JAFFA, Israel – The Saudi media has stepped up its campaign against the newly passed U.S. law that would allow relatives of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government for reparations.
One account, that went viral on social media, belonged to a Saudi-American man who praised life in Saudi Arabia and said that he feels safer near the restive border with Yemen than he did when he lived in Los Angeles.
The London-based Asharq Al Awsat newspaper reported that “the international campaign against the US Congress’ justice law grows stronger.” As part of this effort, Western and Arab officials have lobbied the international community and the UN to strike down the law, which is ostensibly “in violation of the principle of equality before the law and a shattering of the basics of International Law and the UN conventions” and “removes injustice and spreads anarchy.”
The paper quoted Oleg Ozerov, the Russian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, as saying that “Moscow adamantly opposed the law, because it clearly contradicts all the principles of International Law. Unfortunately, the whole world has seen over the last few years how American policy violated International Law and how it veered from every international convention. The Americans insist on the right they have wrongfully claimed to be above International Law. Moscow is well aware of this policy, following its special experience with America on the international level.”
Bertrand Besancenot, the French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, also told the paper that his country opposes the law “because we are aware of the shockwaves it will send, namely undermining peace and security around the world.”
Besancenot added that he hoped Congress would take into account the problems the law would bring and reverse its decision.
Jamal Shamykeh, Jordan’s Ambassador, said that the law would infringe on the sovereignty of many countries, predominantly Arab.
“The fact that President [Barack] Obama opposes it shows that it is a controversial law that was passed without sufficient debate,” he said. “We are on the same page with the Saudi government, because this law is a dangerous precedent that would encourage some countries to meddle in the internal affairs of others, especially America, because anybody could sue them.”
The ambassadors of Egypt, Pakistan and Sudan were also quoted as opposing the law, with Egyptian Ambassador Nasser Hamdi warning the United States against “the adventure of gambling on its strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia,” adding that the two countries pay the price of being at the forefront of the war on terror.
Meanwhile, the Saudi news site SABQ quoted Alan Dibb, an American living in southern Saudi Arabia, near the Yemeni border. Dibb didn’t refer to the faceoff between Washington and Riyadh directly, but praised Saudi Arabia and its people.
“As someone who has spent the last four years training Saudi educators, I love the nature and the landscape in Saudi Arabia and admire its people, who are polite and always happy to help,” he was quoted as saying .
Dibb, who lives in the region of Jazan, said he felt much safer living next door to the fighting in Yemen than he did in Los Angeles. “When the Saudi police ask me to leave, I do it. I’m mainly concerned with the damage the war inflicts on ordinary people.”
He added that there is good and bad, just like everywhere. “I live and work with Muslims. We all follow the teachings of Abraham about hospitality, kindness and fairness to others, as well as praying and worshiping God.”
He said he called on Americans and Saudis to treat each other with respect “even though we are often unable to understand each other. But God created all of us, that’s why loving others is loving God and I’m very happy to be an American living in Saudi Arabia.”