Saudi Arabia Building Border Fence with Iraq

The high-security five-layered fence will cover 900km (560 miles) of the kingdom's northern frontier.

Arutz Sheva ,

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah

Saudi Arabia has launched the construction of a high-security five-layered fence on the border with Iraq to protect the desert kingdom from “infiltrators and smugglers,” according to state media quoted by RT.

The fence will cover 900 km (560 miles) of Saudi Arabia’s northern frontier, SPA state news agency reported. Watchtowers, night vision and radars will provide surveillance along the fence.

The project was unveiled by King Abdullah late Friday. It was announced the fence’s purpose was to cut the "number of infiltrators, drug, arms and cattle smugglers to zero."

Saudi Arabia already deployed some 30,000 troops to its border with Iraq, after Iraqi forces abandoned their posts on their side of the border two months ago.

The gulf state's sizable deployment was yet seen as an alarming sign that the rapid disintegration of the Iraqi state and accompanying sectarian warfare – spurred on by a Sunni rebellion led by the Islamic State (IS) – is threatening to spread beyond that country.

IS has already taken over vast swathes of territory in Syria, amid the bloody civil war there, and Jordan has already deployed forces to its border with Iraq following threats by ISIS members to attack the Hashemite regime.

The fence includes eight command and control centers, 32 rapid response centers, three rapid intervention squads, 38 back and front gates, 78 monitoring towers, 10 monitoring and surveillance vehicles, 1,450,000 meters of fiber optics networks and 50 radars.

Control complexes have already been built in areas stretching from Hafr al-Batin in the northeast to Turaif near the Jordanian border, according to SPA.

The fence on the border with Iraq is not the first one for Saudi Arabia. It already has a 1,800km (1,118-mile) barrier along its border with Yemen. And the ultimate plan, adds RT, is to have all of the country surrounded by a fence. In July 2009, Riyadh signed a deal with European aerospace and defense contractors EADS to build a high-tech security fence on 9,000 km (5,600 miles) of the country's borders.