Trowers ups alert in Bahrain ahead of war

Trowers & Hamlins has placed its Bahrain office on near full alert in response to the escalation of tension in the region.
The office is now on level four alert, giving staff the option to leave if they wish. At level five, the highest level, all but a skeleton staff must leave and those who remain can only do so on a voluntary basis.
Trowers increased its level of alert today (Tuesday 18 March) from level one in response to Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warnings that all westerners should leave the country. Martin Amison, head of Trowers’ international projects, said the basis of the FCO’s concern is that Bahrain is within striking range of Iraqi scud missiles.
Other local lawyers say the worries stem from an upsurge in anti-western feeling following the arrest last week of five Bahrainis.
Trowers’ four other Middle Eastern offices are at level one alert, meaning business as usual although staff are urged to be vigilant.
Lawyers and their families who leave Bahrain have the choice of either going to Abu Dhabi, where accommodation has been set aside, or to London.
Trowers’ established its own levels of alert several years ago and issued threat action plans to all its Middle Eastern offices. Content varies from office to office and the rules are occasionally altered as new situations arise.
Other security efforts have included consulting with local consulate generals and ensuring embassy information flows freely to law firms via local wardens who represent businesses in the region.
While work remains steady, some deals have slowed down because of practical difficulties. Trowers has effectively put Jordon off-limits from lawyer visits with the result that negotiations for a local pipeline deal, using Egyptian gas, will now take place in Cairo.
Middle Eastern governments are also proving slower to approve deals whilst they are preoccupied with the prospect of hostilities. One lawyer said the Abu Dhabi government has failed after several days to sign its approval for the massive Umm-Al-Nar power project. Normally it would be keen to issue a response immediately, the source said.