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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Travel Ban: But what about Saudi Arabia?

The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that they plan to continue to "enforce all the president's executive orders in a manner that ensures the safety and security of the American people."

The decision by the U.S. Eastern District Court, in Brooklyn, will not change the overall implementation of President Trump's executive order and said that it will " . . .  remain in place--prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety."

The Obama-appointed federal judge's emergency order, issued Saturday night, temporarily barred the U.S. from deporting people from the seven terrorist-spawning nations that are subject to Trump's travel ban. The order said that travelers who have been detained had a strong argument that their legal rights have been violated.

I might agree with the decision that U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly ruled, but only for those travelers who are citizens or permanent residents. 

Coming into the U.S. is otherwise not a right and we can limit or stop whoever we want.

Stuck at airport
Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to the White House said, 'Nothing in the Brooklyn judge's order in anyway impedes or prevents the implementation of the president's executive order which remains in full, complete and total effect."

The emergency order was issued after the ACLU filed a court petition on behalf  of travelers from the seven countries that Trump's executive order temporarily barred from entering the U.S.: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. 

But why not also ban Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia has been associated with terrorism and religious extremism for centuries.

Fact: fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were Saudi citizens. An independent U.S. commission that investigated the attacks found nothing to prove the Saudi government or any Saudi officials financed the terrorists and the Saudi government vigorously denied any involvement. 

But WikiLeaks released US diplomatic cables revealing that private Saudis and other Gulf states "friendly" to the US, are the chief source of funding al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups. The documents show the deep frustration in Washington with the level of cooperation from governments in the region. 

"It has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority," a then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton cable read--it was dated Dec. 30, 2009.

"Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide," the Clinton document added.

Even Saudi officials recently admitted to misleading the US on funding extremism, according to Politico.
Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab

Saudi Arabia is also the hub of Wahhabism, a fundamentalist form of Islam that has inspired terrorists worldwide. To learn more about this ultraconservative, often violent form of Islam, click here.

Interestingly, in spite of Saudi Arabia's extremely religious holdings, the government has not said anything about President Trump's remarks about violent extremist Muslims. In fact, Trump has been welcomed by the Saudis who share his strong opposition to Iran, their Shia and geopolitical rivals.

After Trump's inauguration, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Al Arabiya "We are very optimistic about the Trump Administration. The positions that President Trump has articulate are ones that we are completely in accordance with. Restoring America's presence in the world is something we, and all of the Americans, welcome because the lack of an American engagement leads to a vacuum."

President Obama's relationship was not as strong as it appears to be with President Trump because of the Iran deal and the frustration it caused with the Saudis and conservative Americans.

But let's face it. The main reason it seems to be that Saudi Arabia was not put on Trump's list has a lot to do with the Kingdom's strategic importance, particularly for oil, that has been recognized by us as far back as Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Jimmy Carter and his Carter Doctrine of 1980 solidified this relationship when he promised to use our military to protect its interest in the Persian Gulf.

So in spite of the potential for terrorists coming in from Saudi Arabia, it's all about the oil and our special interests in the region.

And if you see something, say something. 

Or if you hear someone screaming: "Allahu Akbar!" .  .  .  run away from the voice.