Trump bans 7 Muslim countries from entering the United States
The announcement that Donald Trump has placed temporary bans on citizens of seven Muslim countries coming to the United States is a controversial policy which may have a serious impact on the relations with the Islamic world.
The policy falls short of his announcement during the election campaign of a ‘total and complete’ shutdown against Muslims entering the United States but does prevent Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Yemeni, Libyan, Somalia and Sudanese nationals from entering. The policy did not include the countries that have been traditional allies of the United States such Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Pakistan.
The move suggests that Trump plans to pursue a traditional US policy in the Middle East avoiding left wing criticism of the Saudi regime and singling out a number of Middle Eastern states for ‘good’ treatment.
Reports that the US leader spoke to the Egyptian President suggest that the unpopular Cairo administration will soon enjoy greater political and economic support from Washington. Egypt is crucial to the security of Israel and it seems likely that the Muslim Brotherhood will become a target for a Trump and Al Sissi crackdown and cooperation on terrorism. It also seems likely the Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. will become Trump’s satellite states in the region.
Trump, who tweeted that a "big day" was planned on national security on Wednesday, is expected to ban for several months the entry of refugees into the United States, except for (non-Muslim) religious minorities escaping persecution, until more aggressive vetting is in place.
However, it remains to be seen how Trump will deal with the major issues facing the Middle East. Marginalising migrants from the seven countries may make a real difference to Trump's plans to deal with issues like the Syrian civil war, the fight against the Islamic State Group is Syria and Iraq and of course, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. James Sorene, the Chief Executive of BICOM writing in the Telegraph on Monday suggested that Trump’s Middle East policies will be driven by his instincts and loose relationship with reality.
In reality, should Trump support the Russian policy to keep Bashar Al-Assad in power, this would be a big boost to Iran, one of the countries who citizens are barred from entering, but who have increased their influence in the region in both Syria and Iraq and who remain the great potential threat, according to Tel Aviv, to the Israeli administration. Trump scrapping the Iran deal would almost certainly lead to huge repercussions in the region.
Immigration experts say Trump could face legal challenges to his ban which are all on Muslim-majority countries. Legal arguments could claim the executive orders discriminate against a particular religion, which would be unconstitutional.