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Saudis threaten US with economic retaliation if 9/11 bill passed
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Saudis threaten US with economic retaliation if 9/11 bill passed

Saudi Arabia has warned US officials that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars of American assets if a new bill is passed that could allow the Saudi government to be held accountable for the 9/11 terror attacks.
The New York Times reported that Adal Al Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, had delivered the message personally last month, stating that the kingdom could be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets if they could be in danger of being frozen by US courts.The Obama administration has been lobbying intensively against the bill, which is intended to clarify that immunity given to foreign nations should not apply in cases where those nations are found culpable for terrorist attacks that kill Americans on US soil. If the bill is passed, it could allow the Saudi government to be examined as a result of a series of 9/11 lawsuits.
The New York Times reported that the US administration has been arguing so strong against the bill, which it says would put Americans at legal risk overseas, that some politicians and families of 9/11 victims have become infuriated.
The issue is the latest in a series of disputes between Saudi Arabia and its biggest ally, and comes ahead of President Obama’s visit to Riyadh on Wednesday.
Ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia, the top oil exporter, have been bumpy since the 2011 Arab uprisings when Riyadh faulted Washington for not doing more to stop the ousting of Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak.
Tensions increased in recent months following comments made by Obama in a US magazine interview, when he said wars and chaos in the Middle East will not end until Saudi Arabia and Iran can find a way to “share the neighbourhood” and make some kind of peace.
“The competition between the Saudis and the Iranians, which has helped to feed proxy wars and chaos in Syria and Iraq and Yemen, requires us to say to our friends, as well as to the Iranians, that they need to find an effective way to share the neighbourhood and institute some sort of cold peace,” Obama told The Atlantic.
Obama also described Saudi Arabia as a “free rider” on American foreign policy, and criticised what he saw as Riyadh’s funding of religious intolerance and refusal to come to an accommodation with Iran.
A senior Saudi prince later condemned Obama’s comments, saying the American leader had “thrown us a curve ball” in criticising Riyadh’s regional role.
“No, Mr Obama. We are not ‘free riders’,” Prince Turki Al Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ex-ambassador to Washington and London, wrote in an open letter carried by the local Arab News English-language daily.
In his letter, Turki asked whether Obama had “pivoted to Iran so much you equate the kingdom’s 80 years of constant friendship with America to an Iranian leadership that continues to describe America as the biggest enemy, that continues to arm, fund and support sectarian militias in the Arab and Muslim world”. – Arabian business.com via EIN News