HOW TO PLAN YOUR SAFETY WITH PRIVATE SECURITY SERVICES IN IRAQ
Iraq has a rich history. An infamous one actually, with Western military invasions and shifts in leadership in the past two decades. Baghdad, as the capital, plays a central role in the battle for power. Since the statue of dictator Sadam Hussein was taken down by an outrageous, cheering crowd, the centuries-long conflict between two religions fired up again. It resulted in protests against the US opposition and the newly chosen government by various extremist groups.
In all this turmoil, the money earned with Iraq’s gold – oil – flows into the pockets of the rich. People protest in the streets against this inequality and fight for a better life, a fair chance, and education. Even the most basic needs fail to be supplied, for instance, medication and first aid supplies. The unstable economic and social situation provides an unsafe place for citizens, (business) travelers, and media teams.
PLANNING YOUR VISIT TO IRAQ
The Middle East is known for its Muslim culture, where laws, rules, and customs differ from country to country, but they certainly differ from Western culture. Taking pictures of buildings, structures or factories without authorization is highly inappropriate. Also, refrain from filming or photographing police and army officers and buildings, or any other armed groups. Ask locals for permission to take their photo as well. Your image might endanger them as they may be somewhere they should not be their unpermitted actions could be captured by you unintentionally. Take into account that homosexuality is unaccepted in Iraq. Women should be covered with long clothes and a headscarf at all times.
Code for traveling to Baghdad
From the moment that you start planning a trip, stay on top of the news about local, regional, and nationwide circumstances. For instance, stay away from political demonstrations, as they can become quite violent due to the breakup by military or police forces.
For Baghdad, most Western governments issue code red for traveling. Under the current circumstances, the risk of attacks, bombing, kidnap, and assault is extremely high. If you do require to visit the capital, make sure to hire private security services to guide you for secure transportation, safe houses en remote medical assistance.
If your visit to Baghdad is absolutely necessary (e.g., media teams), be aware that your relatively safe situation can deteriorate quickly in the case of an event. This means that assisting you in evacuation cannot be done from the outside.
Code for traveling to other Iraqi regions
Other areas, e.g., where oil production companies are located, are considered as code orange. However, in the entire country, the infrastructure is often very bad and transportation unreliable. This applies to roads, bridges, and dams as well as facilities such as power and water provisions. You may face power outages, floods, and water shortages.
Always be well-prepared when staying, visiting or traveling anywhere in Iraq. Plan your visit from A to Z, from paperwork to transportation and from accommodation to private security services in Iraq. Do not forget always to have a rescue plan in place and assess your risks on a daily or hourly basis for flexible adjustments to your evacuation plan.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PRIVATE SECURITY SERVICE PROVIDER IN IRAQ
Today, planning your visit and regularly updating your evacuation plan is not enough to do business or cover the news in Iraq. Certainly not for the capital Baghdad. As an internationally operating protection agency, we approach your visit on two angles.
First, we use our extensive network in the Middle East, including inside Iraq. Our network in Iraq can help us assess the (local) risks and provide armed protection officers in a second protection circle. The network outside Iraq updates us on the news from outside the country as well as with evacuation & emergency response operations in the case of an emergency.
The second angle is an armed close protection team. This armed close protection team consists of English and Arabic speaking former government close protection officers. They understand the local culture, habits, and traditions. They know how to adapt and are familiar with the Muslim religion. Our teams are highly-skilled in advanced (armored) driving, remote medical and de-escalation procedures.
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