On October 21, AGSIW hosted a panel discussion examining the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act and its various impacts, as well as the international response and implications for U.S.-Saudi relations.
On October 21, AGSIW hosted a panel discussion examining the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act and its various impacts, as well as the international response and implications for U.S.-Saudi relations. Prince Turki Al Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the United States, offered his thoughts on JASTA during the event.
The JASTA Act is designed to target the most faithful ally of the United States for the last 70 years, Saudi Arabia, which is a cradle of Islam and the Arab people. This law, regardless of its legal aspects of downgrading international law and state sovereignty or its worldwide implications, is directly and indirectly victimizing a victim of terrorism. Saudi Arabia is a victim of terrorism as much as the United States, and by the same terrorist groups. By passing this act, Congress has made the evil spirits of Osama bin Laden rest in peace. Congress, by this, has accomplished the terrorists’ aims to hammer a wedge [into] the heart of U.S.-Saudi relations, with all that it is to Islamic and Arab relations with the United States. The passing of the JASTA bill has sailed through both houses of Congress and will create waves through which the Saudi ship of state will steer and maintain a steady course. The relationship between our two countries is too big to fall. It will survive this politically motivated and ill advised conduct of the representatives of your people. This act demeans the so called democratic process of which your country is so justifiably proud, and which my country seeks to devise our own way to achieve it. It promotes personal naked political gain by trying to camouflage it under a shroud of humanitarian aims in contravention of the international law of nations. When the American government is sued in so many international legal jurisdictions based on this folly, those who voted for it will rue the day. Too bad that Americans’ commitment to the rules of international sovereignty and international sovereign immunity is so cavalierly overturned by the people who proclaim themselves as the protectors and setters of legal norms. International justice is for the world to administer and not national institutions.
That’s my view of JASTA. As you can imagine I am angry, I am insulted, and I am saying it out loud. What, to me, adds more insult to injury is to hear the present talk about rectifying JASTA by making it not applicable to Americans. This is even more of a consideration that the interest of not just Saudi Arabia, but the rest of the world is being totally ignored. No rectification of that situation can take place unless and until this law is revoked. I am not a dreamer; I don’t think the law will be revoked, and I agree with Dr. Haykel that we in Saudi Arabia have been remiss, if not downright negligent in not engaging ourselves more not just with the United States, but the international arena. Not letting people know who we are and where we come from and what affects us. And Fahad Nazer is right in saying that we will not, in my view, consider having a commission to investigate this situation because that has been done already. The U.S. federal government as well as the investigative authorities of the U.S. federal government have produced reports that have verified and assuredly factualized that Saudi Arabia had nothing to do with September 11th. Yet there is still doubt by the people here in America or some of their representatives about the investigations taken by their own government. So why would they believe our government if we have that same investigation? I really don’t have much more to say except to thank you once again for your exemplary presentation.
The United States is championing a new regional approach that aims to use economic diplomacy to bring key players in the Middle East and Asia closer and provide an alternative to Chinese initiatives.
Through its careful examination of the forces shaping the evolution of Gulf societies and the new generation of emerging leaders, AGSIW facilitates a richer understanding of the role the countries in this key geostrategic region can be expected to play in the 21st century.