President Obama is in Saudi Arabia, as the White House has found itself enmeshed in a thorny question— did the Saudi government have any responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks? Now it appears that Saudi Arabia is blackmailing the US, saying it will sell off American assets worth a 12-digit figure sum in dollars if Congress passes a bill allowing the Saudi government to be held responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
It was the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a local governor who met the American leader off the plane.
President Obama came to Saudi Arabia to take part in a summit of Persian Gulf leaders and discuss Islamic State, Al Qaeda and Yemen with King Salman.
This comes in stark contrast to the reception of other high-profile guests, whom the 80-year-old King Salman greeted personally on the airfield.
Obama did have a two-and-a-half hour conversation with King Salman later, a talk that reportedly “really cleared the air,” the US administration officials assured the American media.
Barack Obama’s visit has been downplayed by the Middle Eastern newspapers, too, generally saying that as a “lame duck” Obama hardly has time to mend strained relations, the BBC reports.
The usually extremely close relations between Washington and Riyadh have been fraying recently over a number of issues Saudi Arabia regards as matters of life and death.
The families of victims of 9/11 terror acts in the US are once again trying to have the classified pages of the Congressional report released to the public as part of a lawsuit against the Saudi Arabian government. The documents may also contain details on a support network for the hijackers that featured the involvement of the Saudis, suspected of providing material support to Al-Qaeda ahead of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
— RT America (@RT_America) April 18, 2016
The Obama administration has argued that stripping sovereign immunity from nations over terror attacks on the US would endanger Americans and spark similar legislation against the US.
In response to a threat to be held responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Saudi Arabia made it clear it would sell off up to $750 billion in US treasury securities and other assets if Congress passes the bill, thus putting Riyadh in jeopardy.
— RT America (@RT_America) April 16, 2016
The US senators were quick to react, immediately proposing a restriction on sales or transfers of US-made air-to-ground weapons to Saudi Arabia.
The countries have been close allies for decades, no matter how complicated relations between the two capitals are now. Washington and Riyadh have common global strategic interests and depend on each other.
On Tuesday, the world’s leading oil producers failed to reach an agreement on capping production, only because Saudi Arabia changed its position last minute. This move is believed to be made in Washington’s favor, interested to keep oil prices low to apply pressure on certain countries with national budgets dependent on oil revenues, such as Iran, Russia and Venezuela.
— RT (@RT_com) April 19, 2016
There’s also an unprecedented $95 billion price tag sale of American weapons to Riyadh under Obama.