Friday, 12 January, 2018

New Trump travel ban targets Iranians, but Saudis not included again


By Vahid Jafarian, Editorial Board Member

US President Donald Trump has issued new restrictions on people trying to enter the United States from eight nations, including Iran, to replace his expiring travel ban.

Trump signed a proclamation on September 24 implementing a range of restrictions that will apply to citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. Limitations on citizens of Sudan were lifted while Iraqi citizens face enhanced scrutiny or vetting but will not be subject to travel prohibitions.

The will go into effect on October 18, eight days after the court is due to hear oral arguments over the legality of Trump’s previous ban.

The current ban, which sparked international outrage and legal challenges when enacted in March, was set to expire on September 24.

“Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet,” Trump said a tweet.

Despite presenting such moves as a national security measure intended to prevent terror, the nations from which 9/11 plotters originated (primarily Saudi Arabia) were left off the new ban.

It’s strange that Iran — as a country where Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other anti-American terrorist organizations have no significant foothold, is included again — but Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 9/11 hijackers came from and which has been a funding source for extremist groups, is not included.

The record shows that Saudi Arabia has had a very active hand in the terror attacks around the world while Iran not only had none, but went out of its way to express sympathy.

After 9/11, it was not just the Iranian leadership but ordinary citizens who held candlelight vigils to mourn the loss of innocent life in the United States.

At the same time, while Saudi Arabia has long been implicated as a major architect of the attacks, Riyadh’s state owned media is instead trying to shift blame to Iran which no credible source has ever accused of having anything to do with 9/11.

In reality, the Saud family are enemies of the American people, but to both Democratic and Republican Administrations, the Saud family, the Saudi government, are America’s ‘allies’. Consequently, Donald Trump, like his predecessor, Obama, blames Iran, not Saudi Arabia for Islamic terrorism.

One other point should also be considered. Trump, whose administration will include multiple critics of the Islamic Republic, has been doing business with Saudi royals for decades. Trump created eight new companies in Saudi Arabia after the launch of his presidential campaign last year, according to the Washington Post.

“In Trump, Saudi officials say, the kingdom sees the makings of a great future friend. The real estate investor’s business dealings in Saudi Arabia and his plans to take a tougher line on Iran hearten Saudis officials, who say that the White House has long downplayed the threat of Iranian aggression”, Joseph Hammond, a journalist with the American Media Institute said.

Finally, the most compelling reason why Saudi Arabia is not on the list is clear: Saudi Arabia is not, and has never been, considered by the State Department to be a state sponsor of terrorism, unlike Iran. This is while reality shows something else.

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