Iraqi Lawmakers Recommend Reciprocal Ban on U.S. Citizens

  • Trump migrant ban draws anger in ally fighting Islamic State
  • Iraqi government to decide whether to take reciprocal action

Iraq Hits Back on U.S. Travel Ban

Iraq’s parliament urged its government to bar U.S. citizens from entering the country, in response to an entry ban that President Donald Trump ordered on citizens of Iraq and six other Muslim-majority nations.

A majority of lawmakers voted on Monday to recommend a reciprocal ban, Mahmoud Al-Hassan, a member of parliament’s legal committee, said by phone from Baghdad. The non-binding measure also calls on Iraq’s government to lodge protests with the Trump administration, the U.S. Congress and international bodies including the United Nations.

The Iraqi measure, if adopted, could shut the Middle Eastern country’s doors to U.S. oil workers, diplomats and military advisers who are helping Iraq fight Islamic State militants. “The final decision is up to the government,” Al-Hassan said.

World leaders including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have denounced the U.S. ban, which also targets citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - including those with dual citizenship. Iraq is so far the only one of the seven targeted countries to propose a reciprocal measure.

An Iraqi ban could affect U.S. employees of Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp., which pumps nearly half a million barrels a day of crude oil in Iraq, and other international energy companies that employ Americans. It could also bar entry to other U.S. workers who prop up Iraq’s vital oil industry, from service providers to security contractors, many of whom work on rotation and leave Iraq every few weeks.

“A lot will come down to what the actual measures they decide to put in place will be,” Glen Ransom, an analyst at U.K.-based risk consultant Control Risks, which operates in Iraq, said by phone from Dubai. “It would impact those companies that are planning to rotate employees during the period of a ban.”

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