Two major United States allies, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, issued travel warnings to their citizens visiting the U.S. following the recent police shootings of two Black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, which have led to major protests, putting the U.S. at the center of international attention over its police killings and targeting of Black and Brown people.
Using similar language to that of the U.S. State Department when it warns its own citizens against traveling to countries hit by unrest, the UAE urged its students and other citizens in the U.S. to also be careful.
"Please be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places when possible," the UAE embassy said in a statement Sunday. "Exercise particular caution during large festivals or events, be alert and stay safe."
Meanwhile the Bahraini embassy in the U.S. urged its citizens via Twitter to "be cautious of protests or crowded areas occurring around the U.S."
These latest travel warnings come just days after the Bahamas, a Caribbean nation where most people identify as being of African heritage, warned its people Friday to be careful when visiting U.S. cities rocked by "shootings of young Black males by police officers."
The U.S. regularly issues travel warnings: in July alone, the United States issued travel warnings for Bangladesh, Venezuela, Iraq and Mali.
Activists and governments have repeatedly said that Washington’s frequent and abundant travel warnings are used in some cases to target countries that have bad relations with the U.S. in what would aid in exaggerating the extent of the unrest or crisis to target the nations’ governments.
In fact travel warnings and critical statements from the U.S. tend to be less frequent or simply non-existent when the countries suffering unrest and crises are Washington’s allies, as is the case for the UAE and Bahrain.
The UAE, one of the world’s major oil producers and a key Washington ally, has banned protests and demonstrations and social media websites are closely monitored by authorities.
Also several local lawyers and activists who have called for protests and reform have been jailed and had their citizenship revoked over what the UAE government calls links to terrorism.
Meanwhile, the small kingdom of Bahrain faced its own massive protests at the height of the Arab Spring in 2011 in which up to 35 people were killed due to a major government crackdown on the majority Shiite population leading the protests.
At the time, the U.S. expressed its support for the government. Saudi Arabia sent 1,000 troops and the UAE sent 500 troops to aid the government in cracking down on the protests.
Additionally, several human rights organizations and activists accused the government of Bahrain of widespread state torture against its dissident citizens during the arrests and imprisonments.
The U.S. for the most part stayed silent on conditions in those countries and other international allies.