US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter has issued a warning that legislation allowing families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia could be ‘devastating’ for the US military.
The Pentagon chief wrote a letter to a senior member of Congress warning about the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, known as JASTA. He wrote saying, ‘While we are sympathetic to the intent of JASTA, its potential second- and third-order consequences could be devastating to the Department and its Service members and could undermine our important counter-terrorism efforts abroad.’
The warning came as the Senate prepared to vote to override President Barack Obama’s veto of the measure, allowing the bill to become law. Obama vetoed the controversial legislation last Friday. It takes two-thirds majorities in both the Senate and House to override a veto.
In his veto message, Obama said JASTA would be ‘detrimental’ to America”s national security interests and its key alliances. The bill passed the Senate and House without opposition, since most Americans are convinced that the Saudi government played a role in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Of the 19 hijackers that allegedly carried out the attacks, 15 were Saudi nationals and evidence suggests some of them were linked to high-ranking Saudi officials.
In fact, 2,996 people were killed and 6,000 were wounded in the September 11 attacks, which were then used to promote a war to destroy Iraq, which had nothing at all to do with the planes flown into the Twin Towers.
The reason why JASTA poses such a threat to the interests of the US ruling class is that today, as then, the Saudi ruling class are the US’s strategic allies in the Middle East, and are playing a key role in the savage war to overthrow the Assad government in Syria.
Mirroring the position of Obama, the British government refuses to even concede that the Saudi regime is killing men, women and children by the thousands in the Yemen, and that they are doing the killing with weapons supplied by the UK, sold for billions of pounds profit; further, that British officials have been seconded to the Saudis, to give their professional guidance concerning the slaughter.
Clearly, the strategic considerations of the imperialist powers override all other considerations as far as the US and UK ruling classes are concerned. However, this is not just about the Yemen. The reason that the US is finding it so difficult to separate the Al-Nusra Front from the rest of the Syrian opposition is that the US is arming the Front via the Saudi regime to fight the Syrian people, its army and President Assad.
The Saudis are in fact financing the war and arming the Front for the US with US weapons. It was founded as a section of Al-Qaeda, the movement set up by Osama bin Laden that bombed the Twin Towers!
‘Yes, the US supports the opposition. They support the countries that support us. But we are not yet satisfied with this support,’ Jabhat al-Nusra unit commander Abu Al Ezz said in an interview with Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper from the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Al Ezz said that Jabhat Al-Nusra ‘won battles thanks to TOW rockets. Due to these rockets, we reached a balance with the regime. Our tanks came from Libya via Turkey, joined by the (BM-21) multiple rocket launchers,’ he said, and continued: ‘We have the American-made TOW missiles, and the situation in some areas is under control.’
Another witness is the opposition leader of the Syrian Popular Front for Change and Liberation, Qadri Jamil. According to Jamil, ‘The Riyadh-based opposition group has been slowly transforming into Jabhat al-Nusra’s political wing. If they do so, then it will be difficult to talk to them at the negotiation table.’ Jamil added, ‘Al-Nusra has changed its name but its essence hasn’t changed.’
The US and the UK are actually assisting the Al Nusra Front to bomb its way into some ‘transitional’ Syrian government. Workers in the West must continue to give their full support to the Syrian people, their army and their president. The US and UK imperialists must be made to leave Syria and take their ‘terrorists’ with them!