Almost a week after four terrorists, believed to be Islamic State members, killed three Saudi guards stationed or the border with Iraq, it has been revealed that their target was not just a desert outpost.
They were, in fact, launching an elaborate assault on Saudi Arabia’s latest, highest-profile security measure to shield itself from ISIS – a 965-km (600-mile) fence along its northern border.
Although the plan to build the “Great Wall” – as it’s been dubbed by news organizations – was first proposed in 2006, it was approved by King Abdullah last June after ISIS formed a so-called “caliphate” in Iraq, primarily in the regions close to the Saudi border.
The project is said to include five layers of fencing equipped with watch towers, night-vision cameras and 50 radars. The wall will stretch from Hafar al-Batin, near the Iraq-Kuwait border to the northeast town of Turaif close to Jordan.
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Many would find this “Great Wall” of Saudi Arabia ironic because it has long been speculated that the country, for five decades, has been sponsoring Sunni Salafism – the core ideology that extremist groups such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabab and now ISIS follow.
However, the conservative gulf kingdom has always denied any association with terrorists.
The ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the UK, Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, has even published a clarification in this regard. He wrote:
“The government of Saudi Arabia does not support or fund the murderers who have collected under the banner of the Islamic State. Their [extremists] ideology is not one that we recognize, or that would be recognized by the vast majority of Muslims around the world – whether they were Sunni or Shia.”
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