November 23, 2004
While the use of security firms to protect commercial operations in Iraq receives lots of attention, there are many other parts of the world where private security is in demand. There are many risk management firms that monitor, and rate, the security risk around the world. The list of those places considered dangerous for commercial operations (not to mention tourists) is rather long.
At the top of the list is Iraq, but equally out of control is Chechnya (in Russia), Somalia and the border area between Tajikistan and Afghanistan (because of the drug smuggling). Beyond those very dangerous areas, we have just plain dangerous places like Bangladesh, Burundi, Colombia, Congo, Ivory Coast, Georgia, Haiti, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Yemen and Zimbabwe. There are also a lot of countries where only some areas are considered dangerous. These include Afghanistan, the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh areas inside Azerbaijan. The major cities in Cameroon are very dangerous, as are the northern and northwestern parts of the Central African Republic. The Ethiopian border with Eritrea is dangerous, as are the Somali and Kenyan borders with Ethiopia. These border areas tend to be full of bandits and rebel gunmen. Guatemala is OK, but not the capital (Guatemala City). In Jamaica, Kingston and Spanish Town are dangerous. India is generally safe, except for the northwest (Kashmir) and the northeast (tribal areas). Same with Indonesia, where only certain areas (Aceh, Papua, Central Sulawesi and Malukus) are dangerous. Israel is safe, except for the Palestinian areas. Kenya is OK, except for the border areas with Somalia and Ethiopia. In Kyrgyzstan, stay away from the borders with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In Laos, two provinces have dangerous unrest. In Liberia, the border with Ivory Coast is risky, as is the northeast portion of Macedonia and the Niger Delta in Nigeria. In Panama, the Colombian border is iffy. The major towns of Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby, Lae and Mount Hagen) are full of risks, as are the Upper Huallaga, Apurimac, Ene and Perene valleys in Peru. In the Philippines, parts of the island of Mindanao are dangerous. In Rwanda, the border with Burundi is dangerous. Russia is bad in parts of the Caucasus (Dagestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia). Southern Serbia and Kosovo are bad, as is the Somaliland region of Somalia. Sudan is risky in the west and south. In Uzbekistan the Tajik border and Fergana valley are risky. Finally, stay away from the Colombian border in Venezuela unless you have some reliable hired guns along.
All of these areas have some private security working, and some have a while lot. It depends on how much money is to be made. Where there is oil (as in southern Sudan and the Niger delta), there is plenty of work for security personnel (both local and foreign.)