The US travel ban has led enemies and rivals to ask why the Saudis were not included on the list of the seven countries which Donald Trump banned their citizens from entering the US. This question was not answered by Saudi diplomats or security institutions but by US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly who said: “The issue is places like Saudi Arabia do have very, very good police forces, intelligence forces, so we know when someone comes from Saudi Arabia who they are and what they've been up to.”
The countries which were banned are different from Saudi Arabia as they have fragmented regimes and are somehow linked to terrorist groups or embrace them. Iran for example has become a safe haven for terrorist groups and it seals deals with them by turning a blind eye to their activities and securing their passage in exchange for not attacking the country. This has been confirmed and well-documented in statements made by late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and current leader Ayman al-Zwahiri’s, in which they were directing their groups not to attack Iran.
The reason Saudi Arabia was excluded from Trump’s travel ban is that the kingdom actually fights terrorist groups and is not a failed stateTurki Aldakhil
Saudi Arabia is not engaging in a truce with terrorism; it’s fighting a fierce war against it. It cooperated with other countries to combat it, established centers for this purpose and spent money to protect against this plague. For example, Saudi Arabia has through its security and intelligence forces thwarted dangerous operations such as the attempt to blow up an American navy ship and planes heading to America and also thwarted an attack against Heathrow Airport, as well as other efforts.
The reason Saudi Arabia was excluded from Trump’s travel ban is that the kingdom actually fights terrorist groups and is not a failed state.
This article was first published in Okaz on February 12, 2017.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.