FULL CIRCLE

Trump plans to block visas from seven Muslim-majority countries. The US is currently bombing five of them

US president Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration has already begun. Two executive orders signed yesterday (Jan. 25)—to begin constructing a border wall between the US and Mexico and loosening restrictions on which immigrants border agents can apprehend and deport—marked some of the biggest single-day changes to American federal immigration policy in recent history.

Trump is expected to sign more immigration-related executive orders this week, which would temporarily stop most refugee admissions to the US for several months and block visas being issued to anyone from seven majority-Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Of the seven countries expected to be named in Trump’s executive order, the US is currently bombing five of them: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. In 2016 alone, the country dropped an estimated 26,172 bombs in seven countries, (including Pakistan and Afghanistan), according to the Council of Foreign Relations. This estimate is thought to be on the low-end as each single “strike” can involve multiple bombs, according to the Pentagon’s definition. In Barack Obama’s last year in office, the US dropped 3,028 more bombs than in 2015.

Iraq and Syria

The vast majority of these bombs were dropped in Iraq and Syria, where the US is leading a coalition in an air campaign against ISIL. The US conducted about 79% of the coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in 2016, according to the Council of Foreign Relations.

The US has admitted its bombs have killed 64 civilians between Nov. 20, 2015 and Sept. 10, 2016 in Iraq and Syria.

Libya

In response to ISIL’s growing presence in Libya, the US carried out a number of isolated airstrikes before formally starting a sustained air campaign in coordination with the Libyan Unity Government in Aug. 2016.

On Jan. 19, 2017, the US claimed to have killed more than 80 ISIL fighters in air strikes on camps outside the group’s former stronghold of Sirte, Libya.

Somalia

The US began carrying out drone strikes in Somalia in 2011 in hopes of rooting out terrorist group Al-shabaab, but has been involved in a covert “war on terror” in Somalia since 2001, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

The US claimed to have killed 150 Al-shabaab fighters (paywall) after striking a training camp in Somalia in March 2016. Several months later, the US struck again in the semi-autonomous region of Galmudug, but local government accused the US of killing 22 civilians and Somali soldiers in the incident.

Yemen

The Obama administration pursued a policy of drone strikes in Yemen in a bid to quash Al Qaeda since 2009, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. In the process, the US killed a number of senior Al Qaeda operatives, including former leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi in 2015 and Abd al-Ghani al-Rasas in 2017.

The first air strike under president Trump occurred in Yemen; a Jan. 21, 2017 bombing reportedly killed three Al Qaeda operatives.

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