Tension rises in the Middle East following Iranian retaliation in Iraq
Following the U.S. attack and assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC), the Iranian leadership has retaliated with a Ballistic Missile attack on two U.S. Military bases located in Iraq. These bases are also home to other coalition forces, including troops from the United Kingdom. Early reports state 22 missiles were fired from Iran into Iraq. There have been statements made by all sides following the attack, the U.K and U.S. Governments report no casualties as a result of the attack, however Iranian officials are claiming as many as 80 fatalities.
With this dramatic escalation and increase in tensions, there has been a cry for all those concerned to take a deep breath and reconsider the situation and de-escalate.
The fallout from this attack spreads far and wide, causing several International airlines to modify their routes. Those that have commented and changed their routes or cancelled flights are as follows:
- Air Canada – Changed routes
- Emirates and FlyDubai – Cancelled flights to Baghdad
- Singapore Airlines – Avoiding Iranian airspace
- China Airlines – Avoiding Iranian airspace
- Malaysia Airlines – Avoiding Iranian airspace
- Taiwanese Airline (EVA Air) – Avoiding Iranian airspace
- Quantas – Avoiding Iranian and Iraqi airspace
- Royal Jordanian – Suspended flights between Baghdad and Jordan
- Gulf Air – Suspended flights to Iraq also from Bahrain to Baghdad and Najaf
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are closely monitoring events in the Middle East – https://www.faa.gov/
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) have amended their travel advice for travel as a result of the recent activity in the Middle East. The following advice was issued for the following regional countries:
- FCO “Following the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US strike in Baghdad on 3 January, the incident has led to increased tensions in the region. There is a possibility of an increased threat against Western interests and the security situation could worsen with little warning. You should remain vigilant and keep up to date with the latest developments, including via the media and this travel advice”.
- United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, Oman, Jordan, Pakistan
Our top tips if you are travelling to or operating in the Middle East:
- Prepare– Check government websites and social media feeds before planning any travel for up-to-date advice i.e. US State Department and British Foreign Office.
- When travelling and in-country be extra vigilant.
- Conduct local research to see if there are any immediate risks in the region i.e. protests/ demonstrations.
- Communicate regularly and arrange set check-in times.
- Ensure you know what to do should an incident occur i.e. places of safety, emergency contact numbers.
For independent in-depth advice and to find out how we can support travel to the Middle East contact Securewest firstname.lastname@example.org
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