Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution, again


Message for U.S. Citizens – Worldwide Caution
U.S. Embassy Muscat, Oman
January 24, 2012
1. The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update
information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence
against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. U.S. citizens
are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take
appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces
the Worldwide Caution dated July 26, 2011, to provide updated
information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.
2. The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat
of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against
U.S. citizens and interests overseas. Current information suggests that
al-Qaida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist
organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests
in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle
East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including
suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and
bombings.
3. Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons,
and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets
include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business
offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public
areas, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and
abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during
holidays.
4. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack
public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.
Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail
systems, aviation, and maritime services. In the past several years,
these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London,
Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City.
5. EUROPE: Current information suggests that al-Qaida, its affiliated
organizations and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist
attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. European
governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attack, and
some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions. In the
past several years, attacks have been planned or occurred in various
European cities.
6. MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA: Credible information indicates
terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in
the Middle East and North Africa. For example, Iraq remains dangerous
and unpredictable. U.S. military forces have withdrawn as of December
31, 2011 but the threat of attacks against U.S. citizens, including
kidnapping and terrorist violence, is expected to continue. Methods of
attack have included roadside improvised explosive devices, mortars, and
shootings. Security threat levels remain high in Yemen due to terrorist
activities there. The U.S. Embassy has had to close several times in
response to ongoing threats by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
U.S. citizens as well as other Westerners have been targeted for attack
in Yemen. U.S. citizens have also been the targets of numerous terrorist
attacks in Lebanon in the past (though none recently) and the threat of
anti-Western terrorist activity continues to exist there. In Algeria,
terrorist attacks occur regularly, particularly in the Kabylie region of
the country. In the past, terrorists have targeted oil processing
facilities in both Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Some elements in Iran remain
hostile to the United States. U.S. citizens should remain cautious and
be aware that there may be a more aggressive focus by the Iranian
government on terrorist activity against U.S citizens.
7. The events of last year’s Arab Spring, which affected many countries
in the Middle East including Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria,
have resulted in civil unrest and large-scale protests and
demonstrations. U.S. citizens are warned that demonstrations intended to
be peaceful can escalate into violent clashes. U.S. citizens are
reminded that demonstrations and riots can occur with little or no
warning. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations if
possible and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of a
demonstration.
8. AFRICA: A number of al-Qaida operatives and other extremists are
believed to be operating in and around Africa. Since the July 11, 2010
terrorist bombings in Kampala, Uganda, for which the Somalia-based,
U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization al-Shabaab has claimed
responsibility, there have been increased threats against public areas
across East Africa. The terrorist attacks of October 2011 against the
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union (AU)
peacekeeping forces in Somalia, as well as the grenade attacks against a
nightclub and bus stop in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, highlight the
vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks in East Africa and around the
world. Additionally, the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Lands of the
Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has declared its intention to attack Western
targets throughout the Sahel (which includes Mali, Mauritania, and
Niger). It has claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted
kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners throughout the region,
including southern Algeria. In Nigeria, a group known as Boko Haram
claimed responsibility for an August 26, 2011, suicide bombing attack on
the United Nations Headquarters in Abuja that killed 25 people and
wounded more than 120.
9. U.S. citizens considering travel by sea near the Horn of Africa or in
the southern Red Sea should exercise extreme caution, as there has been
a notable increase in armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for
ransom by pirates. Merchant vessels continue to be hijacked in Somali
territorial waters, while others have been hijacked as far as 1,000
nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya in
international waters.
10. The U.S. government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid
the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the
coast of Somalia. In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa
or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in
convoys and maintain good communications at all times. U.S. citizens
traveling on commercial passenger vessels should consult with the
shipping or cruise ship company regarding precautions that will be taken
to avoid hijacking incidents. Commercial vessels should review the
Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s suggested piracy
countermeasures
for vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden.
11. SOUTH ASIA: The U.S. government continues to receive information
that terrorist groups in South and Central Asia may also be planning
attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. government facilities, U.S.
citizens, or U.S. interests. The presence of al-Qaida and its affiliates
[Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Taiba, indigenous sectarian groups, and
other terror organizations], many of which are on the U.S. government’s
list of Foreign Terror Organizations (FTOs), poses a potential danger to
U.S. citizens in the region. Terrorists and their sympathizers have
demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack targets where U.S.
citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Their actions
may include, but are not limited to, vehicle-born explosive attacks,
improvised explosive device attacks, assassinations, carjackings, rocket
attacks, assaults, or kidnappings.
12. Such attacks have occurred in a number of South Asian states,
including Pakistan, where a number of extremist groups continue to
target U.S. and other Western citizens and interests, and Pakistani
government and military/law enforcement personnel. Suicide bombing
attacks continue to occur throughout the country on a regular basis,
often targeting government authorities such as police checkpoints and
military installations, as well as public areas such as mosques, and
shopping areas. Kidnappings of U.S. citizens are also on the increase.
In Afghanistan, remnants of the former Taliban regime and the al-Qaida
terrorist network, as well as other groups hostile to International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF)/NATO military operations, remain
active. There is an ongoing threat of kidnapping and assassination of
U.S. citizens and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers throughout
the country. There is an increased threat of terrorism in India.
Terrorists have targeted public places in India frequented by
Westerners, including luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations,
markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas.
13. CENTRAL ASIA: Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic
Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the
Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement are active in the Central Asian
region. Members of these groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and
attacked U.S. government interests in the past. Previous terrorist
attacks conducted in Central Asia have involved improvised explosive
devices, suicide bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings.
14. EAST ASIA: Regional and international terrorist organizations remain
active in the region and have attacked U.S. interests in the past.
————————
Before You Go
—————–
15. The Department of State encourages U.S. citizens living overseas or
planning to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment
Program (STEP) . When you
enroll in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and
security announcements. Enrolling will also make it easier for the
Embassy to contact you in the event of an emergency. You should remember
to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly
important when you enroll or update your information to include a
current phone number and e-mail address.
16. U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of
vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to
bolster their personal security. For additional information, please
refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad”
.
17. U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of
alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend
public services to assess their security posture. In those instances,
U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide
emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to
monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S.
embassy or consulate.
18. As the Department of State continues to develop information on
potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible
threat information through its Consular Information Program documents
, including Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts,
Country Specific Information, and Emergency Messages, all of which are
available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at
http://travel.state.gov/. Stay up to date by bookmarking our website or
downloading our free Smart Traveler iPhone App
for
travel information at your fingertips. Follow us on Twitter
and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on
Facebook as well.
19. In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain
up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747
toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a
regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from
8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S.
federal holidays).
*******************************************
U.S. citizens living or traveling in Oman are encouraged to enroll in
the Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
so that they can obtain
updated information on travel and security. U.S. citizens without
Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy
or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. For additional
information, please refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad”.

The U.S. Embassy is located on Jameat A’Duwal Al Arabiya Street in the
diplomatic area of Shatti al Qurum in the capital city of Muscat. The
Embassy is closed on Omani and American holidays. The Embassy’s phone
number is (968) 2464-3400. This new phone number is also for after-hours
emergencies. American Citizens Services are available by appointment

from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday and
between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Monday. When visiting the embassy, please
bring two forms of government-issued identification with photographs, as
you will need to leave one with the security guards while inside the
building.

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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