On Friday, Sept. 5, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced that the kingdom is about to build a fence to protect its northern border from infiltration by “infiltrators and smugglers,” according to Saudi media.
The fence will cover approximately 560 miles. It will include five layers of fencing, reinforced by surveillance by watch towers, night-vision cameras and radar.
Iraq is Saudi Arabia’s northern neighbor, and relations between the two Arab Muslim countries have been, well, less than neighborly. According to the Saudis, outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki is to blame for the jihadist insurgency in his country. Al-Maliki is responsible, so the Saudi line goes, because he marginalized the Sunni minority, which enraged them to such a pitch they became homicidal genocidal bloodthirsty brutal murderers. As if al-Maliki is singlehandedly responsible for the birth and spreading contagion of ISIS.
FENCE ERECTED ALONG SOUTHERN BORDER OF THE KINGDOM IN 2013
It was only last year that the kingdom erected a fence along its southern border, in order to protect itself from Yemen, with which it shares a border more than 1100 miles long. Yemen was considered a base for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which last year was considered one of the most deadly of the Islamist terror groups. Now the south looks like child’s play and the northern neighbor needs to be kept out at all costs.
Saudi Arabia decided that expensive fences make better neighbors, and so it began the process of erecting the border on its southern flank after Yemen’s long term president, Ali Abdallah Saleh, stepped down in 2012, further destabilizing a region already on tenterhooks.
Saudi Arabia is not the only country in the world which has decided it makes more sense to protect its borders from infiltration by those who want to smuggle contraband including drugs and weapons, or even terrorists.
There is a barbed wire separating North and South korea, there is a 1690 miles long wall in the Western Sahara, the U.S. built a fence/wall on its southern flank with Mexico. The U.S. hope for that fence is to keep out the southern neighbors many of whom want jobs in the U.S., and there is a fence built by Zimbabwe to keep out Botswana’s starving citizens.
And, of course, there is a security fence around much of Israel which is intended to keep out those who wish to murder Israelis.