One of the differences between two travel executive orders was the fact that Iraq was omitted in the new one ("Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States (13780)")

I know the vague general explanations for that omission; i.e. Iraq talked to US government.

But are there specific promises, guarantees, metrics or KPIs that Iraq committed to that made it be objectively worth excluding?


2 Answers 2


Remember that it wasn't Donald Trump who came up with the list of seven countries affected by the ban. The Trump administration just used the Barack Obama era list from the Visa Waiver Program. That list was generated in three steps:

  1. Congress specified Iraq and Syria in the original bill.
  2. The State department specified additional countries (Iran and Sudan).
  3. Homeland Security specified Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

So Iraq was specified in the 2015 act, passed by Congress and signed by Obama. At that time, Iraq had not really taken control away from the Daesh (ISIS) rebellion. More than a year later, Iraq is taking serious and successful military action in Raqqa and Mosul. So there have been changes since Iraq was originally specified.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has always been against the inclusion of Iraq in the travel moratorium. The biggest problem being that it makes it harder for the United States military personnel to recruit locals to work with them.

It's not evident that Iraq has made any specific changes since the original executive order. And if they did do so, it is likely that these were less consequential than the opposition of Mattis and the changes in the situation since 2015.


The administration claims it has something to do with the US and Iraq agreeing on other (unspecified) security measures to ensure that those "with criminal or terroristic intent" in Iraq don't reach the US.

Here is CNN's story: Why Iraq was removed from the revised travel ban:

Tillerson described his efforts in public remarks Monday after the new order had been signed.

"Iraq is an important ally in the fight to defeat ISIS, with their brave soldiers fighting in close coordination with America's men and women in uniform," he said. "This intense review over the past month identified multiple security measures that the State Department and the government of Iraq will be implementing to achieve our shared objective of preventing those with criminal or terroristic intent from reaching the United States."

(Emphasis mine)

The Associated Press, on the other hand, reported that it was due to pressure by the Pentagon and State Department:

Four officials told The Associated Press that the decision followed pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, which had urged the White House to reconsider Iraq's inclusion on the list given its key role in fighting the Islamic State group.

The reason behind the pressure is unclear, but the same article mentions that it may have to do with the fact that Iraq was considering "reciprocal measures" after the first ban was announced:

After Trump signed the original order, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he would consider reciprocal measures. Many Iraqi lawmakers urged the government to ban Americans from Iraq in response, despite the potential effects that might have on the anti-IS fight.

  • (warning, non-neutral comment ahead) Frankly, I think even the original 7 were poorly planned, arbitrary and unjustified, simply to satisfy his "ban all muslims" campaign promises. Looking for good reasons for anything this administration does is a waste of time.
    – BradC
    Mar 8, 2017 at 16:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .