The US-KSA alliance seems to be under an increasing strain as Saudi Arabia has warned the Obama administration that it will sell off American assets worth $750 billion if the US Congress passes a bill declaring the Saudi government responsible for the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.

With flagrant threats and hostile interpretations, one can only wonder what Saudi Arabia wants to hide and what the US hopes to achieve from making another Middle Eastern enemy.

The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.

However, $750 billion is peanuts when one thinks about the US economy. The threat, even if it is carried out, is a veiled one. The real problem is not money but the fact that US interests in the Middle East cannot be ensured without the Kingdom. Which is why, even though the Congress is pushing the bill, the Obama administration is trying to contain the situation and discourage the legislation.

This is the same as when the administration was pushing for the Iran deal and the Congress was leaning the other way for more sanctions on the state. The Congress represents existing public ire. Remember that when the US released the list of 11 attackers involved in 9-11, they belonged to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan etc., which are US allies (none was from Iraq and Afghanistan). There has been a series of missteps since 9/11 according to US public opinion and since Congressmen would rather have votes than stable foreign policy, these bills come and go, making the President scramble.

With the senate bill, intended to make clear that the immunity given to foreign nations under the law should not apply in cases where nations are found culpable for terrorist attacks that kill Americans on United States soil, the Saudi government has to pull out all ammunition to make sure nothing gets traced back to them. The passage of the bill spells trouble for both the US and KSA. However the tenets of real politik suggest that the bill shouldn’t be passed, and that covertly and diplomatically, the situation should be diffused.

However US politics is not known to be pragmatic. Their messiah complex, a population that seems increasingly becoming conservative, and hurt ego from 9/11 and ISIS will make a further mess of things in the Middle East.