Middle East Development LLC, the Dubai-based construction company controlled by Tarek Mohammad bin Laden, half-brother of Osama bin Laden, announced it is seeking to raise $190 billion to build two new cities in Djibouti and Yemen and a 28.5-kilometer bridge linking them. This land link, across the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, would be the first joining the Arabian peninsula to Africa. Comments Bloomberg, June 2:
As oil earnings spur economic growth in the Persian Gulf, governments and investors are building new cities to create jobs for the region’s burgeoning population and attract inward investment. The $120 billion King Abdullah Economic City project in Saudi Arabia is the region’s biggest, followed by Kuwait’s $86 billion Silk City project, according to Dubai-based research company Proleads.
Yemen, the poorest Gulf state, faces Djibouti across the Red Sea and has attracted investment from neighbors including Qatar’s state-owned Qatari Diar Real Estate Co. and Dubai-owned port operator DP World Ltd. DP World also has a management contract for Djibouti’s sea port, and last year Dubai-owned investment company Istithmar PJSC bought a stake in the east African state’s Daallo Airlines in a bet on increasing trade and travel between the Gulf and east Africa.
Yeah, but Yemen is not a “Gulf state.” Look at a map, Bloomberg. Its coastline borders the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb and Gulf of Aden. It is nowhere near the Persian Gulf. Bloomberg says Bechtel Group has expressed interest in the project. It also explains:
Tarek Bin Laden shares the same father as Osama Bin Laden. Mohammed, their late Yemen-born father, emigrated to Saudi Arabia and founded the family’s Saudi Binladin Group construction empire.
Middle East Development has projects in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Bahrain and a publicly-traded unit in Singapore, according to its Web site.
The announcement comes with a major escalation of violence in Yemen. On May 31, government forces beat back an advance by northern Zaydi Shi’ite rebels who brought their battle to within 12 miles of the capital San’a. Homes in Bani Heshiash, outside the capital, were destroyed by artillery fire.
The audacious attack came the same day Yemen’s State Security court sentenced Ibrahim Sharafeddin to death for belonging to a group linked to rebels. Some 32 others were also convicted plotting attacks, receiving sentences up to 12 years. (AP, May 31) The rebels, from the Houthi tribe, signed a truce with the Yemeni government in Qatar in February, but fighting resumed in April. (NYT, May 31)
Also that day, an al-Qaeda affiliate claimed responsibility for a mortar attack on a refinery in the southern port city of Aden the previous day, which officials said did not cause damage, according to an Internet statement. From Reuters, May 31:
“Al Qaeda Organisation in the Arabian Peninsula—Yemen Soldiers Brigades—carried out the blessed operation with three mortar shells…on the refinery used by Yemen’s despot to supply fuel to the Crusaders (Western states) in their war against Islam,” the statement said on an Islamist website.
The group, which has vowed to win the freedom of jailed comrades, has claimed responsibility for several such attacks in recent months, including a shelling in March near the U.S. embassy which injured 13 schoolgirls and five Yemeni soldiers.
Becuase of Reuters’ annoying habit of using parenthesis instead of brackets, we don’t know if the phrase “Western states” was in the original text.
On May 30, a gunman opened fire in a mosque at Kohal, in Amran northern province, killing at least eight as they knelt for prayer and wounding dozens of others. On May 2, a bomb rigged to a motorcycle exploded outside another mosque in the north, killing at least 12 worshipers. (NYT, May 31)
Yemen is the ancestral homeland of the bin Laden family, which seems to be in an internecine race for its future. The globalist wing of the family around Tarek would use Yemen as a bridge to bring free markets and high-tech stability from the Arabian Peninsula to Somalia and the Horn of Africa. The jihadist wing around Osama sees Yemen as a bridge to bring the insurgent violence of Somalia back to the Arabian heartland.