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Saudi to Set Up Security Fence on Border with Yemen - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- As a result of the violation of the sovereignty of Saudi territory last week by Huthist elements, the Kingdom is in the process of setting up a security fence along its boarders with Yemen.

This has become an important option in view of the escalation of the activities of the Al-Qaeda organization in Yemeni territory on the one hand, and the emergence of the Huthist rebellion threat on the other.

Despite information about undeclared reservations on the part of Sanaa over the building of a security fence between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, Riyadh might find itself obliged to go ahead with the realization of the project. It will be the first phase of a wider project to secure all the Saudi land and maritime borders with neighboring countries.

According to information received by Asharq Al-Awsat, a contract for the building of a security fence between Saudi Arabia and Yemen was finalized recently with the EADS [European Aeronautic Defense and Space] company, and the final touches are now being put to the feasibility aspect of the project before an effective start of its implementation.

Jizan [Saudi region] has long maritime and land borders with Yemen, and the [Saudi] area of Al Khubar is the scene of most infiltrations [from Yemen]. It is the administrative capital of Al-Harth Governorate. It is at a short distance from the Yemeni town of Al-Malahid, and it is now the scene of the military operations against the Huthist rebels. It is believed that it was from there that two of the 85 hunted people had infiltrated. They were killed a few weeks ago in a clash with the security forces in the [Saudi] governorate of Al-Darb, which is located 190 km from the [Yemen] border area.

Infiltration is obviously difficult through the [Saudi] Tuhamah region and the 30-mile long common maritime border between Jizan and Yemen, but hundreds of kilometres of hardly accessible mountains remain the best option for those who want to infiltrate into Saudi territory or carry out any possible smuggling operations.

Al-Harth region is close to the tense security situation in neighboring Yemen. It has now become the scene of military events between the Saudi Army and Huthist rebel elements. Al-Harth seems to be the most likely region that has been used by the Al-Qaeda Organization to enter into the Saudi territory. This indicates that Huthist facilities were made available to the Al-Qaeda elements that carried out operations in the kingdom, given that the Al-Malahid region is under the control of rebel elements.

According to Reuters, the Saudi Government is building a 1,500 km-long security fence, with the use of advanced technology, all along the border with Yemen. This border is used as a crossing point by smugglers of goods and drugs, as well as by economic migrant workers. However, the completion of the fence still has long way to go.

Speaking to Reuters in Riyadh, an Arab diplomat believes that Saudi Arabia will have to deploy a military unit along the borders until the building of the fence is completed. For their part, the Saudis unofficially admit that the border fence might not guarantee security for them. Similarly, a government source has been quoted as stressing that the security fence in question “will not prevent people from infiltrating into Saudi territory; it will prevent only vehicles.”