A proposed 9/11 bill in the US Congress will allow victims of 9/11 to sue the Saudis, but has also put the relationship between the two countries in jeopardy. Though the bill might sound good to the American public, it is actually throwing more fuel on the fire that is the Middle East.

The US, under the Obama administration, has substantially increased its efforts to illegally assassinate high value targets throughout the world, notably in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Assassination outside of an immediate theatre of war, especially when civilians are killed as “collateral damage”, is illegal. If the US authorises 9/11 victims to sue other governments for their role in terrorism, then the US will be vulnerable to similar legal actions. While the US is the current global hegemon, no one is really going to use its own laws as precedent against it, but imagine if a country dared to do so? The case can be made.

It is no wonder then that the Obama administration clamouring to amend the bill. The bill will diminish the gains the current administration thinks it has made with regards to ISIS and Syria, in complicity with Saudi Arabia. If the US lets the bill pass, it has to be really confident of Iran’s support, because without Saudi Arabia, the US has another hostile state in the Middle East and it loses a partner in Syria.

The bravado of the Congress is reminiscent of the time that members were lobbying against the Iran Deal. Most of these were Republicans, with some backing from Democrats. This current bill has the same political makeup — the representatives are swinging to the right over all in their views on foreign policy, and this witch-hunt is a symptom of this.

As of Saudi Arabia, the country is not totally innocent in its role in global terrorism since 2001, though the issue is not one that has been allowed open debate, considering it is the guardian of holy sites (and a very rich country). Remember some of the attackers involved in 9/11 belonged to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan etc. While most Arab states have felt the burn after 9/11, whether through terrorism, revolutions, or war, Saudi Arabia has gotten off easy until now. With falling oil prices, and US reliance of Arab oil diminishing, the Saudi threat to dump US treasuries is an idle threat. This kind of retaliation would hurt the Saudis as much as it would the US considering the relative size of the economies. While US policy is grossly misplaced, the Saudis also need to finally get off their high horse and make a real commitment to ending terrorism if they are to avoid such international embarrassments.