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    Default Britain forms plan for Gulf evacuation in event of war with Iran

    Britain forms plan for Gulf evacuation in event of war with Iran
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...with-Iran.html

    The British armed forces are drawing up contingency plans to evacuate hundreds of thousands of British residents and tourists from Dubai and other Gulf cities in the event of war with Iran.

    The Coalition government under David Cameron ordered an immediate review of British military planning in the Gulf after the election last May. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that new proposals are being drawn up to coordinate military activity in the region with local allies hostile to Iran, particularly the United Arab Emirates.
    Planners have realised they had to tear up existing emergency plans for local British residents. Since the previous review in the 1990s, the expatriate population has grown to more than 100,000 in the UAE alone, while a million British tourists, from businessmen on stopovers to England footballers with marital problems, come to Dubai every year.
    It is feared they might be at risk if, as it has promised, Iran retaliates for any military strikes on its nuclear sites with missile attacks on "western interests" in the Gulf.
    Royal Navy warships, along with their American and French counterparts, regularly patrol the Gulf and tie up in UAE ports, while Iran has also threatened to mine the strategically crucial Straits of Hormuz.
    The region's gearing up for the possibility of a war stands in contrast to the relaxing tourists on beaches or the opulent expat villa compounds.

    In the last year, the United Nations, the US and Europe have all imposed heavy sanctions on Iran. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, was one of a number of regional Arab leaders revealed in Wikileaks cables to have been pressing for even tougher action. Diplomats say he has also been the key mover, along with William Hague, the foreign secretary, in demanding an upgrading of Britain's traditional military ties with its former colonial protectorates in the Gulf.
    He has also personally raised the issue of the safety of the foreign population, which makes up 70 per cent of the UAE's 4.5 million residents.
    The new military co-operation plan, whose full terms remain secret, will be signed off in the first half of 2011, when Mr Cameron is expected to visit. It is regarded as such a priority that it is being protected from defence cuts.
    The plan is also expected to include an offer from Britain to help to keep vital infrastructure such as electricity and water desalination plants running in the event of war.
    Meanwhile, proposals are being drawn up to organise evacuation runs for civilians across the border to Oman, which is not currently in Iran's sights, and other neighbouring countries.
    Cruise liners may be posted in the Gulf of Aden, with Royal Navy warships shuttling civilians from the small emirate of Fujeirah, which lies outside the Straits of Hormuz. Depending on assessments of the safety of civilian flights, extra airfields in addition to the region's extensive network of international airports may be opened up.
    Diplomats are keen to stress that embassies around the world are required to maintain contingency plans for British citizens facing all kinds of disasters and emergencies. In the Middle East, they usually entail recommending expatriates stay put and maintain a low profile – as, for example, during the Gulf War. "The physical requirements to move this many people means that we would try to delay evacuation as long as possible," said another Gulf-based diplomat.
    But as Iran refuses to dismantle its nuclear programme, the potential for disaster is not being discounted. "It is a huge number of people who are affected here," the source said. "There are over 100,000 Brits who live here, one million Brits who visit every year. Their safety is a matter of particular concern."
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    Iran - an interesting country.




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