Desert Invasion - U.S.
Saudi electrified fence along the whole border with Iraq
By Staff writers, Aljazeera.com
April 20, 2006
Worried that sectarian violence in Iraq could spread to neighboring countries, Saudi Arabia is considering a major fortification of its 900km desert border with Iraq, according to an article on The Christian Science Monitor.
"The government is thinking of building an electrified fence along the whole border with Iraq in case things go really badly in Iraq, and it starts falling apart," a Saudi security adviser said on condition of anonymity because the government hasn’t made any official announcement about the border plans. However, Saudi authorities have admitted that they are devising plans to strengthen the country’s border defenses. "We are currently conducting a study on technical defense systems which we can use to beef up security measures along the border," Mansour al-Turki, an Interior Ministry spokesman, told the daily Al-Riyadh.
The Saudi border with Iraq lies mostly in the desert. A 20-foot-tall sand berm along its entire length provides the first line of defense. Parallel to that is a second berm and a barbed wire fence, with a six-mile-wide no-man's land separating the two barriers. Despite the fortified barriers and the extensive electronic surveillance by Saudi border guards, who use motion detectors and night-vision cameras, some American officials claim that fighters have been sneaking across the Saudi border into Iraq to join the Iraqi resistance. But a top European diplomat accused the Americans of not doing enough to secure Iraq’s borders. “We're impressed with what the Saudis are doing. The problem is with the Americans in Iraq. The American-controlled side of the Iraqi border is less secure because they don't have enough troops deployed there."
A recent study, based on government data and conducted by Saudi defense analyst Nawaf Obaid, found that the Saudi kingdom has spent $1.8 billion to secure its border with Iraq since 2004. "But this amount has been mostly for the deployment of additional troops on the border and not for actual physical defenses," Obaid said....
Saudi Arabia also believes that its border with Yemen poses a great risk. The 900-mileborder with Yemen has long been a transit point for fighters as well as smugglers of weapons and drugs. Running through mountains in the west into Saudi Arabia's barren Empty Quarter in the east, the border with Yemen has been difficult to patrol and impossible to seal off completely. In an attempt to control the porous border, Saudi Arabia started building a fence but was forced to suspend the project in 2004 after strong protests from the Yemeni government.
"The Saudi government has a habit of overspending on security, and the Yemeni fence project will cost upwards of over $10 billion once it is finished," says Ali al-Ahmad, director of the Institute for Gulf Affairs...
...Western security and construction firms are ready to execute the project. "A consortium of British, French, and American firms are interested in bidding for a contract to improve border security," the European diplomat confirmed.
Read the complete article.
In order to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.