As reported on Saturday, a September 11 widow was the first American to take advantage of the recently passed Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism (JASTA), aka the "Sept.11" bill courtesy of Congress which for the first time in Obama's tenure overrode his veto, by suing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Stephanie Ross DeSimone alleged the kingdom provided material support to al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden leading to the death of her husband, Navy Commander Patrick Dunn, who was killed at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2009, when Stephanie was two months pregnant at the time with the couple's daughter. Her suit is also filed on behalf of the couple's daughter. She sued for wrongful death and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
As we said last week, we expect many more such lawsuits to be filed in the coming days now that the "seal has been broken", forcing the Kingdom to defend itself in a court of law, perhaps leading to ever growing displeasure by Riyadh with the US administration, and potentially leading to punitive measures such as selling of US-denominated securities.
However, in an unexpected twist, over the weekend following the passage of JASTA, it was citizens of Iraq who asked their parliament to demand compensation for the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. As Al-Arabiya news channel reported on Saturday, an Iraqi group has requested parliament to prepare a lawsuit seeking compensation from the US for the invasion of Iraq. The "Arab Project in Iraq" lobby group "sees their opportunity to ask for compensation from the United States over violations by the US forces following the US invasion that saw the toppling of late President Saddam Hussein in 2003."
Even before Obama's veto had been overriden, the group had warned that "In light of the majority vote by the US Congress and Senate in support of the 9/11 bill removing the sovereign immunity rights of Saudi Arabia and other countries accused of being implicated in terrorism—and in spite of President Obama's veto on September 23rd 2016—we hereby declare that if this bill is actually passed and becomes a law, then it constitutes a window of opportunity for millions of Iraqis who have lost their sons and daughters in military operations by US military forces and US contracted forces since the US invasion in 2003 to pursue compensation from the US government for what they have endured," a letter published by the Iraqi National Project warned, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The group urged for a full-fledged investigation over the killing of civilians targets, loss of properties and individuals who suffered torture and other mistreatment on the hand of US forces.
While hardly intended to have this effect - where the US itself is sued for alleged terrorist acticity - the Iraqi group is the first foreign entity to take advantage of the precedent set by JASTA in overturning the principle of sovereign immunity. By passing JASTA and allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia, the Senate has also made the US vulnerable to legal action seeking compensation for its foreign policy activities across the world. The day after the Senate vote, former Republican Senator Larry Pressler expressed fear that as a veteran of the Vietnam War, he could now face legal action.