Many of the policies from President Trump’s administration has attracted some degree of controversy and criticism from different quarters. Recently, President Trump’s administration released an amended travel ban list. In the document, the US government lists countries where the US citizens are banned from traveling to, usually due to the security situation of the countries or, as a means of making the country honor international treaty.
North Korea, Venezuela Among Countries on Travel Ban
The list contained some obvious inclusions such as North Korea (to tame its dictatorial leader) and Venezuela (due to its insecure situation caused by mass protests). However, one inclusion was perplexing and led to vocal criticism against the decision from all over the world. This inclusion was Chad. According to the US government’s executive order, Chad was included on the travel ban list because it “does not adequately share public safety and terrorism-related information.” Additionally, according to The New York Times, the US government placed Chad on the list after Homeland Security wrote a classified document claiming that Chad had not done much to combat Islamic terrorist elements within its borders.
Officials Warned Against Controversial Chad Ban
As required, the White House had to seek for inter-department input before making its decision, and senior officials in the Pentagon reportedly opposed the placing of a total travel ban on Chad, claiming that such an action would potentially jeopardize long-term American interests in West Africa. These senior officials were also concerned about the implications of such a decision would have on the US Embassy in N’djamena, Chad. The United States Africa Command was also opposed to the move, with current and former officers being worried that the decision would affect Chad’s corporation and support in the ongoing war against Islamic extremists in the region.
Chad has been an important US ally in West Africa since the Cold War era and was host to a US military training exercise as recently as February 2017. The Chadian military played a crucial role in the war against Boko Haram, a known Islamic terrorist organization. Chad is a member of the G5, and a regional security bloc also made up of Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Member countries of the bloc showed solidarity with Chad and made it clear that they were not impressed with the decision from White House. Eye Witness News, a South African media company, reported that Mali President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita had requested President Trump’s administration to reverse the decision, stating that it would have a far-reaching ramifications.
Benjamin Elisha Sawe is a writer based in Kenya. He holds an MBA from the University of Nairobi.