The British Foreign Office has just updated its travel advice for anyone planning a trip to Qatar. For details please go to: Foreign and Commonwealth Office – Travel Advice – Qatar
The Foreign office advises British citizens to remain highly alert and avoid any public gatherings or crowded areas. Moreover, it mentions possible protests on 15th and 16th March.
However, I would be highly cautious of the rhetoric used in this statement. The ‘underlying terrorist threat’ is greatly hyped up and in my opinion totally inaccurate and misleading.
Although it is important to remain alert of the security situation in the region, I find it highly ineffective of the British FCO to scare people off. It appears to me that following their total ineptness in supporting the British expats in Libya, they’ve decided to rather stay on the safe side and hype up any future threats to their citizens abroad.
Messages like this one are likely to induce fear and are counterproductive. The likelihood of any terrorist activity in the country is extremely low. It is rather improper to argue for an ‘underlying threat from terrorism’ in Qatar on the basis of only one such event in 2005. Furthermore, Qatar – an extremely rich Gulf state with hugely apolitical and relatively content native population is highly unlikely to suffer any unrest of the kind in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Oman or Yemen.
To read more of Matthew’s writings on Politics, Religion, Philosophy, Europe, and the Middle East, go to his website http://www.matthewmachowski.com/
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
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