Expats in the Gulf States advised to evacuate

Published:  6 Jan at 6 PM
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Are British expats in the Gulf States at risk from Soleimani assassination reprisals?

Experts in the USA and many Western nations are now urging their expat citizens to leave Iraq and the UAE as retaliation against US and other western targets is highly likely. Following the attack, British PM Boris Johnson came out in favour of Trump’s possibly illegal decision, with many now believing his statement puts UK expats in the region at risk. One Tehran-based analyst is strongly advising all Western workers in the region to evacuate immediately.

At the present time, the British expat presence in the UAE numbers between 100,000 and 200,000, with a further 20,000 living and working in Qatar and similar numbers in Dubai. At present, British Foreign Office advice is limiting itself to simply recommending vigilance, but many familiar with the region fear the situation could deteriorate further at any time.

For Iraq itself, the Foreign Office is warning potential visitors not to travel, and estimates of holidaymakers in the region range between 30,000 in the UAE, 2,500 in Qatar and 3,500 in Oman. Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are at present hosting smaller numbers of UK tourists. Terrorism in the UAE in general may hold risks for Westerners, with the Foreign Office regularly reporting a likelihood of attacks on transport, aviation and oil installations as well as on hotels, shopping malls, beaches and other crowded destinations. At the present time, flights are continuing as normal, and the UAE’s tourism infrastructure is still working.
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