The United States carried out air strikes in five of the seven countries that were included in President Trump’s travel ban last year.
Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia were bombed during the Obama administration’s final year. Two other countries, Iran and Sudan, were included in Trump’s order, but they weren’t bombed by the United States.
According to Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of left-wing, anti-war NGO Code Pink, the U.S. military dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016—amounting to an average of three an hour, 24 hours per day. Most of the air strikes were conducted in Iraq and Syria, while some were carried out in Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. Pakistan and Afghanistan, two countries not included in Trump’s executive order, were also bombed last year by American forces.
Over the weekend, some 300 people were reportedly held up at airports around the United States, which was met with criticism from rights activists, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Democratic leaders. Thousands of people protested in cities and airports in the nation. A New York judge made an emergency ruling to block Trump’s parts of order in the state on Saturday night.
Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, said that the travel ban would encourage “terrorist recruitment” and foment antipathy toward the U.S.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that President Obama’s administration originally flagged the seven countries, saying his “administration put these first and foremost” on a list of countries of “particular concern.”
On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order calling for a 90-day ban on citizens of the seven countries, which have a Muslim majority.
“There’s 46 Muslim-majority countries that are not in this seven,” Spicer added.
The order also calls for a 120-day moratorium on admitting refugees into the United States.
According to the New York Times on Monday, Department of State officials are circulating a “dissent cable,” warning that Trump’s executive action might deepen the threat of terrorism. The State Department confirmed the cable.
“This is an important process that the acting secretary, and the department as a whole, respect and value,” spokesman Mark Toner told the newspaper. “It allows State employees to express divergent policy views candidly and privately to senior leadership.”