Some Devices Bigger Than Phones Banned on Flights

A+Plane+From+the+U.A.E.
A Plane From the U.A.E.

A Plane From the U.A.E.

Photo by: Tech Times

Photo by: Tech Times

A Plane From the U.A.E.

Elizabeth Grant, Editor-In-Chief

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Following the immigration ban set forth by Donald Trump and trickling its way up to the Supreme Court, the ban on laptop and other handheld devices larger than cell phones on planes is really not a shock to many Americans. Though they will still be allowed onto checked luggage, these devices are seen by the U.S. and the U.K. as a possible threat in the escalating tension in the Middle East–which is why not all flights will be effects by this rule.

The nine airlines affected by the US ban are Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways. They have been given 96 hours, to ban devices bigger than a mobile phone or smartphone from cabins, US officials said, adding that the ban had no end date. Notably all of these airlines stem from the Middle East, and, surprisingly, some of the countries in OPEC.

If the United Stated and the U.K. continue to agitate Middle Eastern countries, as with this ban on devices, it may result in the complete shutdown of flights from the Middle East to the U.S., or in a worldwide oil epidemic in which OPEC begins to either charge the U.S. more money for importing oil or shut off the supply altogether.

Seeking Alpha
Diagram of the Crude Oil Reserves Held by OPEC.

Although OPEC has recently cut the production of oil, they still control a majority of the crude oil reserves in the world. The figures to the right identify just how much oil OPEC has, and in which countries. This diagram includes Kuwait and the U.A.E. (United Arab Emirates), both of which are countries involved in the ban of large devices on planes. Kuwait alone holds 9.5% of the world’s crude oil reserves and the U.A.E. holds 9.2% of them. While these countries are usually kept from manipulating the U.S. financially and with oil by Saudi Arabia, it is more difficult now than ever to determine just how long Saudi Arabia will remain a friend of the U.S.; one of the airports affected include one in Saudi Arabia.

The restriction is based, we are told, on “evaluated intelligence”, BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner writes. That means that US intelligence has either intercepted some discussion of a possible extremist/terrorist plot or has been passed word of one by a human informant. Either way, there seems to be some intelligence that would call for such a measure.

Still, the Middle Eastern and North African airports affected are nearly all ones with close, friendly relations with Washington, so this will be seen by some as a drastic and unpopular measure.

Even further, this ban seems to be something completely unnecessary. Philip Baum, editor in chief of Aviation Security magazine, told the BBC: “If we cannot, in 2017, distinguish between a laptop that contains an IED [improvised explosive device] and one that does not, then our screening process is completely flawed.” This means that either the entire system by which people are screened for explosives needs to change, or that this measure is rather absurd.

Although officials have not officially linked this measure to the Trump travel ban, it seems to be one that will remain consistent with the theme of his campaign: one of complete utter and irrational fear of people from the Middle East.

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