Saudi Arabia threatens to sell off US assets if held responsible for 9/11

Published: April 17, 2016
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

The Saudi Arabian government has threatened to sell of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets should the US Congress pass a bill that could hold the kingdom responsible for any role in the September 11, 2001 attacks, the New York Times reported on Friday.

The newspaper reported that Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir told US lawmakers last month that “Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in Treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.”

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The bill, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year, would take away immunity from foreign governments in cases “arising from a terrorist attack that kills an American on American soil.”

The New York Times, citing administration officials and congressional aides, said “the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon.”

It added that the Obama administration had lobbied Congress to block the passage of the bill.

The State Department said it stood “firmly with the victims of these acts of violence and their loved ones.”

“We remain committed to bringing to justice terrorists and those who use terrorism to advance their depraved ideology,” said State Department spokesperson John Kirby.

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In September a US judge dismissed claims against Saudi Arabia by families of victims of the attacks, saying that the kingdom had sovereign immunity from damage claims by the families and from insurers that covered losses suffered by building owners and businesses.

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Reader Comments (31)

  • Ahad
    Apr 17, 2016 - 9:59AM

    Looks like we will witness the end of these kings now.Recommend

  • Bigot quasher
    Apr 17, 2016 - 10:27AM

    Saudi sponsorship of terrorism implied or otherwise needs to be stopped for the good of humanityRecommend

  • Sunil
    Apr 17, 2016 - 10:29AM

    Oil is not king for long. If they do this it will affect both the countries. Who cares.Recommend

  • Sodomite
    Apr 17, 2016 - 10:43AM

    All hijackers came from SA and Egypt. Both these countries are responsible but poor Afghanistan bore the brunt and lost close to million lives. If SA decides to dump USG Bonds and other assets, they will get US Dollars for them. What will they do then? Cart them in their planes to Europe?? Its a currency switch. They can move USD into Euros but the Dollars will stay in US and SA will lose as the exchange rates move against them. Recommend

  • Tp
    Apr 17, 2016 - 10:46AM

    Saudis are said to go broke by 2018. They are threatening the world’s largest economy? Has to be a bit of a joke.Recommend

  • Ali Shirazi
    Apr 17, 2016 - 11:03AM

    USA still needs more terrorists from Saudi Arabia. So no problems. Saudi Arabia all clearRecommend

  • Adnan Siddiqui
    Apr 17, 2016 - 11:59AM

    King Salman’s aides indicated that a major portion of the money from the sell-off will be invested in Turkey and Pakistan ! Yea !!! Recommend

  • V. C. Bhutani
    Apr 17, 2016 - 12:52PM

    Saudi Arabians are proving themselves rash in talking like this. USA is not a house of cards which will come down because KSA will pull the carpet from under its feet. For its part, USA should go by the evidence and make a firm declaration whether KSA was or was not responsible for 9/11. In my view, since all the terrorists on that occasion were nationals of KSA, USA should have been bombing KSA instead of Afghanistan which was merely host to Al Qaeda led by OBL, who was himself Saudi Arabian.Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Apr 17, 2016 - 12:58PM

    @Sodomite: They could always park them in a bitcoin account.Recommend

  • The Pakistani
    Apr 17, 2016 - 1:36PM

    @Ali Shirazi:
    Why do shias or Pakistani who are actually irani’s hate saudia. Saudia has been more of a friend to us than iran. Recommend

  • PrakashG
    Apr 17, 2016 - 2:00PM

    One threat of sanctions and they will be rushing to buy another $750 billions of US securities.Recommend

  • Hammad Khan
    Apr 17, 2016 - 2:20PM

    This isn’t as big a deal as it is being trumped up. Saudia needs the money to cover its fiscal deficit so will be selling US treasuries (the vast majority of what it’s foreign assets are denominated in) anyway.

    Whatever happens in the short term here will get adjusted. The US is a 14TN economy and if Saudi wants to dump all their treasuries, the Saudis will also get locked out of the us economy- meaning that they will go back to Bedouin life. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Apr 17, 2016 - 2:22PM

    If Saudi Arabia sells its assets in America …. other Arab countries would the first to buy them (…. through off shore companies if needed ). Recommend

  • NHA
    Apr 17, 2016 - 2:23PM

    This will be a dangerous precedent. It will set an example for other countries to follow and they could also remove immunity from American and NATo countries if they kill innocent citizens in 3red countries.

    US power is waning and this is a sign of declining moral and intellectual stnadrds. Recommend

  • Khatta Dakaar
    Apr 17, 2016 - 2:35PM

    Saudis are showing their teeth wow! Good luck King Salman.Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Apr 17, 2016 - 2:36PM

    @The Pakistani:
    Yep, with friends like that who needs enemies…Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Apr 17, 2016 - 2:42PM

    @Tp:
    Saudis are said to go broke by 2018. They are threatening the world’s largest economy? Has to be a bit of a joke.

    The European Union has the worlds largest economy followed by the Chinese, you sir must be living on another planet?

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • curious2
    Apr 17, 2016 - 3:28PM

    Maybe the question the rich Saudi’s should be asking is how they can operate as Worldwide big shot in oil if the USA cuts them off from their financial system … maybe they can ask Iran how that works? Also – what does one invest in that is safer than USA treasury bonds? Recommend

  • Naan Siddiqui
    Apr 17, 2016 - 3:48PM

    @Adnan Siddiqui:

    Yes the money will be gladly accepted by your Raiwand wali sarkar Recommend

  • zoro
    Apr 17, 2016 - 4:29PM

    Saudi THREATENS USA ????
    Who is in charge here ….Recommend

  • Menon
    Apr 17, 2016 - 5:51PM

    It is good bill which should to be passed.

    99.9999% of Americans would welcome Saudi’s selling their US assets. Saudi’s have invested heavily in chicken and goat farms and these farls have become primary food source for the Saudi.

    When one sells assets, there is another to buy.

    The strategy will hurt Saudi Arabia more than the America, so pass the bill.

    Saudi startegy is aking to “cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face”.Recommend

  • Hameed
    Apr 17, 2016 - 6:27PM

    Drama. This is just so US administration can use this as an excuse to not publish the documents. Both are in cahoots, otherwise Saudi Arabia dare not do anything that US wont allow.

    Also this is an admission of guilt by Saudi Arabia.Recommend

  • Khilari
    Apr 17, 2016 - 6:39PM

    Good, now that the victim and responsible for 9/11 are talking with each other without dragging Afghanistan , Pakistan or any other country in it. But then why Afghanistan was punished?Recommend

  • Gp65
    Apr 17, 2016 - 8:19PM

    @Rex Minor: china has a larger economy thatn US? You are the one on a different planet.

    EU is not one country. The whole issue of Grexit has been temporarily resolved and now it is Brexit that is being considered. The largest EU economy is Germany and it is one fourth the size of US economy. Anyway, US is a $18 trillion economy and a few hundred billion Saudi dollars will affect Saipudi Arabia much more than US.Recommend

  • Karrar
    Apr 17, 2016 - 8:21PM

    @Rollin & Trollin:
    With your stupid logic, anybody who despises the policies of Saudi rulers are enemies of Pakistan? Can you explain what an ordinary Pakistani has to do with the Saudi Monarchs? Recommend

  • Khan
    Apr 17, 2016 - 10:32PM

    KSA is in no position to threaten. It’s time to install Democracy in KSARecommend

  • observer
    Apr 17, 2016 - 10:54PM

    The Truth Bites.

    And it creates fear.Recommend

  • Point
    Apr 18, 2016 - 12:11AM

    In our country we let an American go away freely after Killing innocent Pakistanis on roads in Punjab or innocent school children and innocent women in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Zahid
    Apr 18, 2016 - 3:10AM

    Why Saudi Government responsible ?
    No Saudi Arabia is not responsibleRecommend

  • Bigots Quasher
    Apr 18, 2016 - 7:36AM

    Americans propped them, the Sauds, and Americans need to save the world from this medieval kingdom, which has committed atrocities in the name of Islam and murdered thousands of innocent people. They are inhumane, self-obsessed manipulators. Trust me no one will miss them. Recommend

  • M.S.
    Apr 18, 2016 - 8:44AM

    @Point: American didn’t go away freely. He paid millions as per laws of Qisas and De’et. His freedom was approved by court of law with help of Pakistan government.Recommend

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