A US bill allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for damages has prompted an Iraqi lobby group to push the parliament for a law seeking compensation for the American invasion of the country, citing “violations by US forces.”
Following Washington’s example, the Arab Project in Iraq lobby group is now seeking to “ask for compensation from the United States over violations by the US forces following the US invasion that saw the toppling of late President Saddam Hussein in 2003,” Al-Arabiya reported Saturday.
The group – the first to take advantage of the precedent set by the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) – has asked the Iraqi parliament to prepare the lawsuit.
JASTA was passed by US Congress last week. It creates an exception to the sovereign immunity law introduced in 1976, allowing Americans to sue foreign countries for acts of terrorism that kill Americans on US soil.
The passage of JASTA took place after a 97-1 vote by the Senate to override a veto by President Barack Obama. The House vote was 348-77.
The White House was against approving the act, stating that such lawsuits would open the door to legal challenges against US officials in other countries.
Following passage of the legislation, a Saudi Foreign Ministry source rejected the act, claiming it weakens the sovereign immunity of the nation. Russia also slammed the legislation as undermining international law.
Although 15 of the 19 men who hijacked commercial airliners and used them to crash into the World Trade Center were from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf kingdom has denied backing the terrorists. The 9/11 Commission also found no evidence that Riyadh or senior Saudi officials were involved in the attacks.
JASTA allows a lawsuit against any country by any US citizen who claims a nation financed or otherwise aided and abetted a terrorist attack on US soil. However, the plaintiff would be required to show the country acted with knowledge in providing the support.