On September 24, US embassy officials, the Pentagon, State Department, Department of Defense, French allies, the President of Chad and ordinary people were scratching their heads. The US President had just announced he’d added Chad to his travel ban.
Isn’t Chad one of our allies?
Yes, it is. We staff embassies in each others’ countries. They sell us oil. We help them with refugees they take in from other countries.
Chad’s troops and peacekeepers help the US and France fight Boko Haram in Niger, which shares a border with Chad.
So why were Chadians banned from the US? Elaine Duke, acting head of Homeland Security and Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan said Chad didn’t share enough public safety and terrorism-related information.
White House officials who request anonymity say the real reason Chad was included in the ban is because Chad annoyed Homeland Security when its government ran out of paper and missed a deadline to provide a sample passport that met US safety regulations.
Several leaders objected to including Chad in the travel ban, including the State Department, Pentagon and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. The President reportedly consulted White House policy advisor Stephen Miller on the matter. Miller agreed with Duke. Objections were overruled.
In case you don’t remember Stephen Miller, he made a brief appearance a few months ago. It didn’t go very well, and he mostly disappeared from public view.
Chad leadership threatened to withdraw its troops if the US banned Chadian citizens from the US. A day or two later they called hundreds of troops home from Niger.
On Oct. 6, four Green Beret soldiers were ambushed and killed about 100 miles north of the Niger capital, Niamey. Did they die because they lacked support from Chadian soldiers? Who knows?
If not for the travel ban, we wouldn’t even be asking.