Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has censured a Saudi threat to sell off Riyadh’s American assets in the event of the passage of a 9/11 bill at Congress that could implicate Saudi officials in the 2001 attacks on America.
Sanders on Sunday told the ABC news
channel’s “This Week” show that the United States
needed to take a tougher stance against Saudi Arabia and its support for the radical ideology that drives terror groups such as the Daesh (ISIL) and al-Qaeda.
“We are not taking a hard enough look at Saudi Arabia,” said the Vermont senator, adding that parts of the Saudi ruling family have funded the “extremely right-wing fundamentalist ideology” of Wahhabism
in schools around the world.
“Saudi Arabia is playing a very dangerous role in fomenting fundamentalism all over the world,” Sanders warned.
Asked about reports that Saudi Arabia might sell its American assets if Congress approves the 9/11 bill to allow US families of the September 11 attacks to sue the Saudi government, Sanders said the United States
“can’t be blackmailed.”
A New York Times report on Saturday said Saudi Arabia has threatened to sell off some $750 billion of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi ruling family to be held responsible in US courts for any role in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The Times said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir made the threat during a visit to Washington last month, informing the US administration and members of Congress of the potential sale of treasury securities and other American assets.
Sanders on Israel
The Democratic presidential hopeful also criticized the US foreign policy
on Israel and Palestinians, noting that America “cannot ignore the suffering of the Palestinian people” in its support of Israel.
He cited civilian deaths and “mass destruction” from Israel’s 2014 war on the Gaza Strip, saying, “You can’t just always nod your head to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.”
Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The crippling siege has caused a decline in the standard of living there as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
The Israeli regime denies about 1.8 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.
In early July 2014, Israel waged a war on the Gaza Strip. The 50-day military aggression, which ended on August 26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children. Over 11,100 others – including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people – were also wounded in the war.