Concern over recent visa restrictions and travel ban policies enacted by US President Donald Trump

Whispering Bell, Business Advisory Team, has been closely monitoring the development of recent US policies relating to visa restrictions and travel ban and the potential effect on businesses operating in the Middle East.

 

January 30, 2017

Below are a few questions we presented our Business Advisory team

Question: Will the inclusion of Iranian nationals being banned and Iran’s retaliation in banning Americans, effect the American businesses with contracts in Iran?

Answer: We would urge caution at the moment, and suggest that nationals of either country wait a week or two to see the ‘going forward’ versions of the travel bans once they’re fully implemented. In terms of business activities, we are cautiously optimistic that this is just a temporary set back. The larger test will be in the next month or two when the Trump administration makes its decision with regard to the JCPA of 2015. This will be far more indicative of the state of future business between companies of the two countries than any other recent event.

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Nigeria Travel Security Assessment

*the below report is a travel advisory provided by Whispering Bell to a client in Nigeria before one of their employees was scheduled to visit

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Abuja, Nigeria Assessment – 08 Sept 2016 The overall threat in Nigeria is assessed to be high, though varies from region to region, due to terrorism, kidnapping, armed robberies and other violent crime. Most of the violence in Nigeria occurs in the northeast, where the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram operates, and in the southern Niger Delta region, where fragmented militant groups are seeking a greater share of oil revenues. There are ongoing security operations in these regions, which are likely to continue unabated over the medium to long-term. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s capital Abuja is situated in the center of the country, away from the main conflict zones, with a lower threat level.

The escalation of tensions between Niger Delta militant groups and the federal government has resulted in acts of sabotage targeting oil and gas infrastructure, as well as an apparent increase in kidnappings. On Sept 3, unidentified gunmen stopped a bus along the road between Omoku and Elele, approximately 50km outside of Port Harcourt, and kidnapped 14 Nigerian oil workers and their driver. The victims are reportedly employed by a Lagos-based oil services company known as Nestoil Plc. Nigerian security forces are currently investigating the incident and have not stated whether a ransom has been demanded. While the kidnapping should be of concern for oil and gas companies, it is in line with recent trends in that part of the country and does not directly impact travel to Abuja, approximately 440km away. Niger Delta militant groups routinely target infrastructure and employees—local and foreign—in the Niger Delta region. While it is plausible that Niger Delta militants might attempt to cause disruptions by carrying out attacks in Abuja for political purposes, the majority of their activity will likely remain in the more restive Niger Delta region.

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Saudi Arabia Recent Attacks Highlight Elevated Threat in the Western Region of the Country

11 July 2016

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The threat of the Islamic State (IS) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has materialized in various forms, including assaults, shootings, IED/VBIED attacks and attempts at more complex attacks over the past 12 months. The majority of the reported attacks targeted Saudi security forces, local and foreign government interests as well as individuals. Some of the more complex attacks have sought to target the Saudi Shia minority.

Despite the significant threat of IS attacks in KSA, the Western Region of the country remains relatively stable. This is largely due to the mitigation measures employed by local security forces. Nonetheless, IS has carried out significant attacks that should be of concern to foreign diplomatic missions and international businesses operating in the region.

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