Propaganda against Saudi Arabia
Although the bill, which comes 15 years after the attacks, still must be approved by the House of Representatives and President Obama has promised to veto it, the actions of the US government should provide the Kingdom with a valid reason to reconsider its relationship with the United States.
Saudi users of the social media have been particularly outspoken about the bill, which is more about money and personal interests than it is about democracy or justice. The hypocrisy is breathtaking, really, considering the immense damage the United States’ foreign policy has done to the Middle East. Iraq and Syria are in a bad shape and on the verge of disintegration almost entirely due to the US meddling in Iraq and its neglect of Syria, a byproduct of America’s failure in Iraq.
The United States continually flaunts its special status to remain above the law with its drone warfare and holding terrorism suspects without allowing access to due legal process.
But no one said that life is fair in the world of geopolitics and some countries enjoy the advantages of a thriving economy, a massive military and vast resources while smaller countries with lesser resources should be happy just to bask in the glow of their big neighbors.
The United States, however, is poised to shoot itself in the foot if this 9/11 bill becomes law. Suing Saudis or Saudi Arabia in civil court can open the door for Saudis to countersue. The proposed law could also unleash a wave of civil and criminal complaints against the United States in international courts over damages it inflicted in the Middle East and North Africa. Although the US is not a participant in the International Criminal Court, popular opinion in the international community can quickly change. It could lead to a deluge of civil litigations against individual Americans.
And while governments may be restrained from holding the United States accountable for this proposed law in a courtroom, that doesn’t mean governments can’t hurt the US. Saudi Arabia, for example holds $116.8 billion in US debt while China and Japan each hold more than $1 trillion. Another option is for Saudi Arabia to detach its oil prices from the US dollar.
Although any move to divest interests in US Treasuries would hurt the American economy, it would also have a ripple effect on the global economy in general. So it’s unlikely such a scenario would take place, but it does give developing nations the much-needed leverage in dealing with a country that is beginning to look more and more like a bully.
If divesting itself from US Treasuries is not an option, individual Saudis still have the power to voice their opposition to the bill. An estimated 60,000 Saudi students attend American universities, which are eager to admit them to their campuses to obtain desperately needed tuition fees. An exodus of Saudi university students would severely impact university budgets across the United States. It’s a counter argument at a grassroots level that hits Americans where it hurts the most, their pocketbook.
The growing media campaign to demonize Saudi Arabia and the divisive anti-Muslim rhetoric among presidential candidates should prompt any nation with a sizable Muslim population to reconsider its relationship with the US.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point of view