JASTA bill … is this a new kind of blackmailing or what?

 03 Oct 2016 - 22:30

By Dr. Khalid Al-Shafi / Editor-in-Chief

It is not surprising to see the Senate and Congress voting to obstruct President Obama’s Veto against the so called Bill of Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act- JASTA. 

The timing of the bill raises questions: why is it being passed now after 15 years?; whether or not it is a kind of blackmailing- seeking more concessions?; and would it be a dangerous precedent for international law and international relations if implemented? 

The analysis and reactions of elites and decision makers in the USA about the consequences of its implementation include an official statement John Brennan, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) said, “The bill will have serious consequences on the US national security and will place our own nation’s officials in danger while carrying their duties abroad”.

He added that the Principle of Sovereign Immunity protects U.S. officials every day, and is rooted in reciprocity. No country has more to lose from undermining that principle than the United States. The bill will allow family members of 9/11 victims to sue countries allegedly backing the attackers and this means damage to US ties with many countries. 

Unfortunately the JASTA bill seems to be an open blackmail or threat to Muslim countries, being supported by all officials in the US. An official from the Democratic Party pointed out that President Obama did not pressurise the members of Congress to not override his Veto. 

I mentioned, in an earlier article, the GCC leaders’ meeting with Obama at Camp David following the Nuclear deal with Iran and how he tried to reassure them. In that article I said that GCC states should speed up their integration process to face the upcoming new developments in the region without depending on the US support. Obama himself has openly said in his doctrine that the time for the GCC states’ dependency on the US has passed and that these countries should depend on themselves and start internal reformations. 

It is a questionable whether this stance has to do with the US presidential election or if there is real change in the US strategic priorities. However, whatever changes have happened, we are not weak to the extent that we can be played with. GCC states are required to be aware of what is going on and take serious measure to deal with the situation. Countries of this region have potentials and privileges not available in other places, making them a group difficult to override. 

Are we ready to reconsider our policies and relations in a way that responds to our strategic interests.

The whole issue is mainly and finally in the hands of the GCC leaders, and I have no doubt that they know every detail and how to challenge them. Regarding the people- they are of the same view as their leadership and they will never accept any insult or blackmailing, and they will welcome any decision their leaders will take.