Home Global Village Countries risk the lives of their citizens at the Korean Winter Olympics

Countries risk the lives of their citizens at the Korean Winter Olympics

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Adel Karim |

Recently British Foreign Office (FO) outlined the countries where terrorists are “very likely” or “likely” to strike during various national and Christian holidays. According to the latest analysis, the list of the countries under imminent threat includes the United States, France, Germany, Russia, the whole North of Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula, as well as India, Australia and a number of East Asian countries.

A study conducted on the basis of the terrorist attacks carried out around the world in the past year shows that such radical Islamist groups as ISIS are becoming more desperate and brutal. The FO notices: “Increasingly terrorists look for targets that aren’t [in] well-protected places and where westerners can be found.” Consequently, thousands of Americans and Europeans outside their countries on business and tourist trips are in greater danger than at home.

Common people can pay the highest price for shortsighted economic policies, political blunders, war and serious violations of human rights made by their authorities.

This can be also judged by the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017. A sharp decline in tourism activity due to a real threat to the life of tourists is evident in a number of unstable countries. The 2017 Global Terrorism Index has also mapped holiday destinations including Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, and the Philippines in the 20 riskiest countries for traveling. At the same time, the safest places are Iceland, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Rwanda.

Read more: Will ISIS attack the 2018 Winter Olympics?

Jihadists have already taken advantage of holidays and large public events to carry out their attacks. ISIS committed a number of major terrorist attacks on the eve of the New Year in Russia on December 27th, and in Egypt on December 29th, 2017.. An image of a young man standing in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City snapping a selfie while wearing a logo for the Islamic State militant group is also creating a climate of insecurity and risk for societies.

The photo was originally posted through closed pro-ISIS telegram channels and chats beloved by the radicals for its anonymity around December 30th, 2017, and then widely spread to Google Plus, according to an intelligence group that monitors online propaganda from ISIS.

Such confusion can play into the hands of extremists and get them the possibility to demonstrate their strength. Undermining key facilities of the Olympic infrastructure, ISIS-jihadists would just try to avenge their losses.

Where and how would the next terrorist attack be conducted, what would be the force of the blast, its bloody results and the probable consequences remains a mystery. Only the landmark political, cultural and other events of 2018, as well as the favorite public holidays including Christian ones, are well-known. Europeans and Americans like to be involved in the festive events of cross-national Martin Luther King’s Day, Epiphany, Good Friday, Easter, and Independence Days of different states when traveling abroad. When is the next a challenge to the international community expected?

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Do not forget about the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea’s Pyeongchang. A key sporting event can undoubtedly attract the attention of radicals around the world. Thousands of athletes, coaches, high-ranking officials including representatives of the sports elite and ordinary tourists from all over the world will go to the Olympics. Ensuring the security of such a huge number of people has become a serious hardship for the South Korean authorities.

Evacuation by sea is also possible; however, large seaports suitable for transferring such a huge number of people are located only in the southern part of the Korean peninsula.

Meanwhile, an official representative of the Korean Organizing Committee claimed, Seoul still did not agree upon and provide detailed final emergency evacuation plan for the guests of the peninsula if a real terrorist threat occurs, despite the involvement of the experts from the security services of other states into the process of working out the document. This state of affairs seems at least strange, given the fact that the East Asian countries have also fallen into the list of states under a serious and credible threat to commit any terrorist offense.

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It is noteworthy that there is Yangyang (YNY, KR) civil airport, WonJu/Hoengseong (WJU, KR) and Jeonju (CHN, KR) dual-use airports, and also Gunsan AB, (KUZ, KR) in the suburbs of Pyeongchang located not less than 50 kilometers from the city of Pyeongchang. Evacuation by sea is also possible; however, large seaports suitable for transferring such a huge number of people are located only in the southern part of the Korean peninsula.

The photo was originally posted through closed pro-ISIS telegram channels and chats beloved by the radicals for its anonymity around December 30th, 2017, and then widely spread to Google Plus.

Keeping in mind the fact that the Games are to be held in less than a month, the security issue of thousands of civilians during the major international multi-sport event remains open. Such confusion can play into the hands of extremists and get them the possibility to demonstrate their strength. Undermining key facilities of the Olympic infrastructure, ISIS-jihadists would just try to avenge their losses.

Perhaps it’s time for the Western countries to ponder the question of ensuring the security of their citizens in other countries. Common people can pay the highest price for shortsighted economic policies, political blunders, war and serious violations of human rights made by their authorities.

Adel Karim is an independent investigative journalist. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

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