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October 03, 2006

Between Fences and Walls


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What, you haven't heard? A new "wall" is going up in the Middle East. You didn't read angry letters to the editors? Irate condemnations from human rights groups? You didn't hear about the international wrath?

Maybe that's because this time it is Saudi Arabia--not Israel--which is trying to keep out terrorists. The physical features of Israel's fence and the planned Saudi fence, as described Thursday in the International Herald Tribune, sound quite similar:

In a sign of regional concern over terrorism, Saudi Arabia is pushing ahead with plans to build a fence along its entire border with Iraq to prevent terrorists from entering the kingdom from the chaotic north.

The 900-kilometer, or 560-mile, barrier is part of a $12 billion package of measures including electronic sensors, bases and physical barriers to protect the kingdom from external threats, said Nawaf Obaid, head of the Saudi National Security Assessment Project, an independent research institute that provides security advice to the Saudi government. It is expected that five to six years will be needed to complete the barricade. . . .

Although the government in Riyadh has not released complete details of its plans, experts familiar with the project said it would include sensors and ultraviolet cameras capable of detecting any attempt to breach the fence. The fence will not be electrified, but it will have sensors capable of alerting security forces if anyone tries to cut through the links, the experts said on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about the project to media.

The Middle East Economic Digest, a regional newsmagazine, reported this month that it would contain a double- lined fence with 135 electronically controlled gates, fence-mounted ultraviolet intruder detection sensors, buried radio detection sensors, and concertina razor wire along the entire desert frontier.

So, where's the uproar about the Saudi "wall"?

Posted by TS at October 3, 2006 05:26 AM

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