is a selfish action when only the the damages that were caused by the assault are considered, but the negative consequences of their own attacks are ignored. If their citizens receive compensation, they also should pay for the damages so that they can also be responsible in future.
If the USA government values its relationship with other countries, it should amend the act. It should allow it to handle future cases and forget about the past cases. The government officials passed the law allowing the 9/11 victims to seek justice only after Saudi Arabia has confessed to participating in it indirectly. It can seem as a direct attack on their allies, and one may wonder if they are tired of the relationship and do not plan to continue the relationship.
Another thing that the government can do is to ask for the opinion of other countries in making such laws. Besides, the law engages other nations as they are required to compensate for the victims. Many countries are committed to ending terrorism and would have supported the law. However, they might have devised a workable plan that will not hurt any country economically. It will be hard to estimate the damage as the attack was in 2001. There have been drastic changes of the economy and the course of currency. There is also a chance of overestimating the value as the law might be biased. The law was formulated in America and aimed at benefiting the American citizens for a past incident.
In addition, it does not seem as proper justice for a person to be made to pay for what he/she did not intend to do. The Saudi officials in their confession said that they supported the group at first but did not send the terrorist on the particular attack. They stated that they have only supported the group in activities that protected the government from the enemies. The United States of America has never been an enemy of the kingdom, and there was no way it could have attacked it. The kingdom has also been a victim of the terrorist attacks many times and no country has compensated them in such cases. There were also some American citizens who participated in the attacks. Thus, the law should have compelled each country to be accountable for its citizens’ actions. Prosecuting Saudi Arabia can be an abuse to its efforts to fight against terrorism.
The relationship between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may end due to the new act – JASTA. One of the major issues that may lead to the death of this relationship is the terrorist problem, since Saudi Arabia has confessed to having supported terrorists in the past. The new act JASTA may force Saudi to pay compensation for the 9/11 victims. Prior to introducing the law, it would be sensible to consult other nations that are concerned with the issue. The American government should also be ready to accept the responsibility for the damages it caused by the use of drones in war. Therefore, America should consider amending the act if it values its relationship with Saudi Arabia.
Phillip Cooper, writer at writer-elite.com and a blogger.