A bulletin to travelers and expatriates, issued by the State Department, came less than a day after the department announced that it was closing American diplomatic missions in the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere through the weekend because of an unspecified terrorism threat.
“The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula,” read the bulletin, by the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. “Current information suggests that Al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.”
The bulletin did not advise against travel to any particular country, but it admonished American citizens to be particularly mindful of their surroundings, especially in tourist areas, and recommended that they register their travel plans with the State Department.
I deal in snark and sarcasm a lot here in reference to “the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the earth” (case in point), and I have my issues with how this administration has dealt with the “War on Terror,” but they have not played fast and loose with issuing alerts like this (unlike another administration I could name). Given that, I’d be inclined to take this seriously. I’ve been an expat myself (though not in an especially risky place), so I’m sympathetic to other folks in that circumstance. Please, if you’re living, working, and/or traveling abroad right now, be safe and don’t take any crazy risks. Absolutely stay in touch with the US embassy or consulate nearest your location.