Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill

Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill, by Mark Mazzetti.

Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers 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.

That’s interesting: the Saudis think they might be treated as miscreants. $750 billion of treasury securities isn’t so scary any more, when we now do rough accounting in trillions of dollars. It’s not so much of a threat to the US — it will raise some interest rates, for a while. Meanwhile the Saudis will have to find somewhere else to park that money, which by definition they won’t like as much. Bring it on! (On the other hand, if the Saudis were to sell their oil in currencies other than the US dollar then they might significantly damage US interests.)

Several outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom’s economy.

9/11 was committed by Saudi citizens: might there have been some Saudi government or Wahhabi role?

Saudi officials have long denied that the kingdom had any role in the Sept. 11 plot, and the 9/11 Commission found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.”

But critics have noted that the commission’s narrow wording left open the possibility that less senior officials or parts of the Saudi government could have played a role. Suspicions have lingered, partly because of the conclusions of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks that cited some evidence that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot.

Those conclusions, contained in 28 [redacted] pages of the report, still have not been released publicly.

The Obama administration is on the Saudi side:

The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage … The Senate bill the Saudis are make threats over would open “a path for the role of the Saudi government to be examined in the Sept. 11 lawsuits.”

UPDATE: Screw The House of Saud.