Washington Post Interview. It’s important to understand that the Middle East is not a monolith, says C.K. Redlinger, a former U.S. government security contractor who lived in the region for 12 years. While there may be some cultural similarities among certain countries, each has its own government, beliefs and customs. The same is true when it comes to levels of safety and security, says Redlinger, now president of MissionX, a team of Special Operations veterans who advise TV and film productions on military portrayals and organize extreme adventure vacations, including some in the region. So to make an informed decision about moving forward with travel plans, you must research the specific destination.