International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Obama Faces Decision Regarding Victims of 9/11 and Saudi Arabia

On Friday, September 26th President Obama faces an important decision regarding the families of 9/11 victims. A bill, passed earlier this month by the senate and the house of representatives, would allow the families of victims to sue Saudi Arabia for the attacks. If President Obama does not veto the bill, it will become law by midnight September 26th.

Obama has been hesitant about the legislation, and is expected to Veto the bill. Passing the bill could “the bill would open up the US and its diplomats to legal retaliation around the globe”, and could worsen relations between the US and Saudi Arabia, a strong US ally in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has threatened to sell of US debt holdings worth billions of dollars if the US were to pass the bill. Many efforts were made the past summer by lobbyists for Saudi Arabia to gain support for vetoing the bill.

If President Obama is to veto the bill, Congress could over ride the bill with a two thirds majority vote.


President Obama with Saudi Arabia’s Prime Minister, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud




3 responses to “Obama Faces Decision Regarding Victims of 9/11 and Saudi Arabia

  1. Mckenna WestCoates September 28, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    On September 26th Obama did choose to veto the bill that would allow 9/11 victims’ families to sue Saudi Arabia. Though on September 28, 2016 the Senate chooses to overturn this veto with more than a 2/3rds vote. The next step is for the House of Representatives to OK this override which is expected to occur. As you said this could be detrimental to the United States relations with Saudi Arabia, one of the strongest powers in the Middle East. The only thing Obama and the American people do not is to wait and see what the House decides. If they choose to OK this override than president Obama will have to begin crisis management with the Saudi Arabian leaders. We must also wait to see how many of the surviving victims of 9/11 or their families will actually decide to sue Saudi Arabia. We are simply stuck in a waiting game.

  2. coop4ol September 28, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    I am amazed that this bill was overturned by the senate after Obama had initially denied it. Nothing good could possibly come out of this law being passed. We as a nation have managed to build up our relationship with Saudi Arabia and to see it get broken down would be frustrating. The reason I say it would be frustrating is because America already has so many other conflicts going on in the Middle East with ISIS and the ongoing problem in Syria. I hope that for the safety of the country the House of Representatives chooses to deny this bill from passing. If they chose to except the bill, the country will be put at an even greater risk with terrorism due to the lose of a very important ally in the middle east. I understand that 9/11 was one of the most horrific attacks on the nation, but in order to honor the lives that were lost on that day it is not smart to lose our allegiance with another ally from the middle east.

  3. laurherv September 28, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    While I am surprised by the decision of the Senate to override the Presidential veto for the 9/11 bill, I am not completely amazed it happened. With 9/11 being such a high magnitude event that changed America forever, I am not surprised that our government representatives would vote in favor of people’s rights to sue for damages. However, the aim of this bill is highly off target. Al Queda does not represent Saudi Arabia, just as ISIS now doesn’t represent Syria, and all Middle Eastern people are not terrorists. Therefore, allowing American citizens to sue Saudi Arabia and the Middle East for damages, is in no way getting justice or restitution for the acts committed by Al Queda. Al Queda is a separate organization, with its own beliefs, and just as not everyone in the U.S. was a member of the KKK, not every person in Saudi Arabia is a member of Al Queda. If anything, the passage of this bill will further destroy the efforts towards peace and cooperation between the U.S. and the Middle East. While the devastating events of 15 years ago continue to affect our daily lives, peace must trump justice when it comes to maintaining and further developing positive relationships with the Middle East.

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