The Middle East 15th December 2017

Countries across the Middle East face political turmoil following the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and the ongoing one in Syria. Libya will remains highly unstable due to inter factional fighting & criminal activity, including kidnapping that is on the rise. The British Embassy closed in July 2014 due to security concerns and FCO is advising Against All Travel to Libya. The FCO also advise against all travel to Syria, unrest will continue and the country in now in a state of civil war. Lebanon remain relatively stable and Beirut is a wonderful city to visit but the general level of unrest in the regions is putting strains on the country. In Egypt the Army removed Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi after millions protests against the government and the country is unstable and generally tense although calmer than a year or so ago.  Whilst some of the Red Sea tourist destinations are operating as normal and tourinst numbers have picked up considerably in 2017, there remains a high threat from terrorism across the country. Travellers should follow the FCO travel advice. Israel is a stable modern democracy but with the constant threat of violence due to its relationship with the Gaza and the West Bank,  Tension is high in Jersualem following a number of sectarian murders throughout 2016 and 2017.

Following the 2 terrrorist attacks in Tunisia in 2015 the FCO advised Against all but Essential travel to the country. However by the summer of 2017 the situation had improved and only the border areas with Algeria and Libya do FCO travel restriction apply. A map can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tunisia

Iran is opening to trade and tourism following the successful conclusion of the nuclear energy talks and is looking to improve relations with the West.  Anyone who has been generally loves the country, very friendly with wonderful sites and topography. British and US visitors requite a guide/escort when travelling and the visa authorisation process will take weeks so plan well ahead. A vehicle borne expedition will need a Carnet De Passage, in the UK this can be obtained from Cars UK. The British Embassy has reopened in Tehran & BA fly direct from London. President Rouhani won the presidential election in May 2017 with a commmitment to continue to improve relations with the West. Opportunities to travel in Iran are likley to increase.

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