How they see us: Trapped by Trump’s travel ban
President Trump has managed to turn “friends, allies, and strangers into enemies overnight,” said The Daily Star (Lebanon) in an editorial. His executive order banning citizens of the Muslim-majority countries of Iran, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days has upended thousands of lives. Two gay refugees from Syria, who underwent two years of background checks and interviews by U.S. officials, were about to find safety in America: Now they are stuck in limbo in Turkey, fearing for their lives. A 12-year-old Yemeni girl about to be reunited with her family in the U.S. was turned back and is now stranded with her father—an American citizen—in Djibouti, a country where they know no one. Those are just a few of the roughly 90,000 people affected by the ban, almost certainly none of them terrorists, but most of them Muslims. U.S. respect for human rights has been revealed as a farce. “With one stroke of his pen, Trump has caused the Muslim world to lose faith in American values.”
This vicious act was aimed at Iran, said Faramarz Asghari in Siyasat-e Ruz (Iran). Look at the list of countries: Syria, Yemen, and Iraq are places where Iran is ascendant, where the U.S. “has tried to dominate and failed.” Libya, Sudan, and Somalia were added because the U.S. wants to “increase its military presence” in those African nations. And Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, two countries that actually have exported terrorists to the U.S., have been exempted, because the U.S. knows it can “use them as tools” to carry out its policy.
Finally, a president who recognizes that Iran is “part of the problem,” said Abdulrahman Al-Rashed in Asharq Al-Awsat (U.K.). The Obama administration insisted that Iran was “part of the solution.” Trump, by contrast, intends to “stop the chaos” that Tehran has been spreading, and join Saudi Arabia in fighting terrorists. Trump’s domestic policies are none of our concern as long as he helps Arabs in the Middle East. Already, he has promised to set up a “safe zone for Syrian refugees” inside Syria—something Obama refused to do.
Iraq has been humiliated by the ban, said Ali Hussein in Al Mada (Iraq). Iraqi translators who risked their lives to help U.S. forces fight against Saddam Hussein, al Qaida, and ISIS are rewarded with scornful dismissal—our entire populace branded as terrorists. Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said the U.S. should remove its citizens from those countries first, while the Iraqi Parliament has asked the government to slap a retaliatory visa ban on Americans. Yes, that’ll show them! Hollywood’s “Emma Stone will no longer be allowed to take her vacations in Habbaniyah,” and Bill Gates will be denied that big Microsoft partnership he was about to offer us. “Why not reject the thousands of asylum claims Americans are making here, while we’re at it?” Iraq simply has no leverage over the U.S. We’ve been used and discarded.