Trump’s travel ban finds wide support in the Middle East

by WorldTribune Staff, February 5, 2017

Middle East countries, which deal with the threat of terrorism on a 24/7 basis, are widely backing U.S. President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations.

Mideast governments who are dealing with the consequences of former President Barack Obama’s “fecklessness … want the United States to be strong and assertive,” Asia Times reported on Jan. 3.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to Saudi King Salman from the Oval Office. /Reuters

“They are engaged in an existential war against jihadist elements who threaten to reduce them to chaos, and look to the United States to show determination. That is why Trump is suddenly so popular in the Middle East.”

Dubai’s deputy chief of police and public security, Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, posted to his official Twitter account: “Kudos to President Trump for his brave decisions… they (these people) can only be dealt with through preventive measures.”

“Trump banned the citizens of countries in the embrace of Iran and prevented the Iranians from entering… sound decision,” he added in another tweet…. “It is not necessary for America to host backward people, it has received enough before,” he said in one tweet. “What would a Yemini, Iraqi, Iranian, Somali or a Syrian do in America? They have destroyed their countries, they should not destroy America.”

Analysts noted that Saudi Arabia and Egypt were not included in Trump’s order since they are crucial U.S. allies and not “failed states.”

The ban is not about “countries where we have close partnerships with their counter-terrorism forces and where there is a well-developed structure of intelligence cooperation,” said Anthony Cordesman, from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Trump has also won the admiration of many of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supporters, who held the Obama administration in contempt. Writing in Al-Monitor, Hurriyet Daily News columnist Mustafa Aykolreports that Trump is the hero of the pro-government press, despite (or perhaps because of) the immigration halt.

“The ultimate authority (Erdogan), has so far said nothing” about Trump’s order, Aykol said. “Moreover, his propaganda machine, consisting of at least 10 national newspapers, several TV channels and thousands of social media trolls, has also been unusually silent about the issue. Daily Sabah, the flagship of the pro-government empire, has been absolutely silent on the ban. Daily Star, another key newspaper, published only a small and neutral report. Daily Aksam did run a headline on the ban, but only with a subtitle: ‘He [Trump] must be given a chance.’ ”

Daily Sabah columnist Hilal Kaplan wrote in a Turkish-language commentary that “the American president who is responsible for destabilizing the seven banned Muslim nations was none other than former President Barack Obama. It was of course bad that American Muslims were in trouble, but what really mattered were ‘Muslims in our region.’ ”

Kaplan noted that Obama helped overthrow Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and backed Syrian jihadists against the Bashar Assad government with just enough firepower to keep the civil war going without a hope of finishing it.