Despite travel ban, Arab leaders line up to talk to Trump
Many in the Muslim world are furious at President Donald Trump—but not some of its most important leaders.
Even as Trump draws global scorn for halting immigration from seven Muslim countries, key Arab leaders in the Middle East whose countries weren’t included in the ban are mostly staying quiet. The reason: they see Trump as a crucial ally against Iran and the Islamic extremists who threaten their own regimes, according to diplomats and experts.
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But some foreign policy insiders with Middle East contacts warn that pro-Trump Arab governments are playing a dangerous game, focusing on how he’ll end their longtime frustrations with U.S. policy under President Barack Obama without worrying about the blowback Trump might spark.
“There’s a big blind spot,” said Brian Katulis, a fellow at the Center for American Progress who visits the Middle East regularly. “I do think there’s more than a little wishful thinking, and willful blindness, on Trump’s anti-Muslim bigotry.”
Jordan’s King Abdullah proceeded with a trip to Washington, arriving Monday for a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence at the White House.
Abdullah raised the issue of Trump’s new travel bans, according to an official statement from his government, which said Abdullah “emphasized that Muslims are the number one victims” of Islamic terrorists, who he called religious “outlaws” who “do not represent any faith or nationality.”
But even that did not represent a condemnation of Trump’s action. And several analysts said they don’t expect Abdullah, one of Washington’s most reliable Arab allies,“to go farther for now.”
The visit followed Trump’s phone calls Sunday with two of the most important Arab monarchs, King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
An official Saudi account of the call made no mention of Trump’s executive orders on immigration and refugees. The state news agency of the United Arab Emirates, of which Abu Dhabi is the capital, said only that Mohamed told Trump that
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