For those familiar with geography in the Middle East, you know that the little country of Qatar is actually a peninsula attached to Saudi Arabia. However, this may not stay this way for all the much longer as plans are being discussed to turn Qatar into an island.
Why Qatar May Become an Island
Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been at odds for a while but things escalated last year over various regional issues (which include accusations of terrorism). As part of this escalation, Saudi Arabia (along with UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt) had cut transportation and trade with the tiny nation of Qatar.
This has meant that flights with Qatar Airways often will take longer to arrive to some destinations than they used to (or they block more time than they used to) since they need to fly outside the airspace of Saudi Arabia. I experienced this myself earlier this year when I flew from Athens to Doha. We went way up and around instead of the more direct route due to the transportation block.
Saudia Arabia May Dig a 37 Mile Canal That Would Make Qatar an Island
Now, it appears that Saudi Arabia wants to take another step that would have a canal dug to turn Qatar into an island. According to unconfirmed reports earlier this year, the kingdom also had plans to build a military base and nuclear waste dump that would border this 600 foot wide canal (the length would be about 37 miles). The estimated cost for this project is $727 million.
According to reports back in July, the winning contractor would be announced this month (September).
This all came back into the news this week when a Saudi official seemed to confirm these reports on Twitter that such a project was moving ahead. In the scheme of things, it will not have an impact on most people since people are not allowed to go back and forth between the two nations right now anyway. But, such a move will change things more permanently, no matter what type of agreement the two countries may come to in the future.
Source: The Guardian
Featured image courtesy of Francisco Anzola (Doha skyline in the morning) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons