Today, Iraqi officials praised the Trump administration’s decision to exclude Iraq from a list of Muslim-majority countries whose citizens will be temporarily banned from entering the United States, calling it an “important step in the right direction.”
A previous executive order had barred Iraqis from traveling to the United States, along with citizens of six other countries. It had provoked widespread anger and disbelief in Iraq, a country torn apart by cycles of conflict since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and a front-line state in the battle against the Islamic State militant group.
A fact sheet on the revised order sent to Congress on Monday said the Iraqi government had taken steps “to increase their cooperation with the United States in the vetting of Iraqi nationals.”
An Iraqi Foreign Ministry statement said the decision “reinforces the strategic alliance between Baghdad and Washington in many areas, particularly the fight against terrorism.”
The revised order comes as the United States is stepping up its involvement in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq, including by sending hundreds of military advisers to front-line positions with Iraqi security forces wrestling for control of the northern city of Mosul.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Mustafa Salim, Kareem Fahim