Dubai: Bahrain warned on Thursday that the United States would be the loser from Congress’s vote to override President Barack Obama’s veto of a bill allowing 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia.
“The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act is an arrow launched by the US Congress at its own country,” Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said on Twitter.
“Are there no rational people among you?” he asked.
Bahrain is a staunch Western ally and is home to the US Fifth Fleet. But it is an even stauncher ally of neighbouring Saudi Arabia whose policies it closely follows.
Despite furious lobbying by both Riyadh and the Obama administration, Congress voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to override the president’s veto.
Families of 9/11 victims had campaigned vigorously for the law, convinced the Saudi government had a hand in the September 11, 2001 attacks that killed almost 3,000 people in the United States. Fifteen of the 19 attackers were Saudis.
Documents declassified in July showed US intelligence had multiple suspicions about links between the Saudi government and the attackers, but no link has definitively been proven.
The release of the documents further damaged relations between Washington and Riyadh, which had already been strained by Obama’s engagement with Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran.