September 22, 2007:
a year ago, Saudi Arabia, announced that it would spend $12 billion to build a
high-tech barrier wall along its 900 kilometer border with Iraq. Work was
supposed to begin this year, but didn't. The fence was to be finished in 2009.
This was intended to keep out Sunni radicals who wish to overthrow the monarchy
and establish a Sunni Islamic republic, as well as Shia radicals who want to establish
a Shia Islamic republic. The fence would also crack down on smuggling, which
has been rampant along this border since the kingdom was established in the
But then some government
officials complained about the cost. Despite the high price of oil, Saudi
Arabia is still having money problems. A growing population, with too many
young people not willing to work as hard as all the imported help, puts an
enormous financial burden on the kingdom. Building this fence, as designed,
would require a lot more foreign experts and imported technology. So the
security people were sent back to the drawing board, and came up with a cheaper
solution, that would put more unskilled young Saudis to work. The new design,
that will only cost a billion dollars, consists of two barbed wire fences, and
lots of radars, heat sensing devices (infrared "radar") and other sensors. This
would take less than a year to built, and would put plenty of people to work
setting up 1,800 kilometers of fence, and installing the electronic devices.
The new security fence will do the job as well as the old design, cost a lot
less, and employ lots of Saudis.