02.02.2017 Author: Jean Perier

Do the Banned Muslim States Present a Threat to the US Security?


The 45th US President had repeatedly claimed during his election campaign that once he’s elected, he would basically do everything to destroy ISIS (the Islamic State) and expand the global fight against terrorism. In fact, these promises have become one of the pillars of his campaign that, in the final run, allowed him to achieve victory.

On January 27, while fulfilling his promise to protect the country from “foreign terrorists”, President Trump, signed an execute order in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 USC 1101 et seq., and section 301 of title 3, United States Code. The execute order bears the title “Protecting the Nation from foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” According to this document, citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen would be banned from entering the US for a total of 90. It is expected that new, more rigid immigration policies will be developed within this period.

When this order came into effect, it caused chaos in a number of US airports, while provoking a wave of protests, followed by an avalanche of lawsuits and criticism against Trump. What’s even more curious, is that the citizens of such European countries as Britain, Germany and France were just as outraged as were Middle Eastern citizens.

However, what is confounding, is that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a group of 57 nations that considers itself the collective voice of the Muslim World, remained silent about this ban. It’s been noted that Cairo and Riyadh in particular, which lie at the heart of the Muslim World, met President Trump’s decision to bar millions of refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from the United States with silence. The New York Times would like us to believe there’s a serious split among Muslims, since a number of regional players remain dependent on Washington and its support. In turn, the Washington Post draws attention to the fact that ISIS is also strangely silent amid this situation, even though this terrorist group amassed impressive propaganda capabilities in a number of Western social networks, and could easily present a challenge to Trump with its media reach.

However, one can’t help but ask questions about the motivation behind this latest executive order. The American Conservative seems to be on point, by demanding to know how many Iranian terrorists have staged attacks in the United States. How many Sudanese. Or Iraqis or Syrians. Or Yemenis. Or Libyans. Those are, of course, trick questions since the answer is none.

For sure, Pakistanis have committed attacks in the US, just like Central Asian and Somali citizens, a couple of Egyptians and lots and lots of Saudi Arabians. Somalia is on the list of countries now completely blocked for travel to the US, but citizens of the other countries listed have never staged a terrorist attack and are being restricted anyway. As for Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where Americans are perceived extremely negatively and where most terrorists have actually come from, are not on the list.

There’s a growing suspicions that Donald Trump’s decision was provoked by a conflict of interest, notes La Vanguardia, since none of the seven countries listed in the order have launched a single terrorist act against US citizens. At the same time, the omission of Saudi Arabia looks suspicious at best, especially in a situation where the absolutely majority of terrorists that hijack airliners on 9/11 came from this country. Similar questions can be asked about the absence of Turkey and Egypt in this latest ban, which have been consistently suffering terrorist attacks for the last two years. It’s really not that hard to come up with a list of countries that will present a greater threat than the ones listed in the executive order.

In this regard, the statement made by White House Spokesman Sean Spicer, in which he claimed that the list was drafted by the Obama administration, long before Trump was inaugurated, does not look too convincing. In fact, so unconvincing was this statement that Trump’s Middle Eastern adviser Walid Phares had to announce that this order doesn’t constitute discrimination against Muslims and is not directed against them.

The political forces that oppose Donald Trump within the United States are actively seeking ways to use the “immigration ban” to bring down the newly inaugurated president, and they have already been supported by a total of 900 employees of the State Department who remain highly critical of the order. It should be noted that this latest step of the Trump administration was supported by a total of 49% of Americans and opposed by 41%, according to results of a survey conducted by Ipsos and Reuters.

Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”    

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