U.S. Bans Travelers in the Middle-East from Packing Electronics in Carry-Ons

MIKE BRABAZON

On Tuesday Mar. 21, 2017, the United States of America banned travelers coming from eight countries in the Middle East and Africa from bringing large electronic devices in their carryon bags. Items that are included in the ban are laptops, tablets, iPads, e-readers, cameras, and portable DVD players. The countries targeted in the ban are Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait.

All electronic devices are still allowed on planes, however, the ones cited in the ban are required to place such devices in the passengers checked luggage as opposed to their carry on. Also, the ban only applies to non-stop flights from these countries to the United States.

The US Department of Homeland Security did not cite any specific threat but referred to previous attacks on aviation that came from these electronic devices. In 2015, a flight from Egypt was downed due to an explosive smuggled onto the plane in a now banned device.  A statement by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was issued following the action on Tuesday night.

The statement from the TSA is as follows:

“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”

According to CBS News, the ban is estimated to effect on average fifty flights a day, arriving in the U.S. from these eight nations.

On Wednesday, Mar. 22,, the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) met in Washington. It has not yet been reported whether these top Arab officials traveling to the United States sparked this ban.

The decision has brought forth pushback from aviation-security experts in the United States. They cited some of the repercussions the ban may result in.

Jeffrey Price, an aviation-security expert from the Metropolitan State University of Denver, said that this would skyrocket theft from carry-on bags. This could also cause serious delays at the airport for people who are unaware of what they may or may not carry aboard the plane.

For the time being, it is unknown how long this ban will last. Supporters of the Gulf Airlines effected, have theorized that this could be an attempt to deter travelers from entering the United States and that this ban may coincide with the United States recent travel ban from the region.

The United Kingdom joined the United States in this ban on Tuesday Mar. 21st. Enacting the same ban to travelers coming directly from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tunisia.