Our colleague, Dr.Margaret Nydell, send along this article on the continued deterioration of relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. I’d not heard of the canal and thought you might also find it of interest. Many thanks Margaret.
Saudi Arabia Plans to Cut Off Qatar Into An Island — Quite Literally
For nearly a year, five Arab nations have tried to distance themselves from Qatar. Only this time around, Saudi Arabia plans to do it quite literally.
Riyadh is literally planning to cut off Doha by digging a canal along its 61 kilometer (38 miles) border with Qatar, according to Saudi media.
In fact, the plan is already underway as Saudi Arabia has invited five international companies, which have expertise in digging canals, to bid for the project, called the “Salwa Channel,” Makka newspaper reported.
It all started in June 2017, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen, severed diplomatic ties to Qatar over allegations it supports the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group and backs the agenda of Shi’ite-majority Iran.
While Qatar has acknowledged aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, it denied providing any assistance to militant groups linked to al-Qaeda or ISIS.
Since then, the five Arab nations have constantly distanced themselves from Qatar, only this time around, Saudi Arabia plans to do it quite literally.
As per initial media reports, the Salwa Channel will be 60 kilometers (37.5 miles) long and 200 meters (219 yards) wide. A part of it would also house a tourism resort, a military base as well as space to dump nuclear waste. It could cost over 2.8 billion Saudi riyals ($745 million).
Apparently, the plan for the canal has been in motion since December when Saudi Arabia permanently closed its border with Qatar. Then, in April, Riyadh ordered the deployment of its border guards on the Salwa crossing, thereby effectively depriving Qatar of its only terrestrial link with the outside world.