Alex you are right about the Gulf carriers and their impact, and I mentioned TK also having this as their flights are less of a diversion. You also rightly mention the secondary points they can serve.
But craigwatson I am not suggesting BA or VS fly into unstable and volotile destinations. Much of Africa has hugely improved. BA has inherited the Freetown, Sierra Leone route from BMI, and has built on this by also serving Monrovia in Liberia. These are two former war torn countries now prospering, and indeed these flights I understand are frequently sold out, perhaps even justifying an upgrade from 763 to 772.
Kigali in Rwanda is now far more stable, Mozambique, which had a major war over decades, is now prosperous, indeed is becoming a Natural Gas major exporter – surely an industry type (oil & gas execs) of interest to airlines offering premium services at premium prices.
Just look at Luanda, Angola! BA, AF & LH are all very keen to have more flights there.These flights even justify the plane sitting on the ground 14 hours.