Do you know Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, and Oman are the safest Middle Eastern countries?
The Middle East has a lot to offer to travelers. Middle Eastern countries provide majestic landscapes, rich cultures, exotic food, mystic deserts (from Sahara to Arabian), tall buildings, and lavish lifestyles. Despite the distorted image created by the media, most places there are safe to explore.
The Middle East has so much to offer to the world. The Middle East offers ultimate adventures of the Sahara Desert, magical nights in the Arabian Desert, the mystic Pyramids, lots of oil and gold reserves, and the splendors of the world’s tallest buildings (Burj Khalifa.)
But is it safe to travel to the Middle East?
If you want to know which are the safest Middle Eastern countries, then fret not! We have got you covered. Here, we present the Top 5 Safest Middle Eastern Countries as per the Global Peace Index Rankings of 2021 by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
Please note all Middle Eastern countries are not entirely safe. Whenever (or if) you plan to visit do gather all the information on safety before traveling to the Middle East.
A Sneak into Global Peace Index 2021
The Global Peace Index by the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) measures global peacefulness in 163 countries. The GPI uses 23 quantitative and qualitative indicators to assess peacefulness in each country. Scores of three domains — the Safety and Security levels in the society, the level of Ongoing Conflict (domestic and international conflicts), and the level of Militarisation — determine the GPI score.
Many factors are taken into account to calculate the GPI Index, including crime rates, violent demonstrations, political instability, terrorist activities, homicides, and many others, click here for more.
Overall, in 2021, the world’s peacefulness only deteriorated by 0.07%. The Militarisation domain showed an improvement (since 2008), mainly due to improvement in military expenditures indicator. Safety and Security and the Ongoing Conflict (Internal and External conflicts) domains showed deterioration.
Europe continues its streak as the safest continent on earth, with 13 out of 20 most peaceful countries coming from this region. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) experienced the largest improvements in peace this year. Qatar turned out to be the safest country in the region. Terrorism, deaths by internal conflicts, and internal conflicts fought indicators improved this year. On the other hand, the North American region showed the largest deterioration in peacefulness than any other region.
This year Iceland tops the list of most peaceful countries with a GPI score of 1.1, followed by New Zealand with 1.253, Denmark and Portugal with 1.256 and 1.267, respectively.
Since 2008, Iceland has been consistently on the top of the list of safest countries. This year, the country experienced a slight deterioration in its GPI due to poor scores in homicide and military expenditures indicators.
Similarly, Afghanistan (3.631), Yemen (3.407), Syria (3.371), and South Sudan (3.363) lie at the bottom spectrum and continue to rank as the least peaceful countries.
Safest Middle Eastern Countries
The Middle East is a colossal region with 15 countries. While most countries share similarities, some are entirely different from others. For instance, Iran and Saudi Arabia are totally different (as different as Italy and France). Iranians are Persians, and the majority practice Shia jurisdiction. On other hand, Saudi Arabia is an Arab state with Sunni Muslims in the majority.
Some countries in the region are; Iraq, UAE, Iran, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, Qatar, Syria, Egypt, and others.
Global Peace Index and the Middle East
The Middle East and North Africa region is the least peaceful region. The region is home to the three least peaceful countries. This year, the region showed the biggest improvements in overall peacefulness than any other region, mainly due to the Ongoing Conflict domain improvements. The most peaceful country in this region ranked 29th on the Global Peace Index.
Despite all this, the peace situation in the region is drastically improving. The impacts of terrorism, the casualties due to internal conflicts, and the degree of internal conflicts continued to fall even this year.
Let’s now discuss the safest Middle Eastern countries.
Qatar | Rank 29th
The country with the world’s third-biggest natural gas and oil reserves, Qatar is a high-income economy. Qatar ranks first among all countries in the MENA region with a GPI of 1.605 in 2021 (1.590 in 2020). The country is the safest Middle Eastern country. Qatar saw an improvement in the Ongoing Conflict domain due to improvement in its relationship with neighboring countries indicator after restoring its diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia and its allies.
Qatar has experienced deterioration in the Militarisation domain due to military expenditures as a percentage of GDP and commitment to UN peacemaking indicators scores. This year country pledged US $200,000, which is less than its previous support to the UN peacemaking program.
Similarly, the Safety and Security domain has also seen a slight deterioration due to homicide indicator. Still, the country ranks in the 15th spot on Societal Safety and Security domain global ranking.
Kuwait | Rank 36th
Kuwait is one of the richest countries per capita and is rich in oil. This year the country’s GPI improved in comparison to the last year. This year, Kuwait scored 1.688, compared to 1.695 last year. Based on the GPI score, Kuwait lies in the 2nd spot in our list of the safest Middle Eastern countries and the 36th spot globally.
This year the Militarization domain showed slight deterioration with a score of 1.916 (1.86 in 2020). The military expenditures and weapons import indicators deterioration account for decreasing peacefulness. This year country increased its Ministry of Defence budget by 37% and spent a considerable amount on fighter aircraft and battle tanks.
Domestic and International Conflict or Ongoing Conflict scores remained the same, while Safety and Security showed an improvement. The improvement in perceived criminality in society indicator accounts for such an improvement.
UAE | Rank 52nd
UAE, the federation consisting of seven emirates, is the most sought-after destination due to its skyscrapers, sandy beaches, shopping malls, restaurants, and overall extravaganza. The country with a 1.848 score stands in 52nd spot globally and the third spot among the safest Middle Eastern countries. Overall, the peacefulness situation improved this year as compared to the last year.
The Ongoing Conflict domain pretty much remained the same. While Militarisation saw a slight deterioration due to military expenditures. The Safety and Security domain enhanced the peacefulness due to improvement in perceived criminality in society indicator.
Jordan | Rank 63rd
The land of Jerash, Wadi Rum, Dead Sea, and other more than 100,000 archaeological and religious views, Jordan maintained its 63rd ranking with a 1.916 score (1.923 in 2020). The country lies in the 4th spot on our list of safest Middle Eastern countries. All the domain scores remained the same this year as last year.
Oman | Rank 73rd
Oman’s global ranking remained the same, with a minute difference in scores — 1.982 in 2021 (1.986 in 2020). The country is the 5th safest Middle Eastern Country. This year saw a slight deterioration in the Ongoing Conflict domain and improvement in the Militarisation domain. There is a lot to explore in this country of ancient oasis irrigation system, green turtles, stream valleys, terraced orchards, fortresses, mosques, and the world’s third-biggest yacht.
The Final Roundup
The Middle East and North African region stayed the least peaceful region this year. However, the region recorded the biggest improvements in peacefulness more than any other region. 15 out of 20 countries’ GPI scores improved this year. The Ongoing Conflict domain improvements account for enhancing peacefulness in this region.
Qatar proved to be the safest country in the Middle East, while Yemen was the least safe country. Other safest Middle Eastern countries are Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, and Oman.