President Trump is expected to sign an executive order restricting or entirely suspending visas for people from seven nations in the greater Mideast, among them Iraq. If Trump moves forward with the order, Baghdad is reportedly considering retaliating with a similar suspension of visas for Americans.
"There is mutual treatment between Iraq and the U.S. in terms of diplomatic relations and visa issuance," said Renas Jano, an Iraqi lawmaker from the Kurdistan Democratic Party and a member of the foreign relations committee. "It is very likely that Iraq might suspend issuing visas to U.S. citizens following the U.S. president's decision to suspend visas to Iraqi citizens."
Such a move could have serious consequences for the United States' 14-year military intervention in Iraq, which in theory — if not in practice — would be hobbled by a U.S. visa ban by Baghdad. "If Iraq responds the same way to Trump's decision by suspending visas to U.S. citizens, we will lose a lot," Jano said, "as there is a big American force here helping us in our war against [the Islamic State]. In addition, there are many U.S. diplomats and business people here." Representatives of the Iraqi government are planning a visit to Washington to discuss the matter, Jano added.