US and European officials have expressed anxiety about the damage the Trump administration’s ban targeting Muslim refugees could inflict on western security.
The ban is believed to have been drafted by an ideologically-driven group around Donald Trump without consultation with the justice, state, defence or homeland security departments, which could have weighed on its implications for US foreign relations, as well as the country’s security concerns and legal obligations.
Officials say the clear anti-Muslim intent behind the executive order will prove to be a recruiting tool for extremist movements such as Islamic State, while alienating governments in the Arab and Islamic world, whose cooperation is essential for identifying potential terrorists.
There have also been reports that Israeli and British intelligence were cautioned by the outgoing Obama national security team over sharing sensitive information with the Trump team until investigations were concluded on whether they had colluded with Moscow to skew the US elections.
There is also concern about the arbitrary nature of the list of the countries affected by the ban. A western official pointed out that Muslim-majority nations where Trump has business interests – such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – were excluded, while noting that no terrorist attacks on US soil have been carried out by nationals of the seven countries listed in the executive order.