Back in April, the US quietly warned citizens of "credible threats" to tourist areas in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul and the southern resort city of Antalya. In retrospect, one historic suicide bombing at the local airport, and one failed and/or staged coup later, the warning had been spot on. Which is why while traditionally official warnings of upcoming threats to US citizens around the globe have been generally ignored, this time it may be prudent to pay attention.
Moments ago, the US State Department warned Americans in Saudi Arabia about a “potential, imminent threat against U.S. citizens” Wednesday and urged to travel with caution. The agency tweeted out a brief statement titled “Reports of a potential imminent threat” in Jeddah.
The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia was aware of threats to areas frequented by Westerners, such as “markets, restaurants and shopping malls,” among others, the alert said. Those in the kingdom should “take extra precautions,” the warning noted.
Americans who planned to head to Saudi Arabia should limit “non-essential travel” and carefully weigh the risks, the State Department added. The agency also restricted U.S. government personnel in the country from traveling within 50 miles of the border with Yemen.
They were also prohibited from visiting larger cities in regions recently hit by violence. “Keep your security and situational awareness levels very high. Be prepared to postpone or cancel activities for personal safety concerns,” the advisory concluded.
The travel warning came roughly five hours after a similar announcement from the State Department warning Americans in Turkey to move with caution; that particular warning was probably unnecessary.
Unlike the constant barrage of terrorism in Turkey whether real of staged, Saudi Arabia has seen relatively stable in recent months, although two weeks ago a suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the US consulate in Jeddah.
Should the State Department be prescient again, keep an eye on oil prices because while Turkey is relatively irrelevant as an oil producer, a few well-placed explosions in Saudi Arabia could quickly stop out all recent crude shorts.