Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Yemenis protest for return of assets stolen by deposed dictator, Yemenia factsheet

Filed under: Transportation, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:36 pm on Saturday, September 29, 2012

Returning hundreds of millions or maybe 32 billion the Saleh family looted would help the Yemeni govt face the dire poverty of its citizens and would take an important weapon out of Saleh’s hands. However, the Obama administration steadfastly opposed such a move, and the protesters demands, for well over a year.

The US demanded Saleh be absolved of his war crimes in a major break with international law, and he can keep the all fruits of decades of gross corruption. For example, the chairman of Yemenia was Saleh’s son-in-law. Yemenia’s fact sheet shows 60 million spent in renovations since 2000, including 20 million for an upgraded maintenance facility. The fleet is comprised of six functioning aircraft with 12 more inoperable. Several planes are on order but their status is unclear. Update: Transportation Minister pledges to recover stolen funds, assets/

Sun Herald: SANAA, YEMEN — Thousands of protesters marched in the Yemeni capital on Friday, demanding the return of millions of dollars that were allegedly stolen by the country’s former authoritarian ruler, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The protests in Sanaa come a week after several nations backing Yemen’s political transition pushed for sanctions against Saleh’s loyalists for undermining the country’s shift to democracy after a year of turmoil and bloodshed. The non-military sanctions could include freezing financial assets or travel bans.

Saleh had reportedly accumulated significant wealth during nearly 30 years in power in Yemen, which is the poorest country in the Middle East. He stepped down earlier this year after a popular uprising forced him into relinquishing power in return for immunity from prosecution. Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was elected president in February to replace Saleh. (Read on …)

DP World sells off Yemen contract

Filed under: Aden, Ports, Transportation, Yemen, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 7:52 am on Sunday, September 23, 2012

NYR | DP World sold Thursday its 50 percent stakes at the Port of Aden just four years after taking over operational responsibility.

The Dubai-based terminal operator has received around $27 million for its share in the Aden Container Terminal (ACT) from its joint venture partner Yemen Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation, according to the JOC. (Read on …)

Dubai Ports Int’l threatens lawsuit after corrupt contract terminated

Filed under: Aden, Ports, Transportation, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 12:27 pm on Thursday, September 6, 2012

Not to mention the grievances of the workers at Port Aden, the mismanagement of Aden port by DPI is thought to be a deliberate corporate strategy, because Aden is the direct competition to Jebel Ali Port in Dubai, also managed by DPI. Kuwait actually had a better bid and many including myself warned against awarding the contract to DPI in 2005.

Yemen Times: : ADEN, Sept. 5 — An official source at the Ministry of Transportation said the Dubai Ports International Company (DPIC) is planning to file a lawsuit against the Yemeni government because of the termination of their contract last month. The source said Yemen’s government could compensate the company an estimated $30 million if DPIC wins.

The source said the company’s evidence and claims are unsubstantiated, considering the company did not keep pledges with regard to operating Aden Port, in addition to its neglect toward the port. The company was not alert to heed Yemeni government cautions, the source said, adding that Aden’s port used to receive 160,000 ships annually under DPIC’s operation of the port; however, the port received 800,000 ships in 2007, prior to the start of the government’s contract with DPIC.

The source said the termination came after a team from the Ministry of Transportation travelled to Dubai in August to inform the company about upcoming procedures, but they didn’t respond. So, the agreement was terminated.

Abdullah Al-Khawlani, director of the Arab and International Economic Department, said in an interview with Al-Thawra newspaper that Yemen should avoid getting involved in international trials with DPIC because trials usually take a long time. He said the cost of the trial could cause more losses than gains for Yemen.

Al-Khawlani said Yemen has to solve the problem amicably, particularly because it could cause a political crisis with the United Arab Emirates, the support of which Yemen needs.

Al-Khawlani said DPIC’s argument could be stronger if they used the pretext of a lack of stability because of the political turmoil in Yemen at the time when they started to work in Aden.

He said DPIC has professional lawyers in maritime disputes, while Yemen doesn’t, giving the company an advantage should the issue require court involvement.

Me, 2005:

Selling the Port: In a stunningly blatant act of economic malfeasance, the Yemeni government recently entered into a 30 year contract for the port of Aden with its largest competitor, Dubai Ports International (DPI). World Bank documents state that Dubai is in direct competition for container transshipment business with Aden. The port of Aden is located along international shipping routes, giving it a strong advantage over ports in Dubai which are 1600 miles away.

The majority owners of DPI also are the managers of the Jabal Ali free zone in Dubai. DPI will pay 83.5 million US dollars as a rent over 30 years for the Aden free zone, an area of 32 million square meters, effectively paying less than one penny per square meter in monthly rent. A Kuwaiti firm’s substantially higher tender was rejected in favor of DPI. (Read on …)

Yemen’s Air Force uprising spreads to seven provinces

Filed under: Military, Transportation, photos/gifs — by Jane Novak at 6:56 pm on Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Air Force wants to overthrow the president’s brother.

airforcedemjan2012.jpg

Al Shawa: The (pro-rev) army (led by Ali Mohsen al Ahmar) said in a statement yesterday that Mohammed Saleh al Ahmar left in a Russian cargo plane yesterday that took off from Sanaa airport, in “the process of smuggling money abroad after the protests plaguing the rest of the pillars of the family and the most recent sit-air forces to demand the dismissal of Mohamed Saleh al Ahmar, who is about to catch up with his brother Ali, God’s favor, as a result of these protests.”

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black; Ali Mohsen is another big thief and murderer.

Actually Wednesday was the fifth day but details in English:

Yemen troops demand dismissal of Air Force chief (AFP)

SANAA — Thousands of soldiers continued sit-ins Tuesday for a second day in Yemen demanding the “official” ouster of the Air Force commander they accuse of corruption, AFP correspondents and military officials said.

They are demanding the dismissal of General Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar, a half brother of President Ali Abdullah Saleh who left Yemen on Sunday for the United States following a year-long uprising against his 33 years in power. (Read on …)

Sanaa airport shut

Filed under: A-INFRASTRUCTURE, Sana'a, Security Forces, Transportation, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 6:11 pm on Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Arhab thing takes a twist…

Damage not caused by shelling, four jets damaged and possible inside job, airport receiving.

National

Another military official, who also requested anonymity, said the blast on Sunday night inside the military base could be a signal of division in the air force led by Mohammed Saleh Al Ahmar, the half brother of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. (Read on …)

US to help establish airport protocals in Yemen

Filed under: Counter-terror, Transportation, USA, Yemen, airliner — by Jane Novak at 11:28 am on Saturday, December 4, 2010

Control of the airports was transferred from the Political Security to the National Security several years ago when many jihaddists were overtly traveling to Iraq to target American troops. Since then the National Security has done a great job in prohibiting activists, journalists and opposition politicians from leaving the country.

SCD: The US Government is committed to improving airport security at home and abroad. The Transportation Security Administration announced today that a new security program will be established in Yemen, where an Al-Qaeda affiliate is believed to be based. The affiliate, which goes by the name, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has claimed responsibility for a cargo bomb plot in October, which deployed printer cartridges rigged as bombs. (Read on …)

Aden Port frozen out by its proprietor, Dubai Ports World

Filed under: Aden, GCC, Kuwait, Ports, Transportation, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:16 pm on Monday, October 11, 2010

I wrote about this issue on October 14, 2005: the Yemeni government recently entered into a 30-year contract for the port of Aden with its largest competitor, Dubai Ports International (D.P.I.). World Bank documents state that Dubai is in direct competition for container transshipment business with Aden…The majority owners of D.P.I. also are the managers of the Jabal Ali free zone in Dubai. D.P.I. will pay $83.5 million as a rent over 30 years for the Aden free zone, an area of 32 million square meters, effectively paying less than one penny per square meter in monthly rent. A Kuwaiti firm’s substantially higher tender was rejected in favor of D.P.I. As expected, DPI is raising birthing costs in port Aden, making Dubai port much more attractive to international shippers. Today’s news, Yemen’s Parliament begins a probe of the issue:

Yemen Post: Parliament approved on Saturday forming a panel to probe what MPs said were plans of the Dubai Ports World aimed at striking Aden Port, excluding it from providing services for ships and shifting international navigation route to Djiboutian and Dubai Ports.

The panel will comprise members of the Oil and Development and Transport and Communication Committees.
MPs urged to seriously address the issue of the port, which has already lost its prestige and significance as one of the old and strategic ports in the world due to irresponsible acts by the DP World.

MP Muhammad Abdu Saeed revealed that he had received a complaint from an international navigation company saying the consistently increasing fees for ship anchorage forced ships to redirect to Djibouti Port. He considered increasing the fees was aimed at striking Aden Prot through forcing ships to abandon it.

For his part, MP Ali Al-Maamari said Dubai World Ports is seeking to exclude Aden Port from international navigation route and switching the route to Djiboutian Port because the latter boosts the importance of Dubai Port. While MP Sakhr Al-Jeeh requested to turn who brought about the agreement between the government and the DP World to investigation.

Security personnel close road after paycut

Filed under: Abyan, Civil Unrest, Security Forces, Transportation, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 8:11 am on Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We’re going to be seeing more of this as the budget crunch hits. There are hundreds of thousands of tribesmen who have military ranks and paychecks but never perform service. These protesters though were state employees in the literal sense. Also the YP confirms two were wounded (not killed) yesterday.

Yemen Post: Tens of the public security personnel closed on Monday the international transport link in Yemen’s Southern Province of Abyan in protest against salary cuts, informed sources said.

Central security forces could not break up the protest and convince them to leave reopen the route because the personnel were armed, the sources said.

Separately, two people were injured in the clashes that erupted when police dispersed rallies organized by the secessionist movement in the cities of Dhale and Lahj.

The rallies coincided with a large-scale strike paralyzing the life in a number of the districts in both cities. Stores were closed down in response to the strike call by the movement.

UK Suspends Direct Flights from Yemen

Filed under: Al-Qaeda, TI: External, Transportation, UK — by Jane Novak at 9:17 am on Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WaPo LONDON — Britain suspended direct flights with Yemen on Wednesday and the prime minister said the U.K. will introduce new no-fly lists as it seeks to tighten airport security following the failed Detroit airliner attack.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the House of Commons the measures are in response to a growing threat from al-Qaida affiliated terrorists based in Yemen.

Yemen Claims France Shot Down Yemenia Jet

Filed under: Other Countries, Transportation, disasters — by Jane Novak at 10:12 am on Saturday, October 24, 2009

Normal militaries have discipline, a chain of command and standard operating protocols. Its extremely difficult to believe that a French warship shot down a passenger airplane. The Yemeni military is fractured, chaotic, and makes it up as they go along, but not France, all joking aside. This scenario also implies a massive cover-up by France in the aftermath. Earlier the plane’s black box was described as containing no retrivable data. Its not beyond Yemen’s authorities to make up a wild lie, they do it all the time. This is the al Motamar article which quotes reliable sources stating the investigation concluded a French warship launched a missile at the Airbus, and says Yemen will ask for reimbursement of funds paid to victims families. Here is another article from Arab Monitor.

Al Jawf in Yemen, 4% Electricity

Filed under: Communications, Electric, Transportation, Tribes, al Jawf — by Jane Novak at 3:41 pm on Friday, August 21, 2009

This is a very good report on Al Jawf. Similiarly, the Sa’ada War has roots in the overall failure by the central government to promote development due to massive corruption.

SABA Jawf, forgotten governorate 1-3

[20/August/2009] By: Faez al-Makhrafi, Translated by: Mahmoud Assamiee

JAWF, August 20- ( Saba)- A visitor of Jawf governorate, 170 kilometers northeast of the capital Sana’a, is surprised seeing women with a belt of bullets on their waists for the arms they carry. In this governorate you can see everybody, men, women and even children carry weapons on their backs.

Local officials say that Jawf is only a big building for the governorate affairs (without basic services and development) though 47 years have passed since realizing Yemeni revolution on 26 of September 1962. They said the governorate is only a “basket for concerns, and a tragic image of negligence.” (Read on …)

Airport Expansion Updates

Filed under: Transportation, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 8:37 am on Friday, July 3, 2009

Maktoob

Yemen’s parliament has approved amendments to the civil aviation act that will allow the local and foreign private sectors to invest in and manage Yemeni airports for the first time, pan-Arab daily Al Hayat reported on Saturday.

The Yemeni government plans to offer some of the country’s airports for private investment under build-operate-transfer, or BOT, contracts, the paper reports, citing a source in Yemen’s parliament. (Read on …)

Yemeni to Sue Journalists to Reported News of Plane Crash

Filed under: A-INFRASTRUCTURE, Business, Corruption, Transportation, Yemen, disasters, govt budget — by Jane Novak at 8:36 pm on Thursday, July 2, 2009

Must adhere to the party line or else… The French maintain the plane was banned; Yemeni authorities insist it never happened. The military aircraft have similar problems with upkeep on their fleet. The maintenance budget(s) are subject to embezzlement, there’s no oversight and the press is barred from reporting on the military. A journalist who did was kidnapped a few years ago.

al Motamar
Aviation Committee is to sue media instruments that offended Yemeni Airways reputation
Thursday, 02-July-2009
Almotamar.net – The Yemeni Higher Committee for follow-up Aviation Incidents has on Thursday on all different media instruments to the necessity of observing the facts about the crashed Yemeni Airbus plane A 310 that crashed offshore Comoros last Tuesday.

The Yemeni Transport Minister called, in a press conference he held at Sana’a International Airport a short while ago, on the media hat published wrong information to correct them , affirming their keeping the right to sue those media instruments that endeavour to target and offend the reputation of the Yemenia Airways Company via publishing wrong information.

The Minister also pointed out that the Committee has established an information centre at Sana’a International Airport for providing in formation and developments on the crashed plane and operations of rescue that would be reported by an official spokesman in the name of the Committee via continuous news conferences.

The Yemeni Transport Minister also confirmed that the crew of the Yemeni plane was of high skill and efficiency and that the Company would remain adhering to safety criteria.

Yemeni Hang Gliders Training in France

Filed under: Business, Transportation — by Jane Novak at 5:51 pm on Sunday, June 7, 2009

How innovative! The impetus is coming through the tourism office of which Yahya Saleh is the national head.

Yemen Observer Yemen plans to establish the first hang-gliding club in Amran province 56 kilometers to the north of Sana’a. The general director of the tourism office of Amran province Mohammed al-Moafa said that his tourism office has been constructing the first gliding platform on top of Maswar mount after the province’s leaderships have approved the studies and technical designs of the first gliding platform in Yemen.

Al-Moafa said that two French glider flying teams had flown from Maswar mount two times and decided to launch gliding flights from Maswar mount annually. “The French gliding club members have flown from Maswar mount two times and have published tourism pictures and reportages about Maswar district in addition to pictures for the members of the French Gliding Club flying over Maswar mount,” said al-Moafa.

He added that Amran province leaderships have been planning to establish the first gliding club in Yemen and within this plan a number of the Yemeni youth are to be sent to France to have gliding training so as to be the first Yemeni gliding team.

Al-Moafaf added that his office is planning to organize international gliding competitions after finishing the gliding infrastructure.

Hang-gliding is a new sport in Yemen where only one Yemeni hang-glider has practiced this kind of sport. Mohammed al-Maqalih is Yemen’s sole hang-glider though he took part in several international hang-gliding activities.

Massive Fraud at State-Owned Cement Factory In Yemen

Filed under: Corruption, Ministries, Transportation — by Jane Novak at 10:15 am on Sunday, May 31, 2009

Its very, very good, and they all deserve commendation, but will anyone go to jail?

Inquiry into Cement Plants Frauds
SANA’A, May 31 (Saba) – A widening investigation into an enormous graft involving hundreds of billions of Riyals at the state-owned cement plant is underway, head of the Supreme National Anti-Corruption Commission has said. (Read on …)

Yemeni Fishing Ship Blows Up in Sudanese Waters

Filed under: Counter-terror, Fisheries, Sudan, TI: External, Transportation, Yemen, pirates, smuggling — by Jane Novak at 4:24 pm on Tuesday, May 26, 2009

OK lets get the deisel smuggling out of the way- daily shipments from Yemen to Africa of government subsidized diesel. (Related: Daily Star: US Navy rescues 52 stranded Somalis.)

The much bigger issue is the exploding fishing boat. Its unclear that any missile hit it at this point; its could have been laden with explosives or carrying an aged gas canister and blew up accidentally. Its important for the international fleet to remain vigilant about the danger of maritime terror attacks in the Gulf of Aden. There is good reason to assume a defensive position after the USS Cole bombing (and the later Limburg). The sailors on the Cole waved at the approaching boat; the Navy cannot repeat that mistake, especially now when its easy to be desensitized by having dealt with the Somali pirates for a year or more. The rules of engagement should not allow hapless lost Yemeni fishermen to approach military vessels, blame it on al Badawi.

A statement from al Qaeda Central called for naval jihad (May 26 2008), the October one by a Yemeni forecast a major event around Somalia. The links between AQAP in Yemen and al Shabab go back to the ICU and before. Its a predictable scenario that AQAP would attempt to outdo the Cole bombing when the waters are full of such tempting targets. And I don’t necessarily mean al Wahishi.

Why Yemeni fishermen are near the Sudan is another question. The Yemeni flight school for small planes that flies back and forth between Yemen and Sudan is something, what I don’t know. Its could be normal criminal smuggling activity, spotters for pirates or something entirely innocuous.
Yemen Post

Two Yemeni fishermen were killed and one was injured while the fate of a fourth one is still unknown after their boat came under an aggressive assault by one of the international naval ships patrolling the Red Sea near Sudan on Tuesday.

A source at the Coast Guard said Abdu Marwani and Muhammad Naj’e were killed immediately after their boat was totally destroyed by a missile which some suspect was an air strike. Sources at Yemen’s navy said it probably came from sea.

While the third fisherman made it to Sudanese coast and is now in critical condition. The fishermen came from the Midy area, Hajjah before their boat was hit near Sudan’s waters.

A coordinated investigation by Yemen and Sudan is underway to explore reasons for the attack.

Meanwhile, director of the Midy district Abdul Majeed Al-Himyari dismissed reports a Yemeni boat was attacked in Yemen’s territorial waters, saying the incident took place while the boat was in Sudan’s territorial waters. He told the media the survivor is being investigated by Sudan.

Tuesday’s attack comes in a series of attacks against Yemeni fishing boats by international forces patrolling the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Early this year, two Yemeni sailors were killed as their boats came under separate attacks by international troops in the Indian Ocean. Few others were hurt, with troops saying they suspected the boats were for pirates and then hit them.

And this month, the Interior Ministry said a Yemeni boat was provoked, with NATO’s mission in the region intimidating its crew.

The area where the boat was hit on Tuesday is witnessing large fuel smuggling, with eyewitnesses affirming boats smuggle diesel to African Horn States daily.

Yemeni Flight Students Crash in Sudan

Filed under: Education, Sudan, Transportation, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:11 pm on Friday, May 15, 2009

Yemen Post: Two Yemeni pilots died when a training airplane crashed in northwestern of the Sudanese city of Bur Sudan, Sudan’s Civil Aviation Authority reported. (Read on …)

Three loans: Two for roads, one airport

Filed under: A-INFRASTRUCTURE, Transportation, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 10:03 pm on Friday, May 15, 2009

Yemen agrees on three loan treaties
[12 May 2009]
SANA’A, May 12 (Saba) – A number of laws on Yemen’s agreement on loan treaties issued on Tuesday.

Law No. (18) for 2009 stipulated on Yemen’s acceptance the loan treaty signed between the government and Saudi Fund for Development on April 5 2009. The loan worth $ 106,666,667 is for financing the highway project of Amran, Sana’a, Sumar, Taiz, and Aden.

Law No. (19) for 2009 agreed on the loan treaty signed between the government of Yemen and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development on April 15,2009. The loan worth $ 30 million is for financing main crossroads in Sana’a, the second phase.

Law No. (20) for 2009 approved the loan treaty singed between Yemen and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development on April 15, 2009. The loan worth $ 26 million and assigned for funding Improving Taiz International Airport Project.

Yemen Export Stats Aden Port

Filed under: Business, Economic, Ports, Transportation — by Jane Novak at 3:14 pm on Saturday, December 6, 2008

Over 445000 containers unloaded at Aden seaport in 2008


[06 March 2009]

ADEN, March 06 (Saba) – The total number of containers which have been unloaded in the Aden seaport in 2008 were al last 445126 containers from different sizes.

According to statistics issued on Friday by Aden Port Corporation, the harbor of Aden received in 2008 more than 510 ships and supertankers coming from international ports.

The Free Zone Customs at the Aden seaport has achieved a record increase in the revenue in January 2009, through incomes, fees and other various returns, amounting to up YR 1 billion, an increase of YR 246 million over the revenues during the same month in 2008.

Yemeni exports through the Aden seaport during January reached more than YR 517 million, including fish, cotton, coffee, honey and other various national products.

The number of local consumption goods’ containers locally marketed during the month amounted to 4,626 containers, an increase of 854 containers over the number of such containers during the same month last year.

The increase in the volume of exports and revenues followed growth in maritime activity and cargo ship movement at the port.

Since ancient time, Aden has played an important role as an economic and commercial port in the southern part of Yemen and as a destination that serves as a meeting point in world trade.

DP World Takes Over Aden Port Operations

Filed under: A-GEOGRAPHY/ Land, A-NATURAL RESOURCES, Economic, Transportation, Unions, Yemen, land disputes — by Jane Novak at 9:47 pm on Saturday, November 8, 2008

Meanwhile Port workers are on strike.

YahooDUBAI (AFP) – The Emirati DP World group said on Thursday it has officially taken over container operations at the Yemeni port of Aden in a joint venture partnership with the Yemen Gulf of Aden Port Corporation.

“The agreement includes the lease of both Aden Container Terminal and of nearby Ma’alla Container Terminal, and a commitment by the joint venture to invest around 220 million dollars in further developing the port,” it said in a statement. (Read on …)

Yemen Buys Spy Plane

Filed under: Counter-terror, Military, Transportation, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 4:09 pm on Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SAMA first training aircraft arrives to Aden

ADEN, Aug. 10 (Saba)- The first training aircraft model SAMA (2020) operating by one engine arrived on Sunday at Aden International Airport.

Director General of the academy captain Ameen Ghanem said to Saba that this aircraft is one of four aircrafts to be sent to Aden after an agreement with Jordanian manufacturing plant Jordan Aerospace Industries (JAI).

Ghanem mentioned that in the upcoming days the air academy will be launched officially in Aden in the wake of completing all technical processes.

Turkish investors to market JAI’s Sama 2020 training and surveillance aircraft in Turkey

Jordan Times
AMMAN (JT) – Jordan Aerospace Industries (JAI) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Turkish investors to market its Sama 2020 training and surveillance aircraft in Turkey. Following the marketing operations, the company will start a programme to manufacture the surveillance aircraft in Turkey where the aircraft will be equipped with Turkish-made communication and surveillance equipment. The MoU, signed by Turkish businessman Ahmet T. Ozal and JAI Director General and Chief Executive Officer Muayad Al Samaraee, was the outcome of business talks between the two sides, and a visit by Turkish business investors to the company’s plant, located at Queen Alia International Airport. Established in 2001, the JAI is still the only private certified light aircraft manufacturer in the Middle East. 4 August 2008

Red Sea Bridge Plan Fishy

Filed under: Business, Investment, Saudi Arabia, Transportation, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:33 pm on Saturday, August 9, 2008

from The Economist:

A fantastic plan to span the Red Sea’s troubled waters is raising eyebrows

ONE OF Osama bin Laden’s many half-brothers, Tarek bin Laden, this week signed a deal with tiny Djibouti which may—or may not—mark the start of one of the world’s boldest engineering projects. Djibouti’s president, Ismael Omar Guelleh, promised Mr bin Laden 500 sq km (193 sq miles) of land to start building Noor City, the first of a hundred “Cities of Light” the vast Saudi Binladen Group plans around the world. “A hope for all humanity, the first environmental city of the 21st century,” gushed the promotional video at the signing. The audience, mostly American military contractors near retirement age, clapped enthusiastically. Engineers elsewhere say the scheme is a fantasy. (Read on …)

Tariq’s Bridge

Filed under: Business, Transportation, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 7:28 pm on Friday, August 1, 2008

News Yemen

DJIBOUTI, NewsYemen

Chairman of the Middle East Development Company, Tarek Mohammed Bin Laden, half-bother of Osama bin Laden, said that “competition on building a bridge across the Red Sea to link Africa with the Arabian Peninsula is going on”.

In a press conference held on Monday in Djibouti on launching the project and attended by Djibouti’s Prime Minister Deleita Mohammed Deleita, Bin Laden said the project, to be implemented in five years, will absorb one million Yemeni workers and 500,000 Djiboutian.

Bin Laden talked about contacts with international investors who will join the project and said the bridge would be “a historical engineering design that will help revive for economics in Africa and Middle East.”

Executive engineer in the Annor Holding Company Mohammed Ahmad al-Ahmad said the plan for establishing two cities, to be called Madinat An Nor, one in the Yemeni side and the other will be in the Djiboutian side, and linking them by the bridge was implemented.

“International investors used to invest in markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China, but now they have to know the emerging markets are in Middle East and Africa. The two cities to be linked with the bridge will support economic growth in such markets for the upcoming generations”, said al-Ahmad.

Djibouti Prime Minister Deleita said at the conference that the project of linking Djibouti to Yemen by a hanging bridge “will change traditional ways of traveling between Asia and Africa”. He said that million of Muslims in Africa will be able to get to the holy places easily through the bridge.

Known as “the bridge of the century”, the project will start in 2009.

It would include a motorway and rail links, and two luxury cities would be built on either side of the Red Sea.

Sheikh Tarek Mohammed bin Laden, 60, has so far won backing and pledges of land from the presidents of both countries after shuttling between the capitals in his private jet in recent weeks, outlining his plans.

In an interview posted on the project’s website, he talked of his vision, saying the city to be built on the Djibouti coast and called Madinat An Nor (City of Light) would create 100,000 jobs and stretch more than 970sqkm.

The bridge, spanning the strait of Bab el Mandeb (Gate of Tears), which owes its name to its perilous waters, would take nine years to build and cost $23.4billion.

Designs show a 3.2km viaduct from the Yemeni coast to the island of Perim, where it passes for another 3.2km before a final 21km stretch to Ras Siyyan in Djibouti. This will have as its centrepiece a 12.8km suspension bridge towering above the sea. Up to 100,000 cars and 50,000 train passengers a day would be able to cross one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

More than 200 businessmen and 60 journalists from Yemen and other Arab countries attended the conference.

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