IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL IN THE MIDDLE EAST?
Many people are fearful of traveling to countries in the Middle East. This is largely due to media coverage which tends to focus on the strife and wars that occur in countries in the Middle East. You thus may wonder if it is safe to travel anywhere in the Middle East. Certain countries in the Middle East have truly become far more dangerous over the last couple of years. Syria, for instance has been struggling with a civil war for a couple of years now. Lebanon is also now unsafe since it is on the border with Syria, thus conflict has spilled over into Lebanon.
The Different Countries
Afghanistan, Algeria and Egypt are three countries to which America and some other countries have advised their citizens to avoid traveling to at the moment. There has been much terrorist activity and political unrest which makes these countries unstable.
When it comes to Iraq, only certain areas are safe to travel to. These are all in the northeast regions of the country, which is the Iraqi Kurdistan region. You should bear in mind that it is not wise to discuss religion or politics. The country is known for a great deal of religious and sectarian strife and warfare. Some countries, such as Canada, have recently posted travel advisories for Qatar due to terrorist activity.
It Can Be Safe
Despite the bad reputation the Middle East region gets because of civil war and terrorism, there are some countries that you can safely travel to. The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has become a popular destination for many tourists. It also helps that many countries fly to Dubai International Airport.
Although Israel itself is not unfriendly to foreigners, it becomes a problem if you first visit Israel and then try to enter a Muslim country. Religious hostilities are strong in the Middle East, so if you plan on visiting a couple of countries and Israel, plan to enter Israel last. You should be very aware and avoid the violence-prone Gaza area completely.
How safe travelling in the Middle East is may also depend on what country you are from. Americans, for example, may encounter much hostility in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. You should also be aware that the Muslim countries may have rules regarding what clothes you can wear in public. They may have other laws that you are unaware of, so you need to do your research so that you do not get into trouble.
Many countries in the Middle East follow Islamic Culture which influences every aspect of life. This means that the way you dress, way you act, even what you try to bring into the country may be viewed as offensive, and if you break local laws you can end up in prison.
While it may seem as though travelling to the Middle East is too dangerous, it does not have to be so. What you should do is check your country’s list of travel advisories, then research the country you plan to visit to be respectful to that culture. It is also advisable to contact your home countries’ embassy in the country you plan to visit. If there is no embassy or consulate, then it may not be a good idea to visit that country.