The Great Wall of Saudi ArabiaRemember 1996, back in the previous century? That was the year Braveheart won the Best Picture Oscar and Michael Jordan was the MVP in the NBA finals which Chicago won against Seattle.
. . . Saudi Arabia is building a 600-mile great wall. Saudi Arabia is building a massive fence 600 miles long. It’s a combined fence and ditch. Its purpose is to separate Saudi Arabia from Iraq to the north. Most of the area on the Iraqi side of the border of Saudi Arabia is now controlled by ISIS, or ISIL. But they’re not just building a 600-mile fence. And, by the way, why are they building the fence? They’re building the fence to keep ISIS out. And you know why? Because fences work. It’s not just a fence, folks. This is a five-layered fence, and it has ditches.
This is a massive construction project. It has berms, it has razor wire, thermal sensors, radar, and helicopters. It is a full protection security system, 500 miles of that. Stop and think for a moment a 500-mile, five-layered fence. This is not just a bunch of stakes in the ground with some barbed wire running. There are guard towers every so many feet, miles, whatever, the trenches are deep. They are all packed with sensors to detect anybody trying to cross. And if you get caught you’re gonna be beheaded. They don’t mess around.
That was also the year that ICE Commissioner Doris Meissner declared that controlling the border “would be a three- to five-year effort,” putting success at 2001 at the latest:
California Border Patrols Busier Than Ever, by Louis Freedberg, San Francisco Chronicle, January 31, 1996Even so, any Washington discussion of illegal immigration these days always includes an earnest declaration that America’s borders must be secured for sure, although never with specifics of when.
Meissner said that controlling the border is going to be a long-term, step-by-step process. “We’ve always said this would be a three- to five-year effort to build up to what would be needed,” she said.
Below, a diagram of the features of the Saudi border fortifications.
Meanwhile, much of America’s border has a fence like the unserious one below.
The Great Wall of Saudi Arabia: Kingdom plans to build 600-mile barrier from Jordan to Kuwait in response to the threat of an invasion by ISIS, Daily Mail (UK), January 15, 2015
The Saudi royal family are building a 600-mile barrier to fortify the northern frontier of their kingdom.
The fence and ditch, punctuated with radar surveillance towers, command centres and guard posts, aims to protect the Saudis’ oil-rich territory from invasion by the Islamic State insurgency.
Last week a suicide bombing and gun attack which killed two Saudi border guards and their commanding officer was styled by one analyst as the Islamic State’s first attack on the kingdom.
No group claimed responsibility for the assault in a remote desert area, but it happened just next to Iraq’s Anbar province where Islamic State militants are fighting Iraqi army forces.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud inaugurated the first phase of the border security project in September, soon after Islamic State’s Sunni insurgency swept across Iraq.
The multi-layered barrier, which will eventually stretch across the Saudi-Iraq border from Jordan to Kuwait, includes 78 monitoring towers, eight command centres, 10 mobile surveillance vehicles, 32 rapid-response centres, and three rapid intervention squads, reports Janes.com.
Citing a promotional video, the defence industry magazine reported the six-mile-deep barrier consists of a ditch, two fences and a patrol road connecting the watchtowers and guard rooms. The video included footage of thermal imagers and battlefield radar systems that can detect individuals at up to 12 miles away and vehicles at up to 24 miles away.
Islamic State sees Saudi Arabia’s links to the West as a betrayal of Islam and has called for ‘lone-wolf’ attacks against Saudi security forces, the Shi’ite Muslim minority and foreigners.
Saudi forces have joined U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State positions in Syria and mobilised conservative Sunni clergy to describe the ideology of the al Qaeda offshoot as deviant.
Expansion of the Islamic State could turn into an existential struggle for the Saudi regime, which many hardline Islamists see as decadent and corrupt.
A key goal of jihadists is the ultimate capture of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home to the Two Holy Mosques of Mecca and Medina.
Relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia have already been deeply strained.
Riyadh has accused former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of creating the conditions for the jihadist insurgency in his country by marginalising its Sunni Arab minority.
Maliki in turn has accused the oil-rich kingdom of supporting ‘terrorism’ in Shi’ite-majority Iraq.
Three of the four killed in last week’s raid were Saudi nationals who local media described as members of the ‘deviant group’, a phrase authorities use to describe Al Qaeda.
Three more Saudi nationals and four Syrians have since been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the attack.