An Iraqi lobbyist group, citing the recently enacted law that allows Americans to sue Saudi Arabia over the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. homeland, is reportedly urging its government to ask the United States for compensation over alleged violations by the American military following the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In light of the newly enacted law in the United States, Arab Project in Iraq, a lobbyist group, is urging the Iraqi government to conduct a “full-fledged investigation over the killing of civilians targets [sic], loss of properties and individuals who suffered torture and other mistreatment on the hand of US forces,” reports Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya.
Last Wednesday, Congress overwhelmingly overrode President Barack Obama’s veto of the 9/11 bill, officially known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), that allows Americans to sue Saudi Arabia for any role it may have played during the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil that killed more than 3,000 people.
Al Arabiya reports:
While many states have criticized JASTA for its potential of eroding the principle of sovereign immunity and changing international law, the lobbyist group Arab Project in Iraq sees their opportunity to ask for compensation from the United States over violations by the US forces following US invasion that saw the toppling of late President Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Citing how the Congress has given US civilians the opportunity to get compensation from “individuals” and “foreign nations” over their terrorist act in the United States, the group said Iraqis deserved the same treatment.
The Iraqi group’s request comes after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), in expressing reservations about the potential unintended consequences that may stem from law, told reporters a day after the bill became a statue:
We want to make sure the 9/11 victims and their families have their day in court. At the same time, I would like to think that there may be some work to be done to protect our service members overseas from any kind of legal ensnarement that occur, any kind of retribution.
Before the bill became the law of the land last Wednesday over Obama’s veto, the Pentagon warned it could be devastating to the U.S. military, opening it up to retaliatory litigation in foreign courts that could place American troops in legal jeopardy.
Moreover, the law could “put the United States in the difficult position of choosing between disclosing classified or otherwise sensitive information or suffering adverse rulings and potentially large damage awards for our refusal to do so,” warned Carter in a letter to Congress before Obama’s veto was overturned.
Last Thursday, the day after the bill became law, congressional leaders from both parties expressed reservations about the negative impact the bill may have, such as opening the United States to being sued for actions it has taken overseas.
Congressional leaders from both parties have said they are open to making changes to the law to fix any negative effects the law may have.
In the letter to Congress, Carter warned that the 9/11 bill could harm “important counterterrorism efforts abroad,” reports the Associated Press (AP).
Carter also said it “could lead to the public disclosure of American secrets and even undercut counterterrorism efforts by sowing mistrust among U.S. partners and allies.”
President Obama warned that “foreign governments would be able to act ‘reciprocally’ and allow their courts to exercise jurisdiction over the United States and its employees for allegedly causing injuries overseas through American support to third parties,” notes AP.
The new law is already being employed.
Citing the new law days after it was enacted, Stephanie Ross DeSimone, the widow of a man who was killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks filed a lawsuit against U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.
In a complaint filed Friday at a U.S. court in Washington, she argues that the kingdom provided material support to al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, who was killed by the U.S. military in Pakistan in May 2011.
Of the 19 al-Qaeda plane hijackers who carried out the September 11, 2001, attacks, 15 were Saudi nationals.