Why is Chad on Trump's New Travel Ban?
Why is Chad on the Trump administration's new travel ban?
The latest list of travel restrictions issued by Donald Trump includes Iran, Libya, Somalia, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, Yemen, and Chad. All of these countries except for Chad are either failed states, terrorist hotspots, or drastically anti-American states. Yet, Chad is different. Yes, Chad has suffered internal conflict between Muslims and Christians in the past, but in general, the situation has stabilized. And while Chad does suffer from Islamist terror attacks, neighboring countries such as Nigeria and Niger have suffered from many more terror attacks and much more widespread terror insurgencies.
More importantly, Chad is a vital ally of the US in the war on terror. When Tuareg and Al-Qaeda forces overran Northern Mali, Chad helped to spearhead the offensive against Islamist forces, helping to recapture all major cities by July of 2014. Additionally, there are no major terrorist organizations based in Chad. Very few Chadians have taken membership in Islamist terror groups. The number of terrorist attacks in Chad has actually decreased from 2015 to 2016.
Even more puzzling is the fact that Sudan was removed from the new ban. Sudan is still designated as a state sponsor of terror, and rightfully so. Sudan continues to aid Hamas, and, until the deterioration of relations between Sudan and Iran in 2016, Sudan also aided Hezbollah. Sudan is also still actively perpetuating a genocide in Darfur, having already killed hundreds of thousands of native tribesman in an effort to build Sudan into an Arab state. Even President Trump himself could not give a could not give a coherent answer as to why Sudan was removed from his travel ban. While its possible that GCC states such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE lobbied for Sudan’s exclusion from the travel ban, given that Sudan is one of the few countries that is openly hostile towards the US government, it is unlikely that much rational thought was put into the new restrictions.
Bottom line? Since the end of the cold war, the US still doesn’t really know what it is doing in Africa. The US failed to intervene in Rwanda after 800,000 Tutsis were brutally murdered in 1994, and watched as the Congo imploded in the 1990s and early 2000s. The new geopolitical reality in Africa is not communism in capitalism. Instead, it’s an incredibly complicated web of shifting alliances and conflicts. However, if the US can’t commit to its allies, it is increasingly likely that African countries turn towards China for protection. The question then becomes - do we really want Pax Sinica rather than Pax Americana?