Is Saudi Arabia terrified of its neighbors?
The country with the largest border fence market in the world is Saudi Arabia with a forecasted budget (2009-2018) of $20 billion.
Saudi Arabia first built a separation barrier along its 900km(560 miles) border with Iraq. After the northern security barriers where finished construction began on a separation barrier along the 1,800km(1,100 mi) border with Yemen. Then Saudi Arabia tripled the length of its border security barriers to additionally cover Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE; with a final cost estimate close to $40 billion.
In 2011, the Saudis increased their Homeland Security & Public Safety procurement budget by 46%; cumulative cost $70 billion, making them the highest per capital spenders on Homeland Security & Public Safety in the world. Saudi Arabia is almost entirely walled in.
In 2014, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah inaugurated the first phase of the border security project along the northern frontier of the kingdom, soon after ISIS’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 centers, 10 mobile surveillance vehicles, 32 rapid-response centers, and three rapid intervention squads, reports Janes.com. The capture of the Mosques at Medina and Mecca is a key ISIS objective.
Saudi Arabia’s policy for homeland security spending is: “No Expense Spared.” High-tech border security. A border security system of fences, watchtowers, radar, day/night cameras, communications with links to command centers, razor-wire fence, sand berm barriers, no-man-land areas, and mines.
The less populated desert areas have a virtual barrier comprising satellite monitoring, cameras, radar, electronic sensors, coastal detection centers and reconnaissance airships to detect intruders and send patrols. The sea border is monitored by the coast guard and port authorities. The Saudis have fortified and continue to fortify their homeland.
Saudi Arabia is concerned about extremists, militants, the Shiite crescent in Syria and Lebanon, instability in Yemen, instability in Iraq, Al Qaeda, and Saudi terrorist (there are Saudis fighting alongside ISIS in Iraq). There is also concern about illegal workers and smugglers (drugs, alcohol, weapons).
The Iraq border security barrier has a 7-meter high sand berm that runs along the border that is in front of a 8 km stretch of no-mans-land, barbed-wire fences, state-of-the-art high tech face recognition software, movement sensors, and cameras.
Some Saudis support ISIS and see it not as a bloodthirsty bunch of out-of-control terrorists but as a disciplined force safeguarding the rights of the region’s Sunnis, a sort of bulwark against Iran and its “heretical” Shiite allies.
Isis has been very public about its intention to attack Saudi Arabia. As ISIS moves nearer to the Iraq Saudi shared border, Saudi Arabia deployed 30,000 soldiers to the border after Iraqi forces abandoned the area.
The UAE began erecting fences along its borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman in 2005.
photo on right from nuqudy
The border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen runs through mountains in the west and the barren Empty Quarter in the east.
Since the Taif treaty in 1934 Saudi Araia and Yemen have disputed their border. In 1999, the discovery of oil in the disputed zone lead to the Saudi government building a military city near the border and occasionally violence flared between the two countries. In 2000, both countries signed the Jeddah treaty, it still left unresolved large tracts of the border.
In 2010, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano met Saudi leaders to discuss a range of security programs, including training, joint exercises, intelligence and arms sales. Officials said both the Americans and Saudis agreed that the Iranian-backed Shiite insurgency from Yemen was the leading threat to Riyad.
The 1,800km(1,100mi) Saudi Yemen border fence runs from the Red Sea coast in the west to the border of Oman in the east. Threats to Saudi Arabia emanate from Yemen: fighters from Al Qaeda, Shiite insurgents, drugs and arms smuggling. Daily hundreds of illegal migrants are caught and sent back to Yemen.
The security barriers are sort of screens?
Talal Anqawi, the head of Saudi Arabia’s border guards, dismissed any parallels to Israel’s security barrier.
The barrier of pipes and concrete could in no way be called a separation fence. What is being constructed inside our borders with Yemen is a sort of screen … which aims to prevent infiltration and smuggling, he said. It does not resemble a wall in any way.
Anqawi’s distinction is unclear as only 3% of Israel’s security fence is concrete; and that is in the West Bank area where snipers can shoot motorists.
Some Muslims see the Saudi regime as disobedient and contray to Islam and squandering the wealth of the nation as millions of people suffer daily. Some Saudi Arabians support terrorist groups financially and Saudi Arabia’s financial involvement also includes its large charitable organizations that support terrorist groups.
Saudi Arabia provides the ideological backdrop that spawns global terrorism with the spread of Wahhabism Islam. All this may come home to roast and the Saudi regime seems terrified and continues to build walls and security monitoring systems on its borders.