January 30, 2017


Trump's Immigration Order Jolts Iraqis, U.S.'s Top Allies Against ISIS (MICHAEL R. GORDON and ERIC SCHMITT, JAN. 29, 2017, NY Times)

President Trump's executive order on immigration is straining relations with the partner the United States needs most to reclaim the Islamic State's stronghold in Mosul: the Iraqis.

Iraqi officials were taken aback by the directive, which they learned about through the American news media because they had not been consulted first.

The order blocks citizens from Iraq and six other predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days. That lumps Iraq together with Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, nations with no strategic alliance with Washington.

"The effect is that many Iraqis will feel that the United States does not want a long-term relationship with Iraq," said Lukman Faily, who completed a three-year stint as Iraq's ambassador to Washington in June. "We hope it is a blip. It makes it difficult for us to decipher what President Trump is up to with regard to Iraq."

Mr. Faily has been directly affected by the order. Though he holds dual British and Iraqi citizenship, he said information he had received from the American Embassy in Baghdad indicated that he would not be allowed to travel to the United States in the coming weeks to participate in a long-planned conference, he said in a telephone interview from Iraq.

Jihadist groups hail Trump's travel ban as a victory (Joby Warrick, January 29, 2017, Washington Post)

Several postings suggested that Trump was fulfilling the predictions of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American born al-Qaeda leader and preacher who famously said that the "West would eventually turn against its Muslim citizens." Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

"When U.S. President Donald Trump says 'We don't want them here' and bans the Muslim immigrants from Muslim countries, there is one thing that comes to our mind," said another posting, beneath a banner of al-Awlaki and his quote.

Another posting on the Telegram channel "Abu Magrebi" said Trump's actions "clearly revealed the truth and harsh reality behind the American government's hatred toward Muslims."

Posted by at January 30, 2017 6:05 AM