President Trump issued an executive order banning people from several Muslim countries but not countries involved with 9/11 attack in which Trump has commercial interests.
The order blocks entry to the US from citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya for 90 days and as well as indefinitely suspending admission of Syrian refugees.
The hijackers in the September 11 attacks were 19 men affiliated with al-Qaeda. Yet 15 of the 19 were citizens of Saudi Arabia, and the others were from the United Arab Emirates (2), Egypt and Lebanon. None of these countries included in Trump’s ban.
Trump has been partnering with Arab investors for years and has successfully planted his brand on hotels, commercial real estate projects and golf resorts in Muslim nations such as Indonesia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates. In Trump’s overseas deals, like many of the ones stateside, it is the power of his name as a symbol of luxury that’s sold to prospective investors in Trump-branded condos, time-shares and resort packages.
On the Trump Organization website, the Trump International Golf Club and the Trump World Golf Club, both in the UAE’s Dubai, get prominent play. Two of the 9/11 terrorists were from the UAE, yet Trump seems to feel it’s alright to allow potential terrorists from UAE a free ride into the U.S. Is there a conflict between Trump commercial interests and safety of U.S. citizens? Why didn’t Trump include UAE as a banned country under his executive order?
Trump has existing commercial interests or proposed commercial interests in other Middle East countries like Turkey and until recently Saudi Arabia. President Donald Trump shut down some of his companies in the days after the election, including four that appeared connected to a possible Saudi Arabia business venture, according to corporate registrations in Delaware.
Trump operates branded hotels and resorts in a handful of countries around the world, though he and his executives had talked about expanding more globally. Last year, Ivanka Trump singled out the Middle East and Saudi Arabia as potential locations.
“Dubai is a top priority city for us. We are looking at multiple opportunities in Abu Dhabi, in Qatar, in Saudi Arabia, so those are the four areas where we are seeing the most interest,” Ivanka Trump told the publication Hotelier Middle East in May 2015 while attending the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference. “We haven’t made a final decision in any of the markets, but we have many very compelling deals in each of them.”
Four of the companies recently dissolved included Jeddah, a major Saudi city, in their formal names. The entities were established three months after Ivanka Trump’s comments, during the presidential campaign. Four more businesses similarly named were also set up around the same time then closed a few months later.
Maybe President Trump is ensuring future commercial interests in Saudi Arabia won’t be harmed by including Saudi Arabia in his executive order banning entry to U.S. from certain countries?
Back in 1995, a consortium of international investors, lead by Saudi Arabian Prince al-Waleed bin Talal Abdulaziz al Saud and Kwek Hong Png, a Singapore investor, bought out Trump’s remaining interests in New York City’s landmark Plaza Hotel. None of the proceeds of the deal went to Trump, but rather to banks that had loaned him money.
President Trump didn’t include Saudi Arabia in his list of banned countries, considering 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. I wonder why?
UPDATE, February 1, 2017:
Saudi Arabia and Egypt are excluded from Trump’s ban. Why?
The leader of the 9/11 hijackers was Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian. Was Egypt omitted because Trump is developing a warm relationship with the country’s brutal dictator, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi? Again, we don’t know.
Now, by excluding all refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries and by denying all visas to nationals of those countries, Trump is further detracting from the prestige of the US as a country where people are treated fairly regardless of race, religion or national origin. If he thinks this will enhance safety, he is sadly mistaken.
Even if he could keep out all those he thinks might threaten the US, he will heighten the danger to many millions of Americans who live, work and travel outside its borders. America, and Americans, would be safer if the country is seen by the world to live up to the ideals represented by the Statue of Liberty.