There are three questions that every lawmaker in Washington, D.C. must address with regards to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) before the bill is signed into law. The first question is: Will this bill help enhance the security of the United States? Second, will it benefit it's still-turbulent economy? And lastly, will this bill have any net positive effect on America’s relations with its allies, particularly those who have been vital in the battle against terrorism?

The only answer to all of the above questions is not only a resounding “No”, but that enacting this bill into law will inevitably result in a dire weakening of Washington’s influence in all three of these aspects.


With respect to security, many observers believe that this bill will foster a political environment that will paint an unflattering and grossly inaccurate image of the United States as an enemy of Islam and all of its practitioners.

This will play right into the handbook of extremist groups, who will not miss the slightest chance of employing this incendiary narrative for their recruitment efforts, as they are in a perpetually constant and desperate need to create any justification for the demonization of America.

Regarding the economy, it should be fairly obvious that America has far too much to lose economically if this bill came to pass. In fact, this bill will invariably cause foreign investments to retreat to less politically-inflamed economies, in addition to the gradual loss of private investment as well.

The United States will succumb to a much less attractive investment climate, depriving it of the sort of investments that are crucial not only to job creation, but to the continuing revival of the U.S. economy.

More importantly, this bill will cause a deep, irreparable fracture to the very concept of a free market upon which capitalism is built upon, especially with regard to freedom of trade and the right to own property.

Every foreign investor should know that this bill will pose a direct threat to any investment that they may have made in the United States, as they would in effect be taking the significant financial risk of having their assets frozen.

They should also know that after the implementation of this bill, the U.S. would have the right to freeze their assets simply due to a lawsuit leveled against their country, not to them. In principle, this bill could have profound consequences on the very foundations of the philosophy behind a modern economy.

There is also an issue raised by Josh Earnest, spokesman for the White House, who mentioned that this bill will expose America to a multitude of litigations from around the world, posing risk to the interests of both the United States and its international trade partners.

The lawmakers should know JASTA could significantly impede economic growth by stifling a healthy investment environment, where both American and foreign investors would have otherwise shaken hands without any fears of having their assets frozen over litigation that they have nothing to do with in the first place.

As for the effects the bill would have on relations with America’s allies, it is clear that any strategic relationship the U.S. has with its closest allies will take a turn for a much rockier road fraught with tension mistrust.

Let us take Saudi Arabia as an example, since it has been frequently referred to in any instance of media coverage of the JASTA bill. Despite the negative publicity that Saudi has gained ever since the bill has been introduced, CIA President John Brennan said that Saudi Arabia is one of the closest American allies in the fight against terrorism.

Additionally, the American political fabric knows that Saudi Arabia is completely innocent and has been vindicated from the events of 9/11, with both the 9/11 congressional report and the recently declassified 28 pages clearly showing a complete lack of any evidence that would implicate it, and that any evidence against the Kingdom is presumptive, hypothetical and indeterminate.

The events of 9/11 were without question one of the worst terrorist attacks in recent human history, and the families and victims of these events deserve to have closure.

However, to try and score personal political points by taking advantage of their tragedy with this bill is a gross and unbecoming misuse of congressional authority, especially when it is largely centered against an ally that helped — with the testimony of the highest-ranking U.S. officials — foil further terrorist attacks against the people of the United States.

Salman Al-Ansari  is the Founder & President of the Washington DC-based Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC)

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