PASSENGERS flying nonstop to America from anywhere in the Arab world are now banned from bringing large electronic devices on to planes in their carry-on luggage. The Associated Press, citing American government officials, says the restriction applies to eight countries: Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. But the only other Middle Eastern or North African country with passenger flights to America is Israel (which is also the country in the region that American carriers fly to). That makes the measure, in effect, a pan-Arab ban. All devices larger than a mobile phone must be checked in under the new rules, including laptops, Kindles, cameras and portable DVD players.
The reason for the sweeping measure is not yet fully clear, but Reuters quoted officials as saying it relates to a terror threat uncovered several weeks ago. CNN has gone further, directly linking the ban to a US Special Forces raid targeting Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni wing of the Islamist terror group. Its master bomb-maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is believed to have orchestrated at least three plots to detonate explosives aboard commercial…Continue reading