Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Frederik Richter article on lack of development in Sinai

Arabist blogger, Frederik Richter has a piece on the lack of development in Sinai, in the new eddition of Qantara.

The most interesting part in my view is this:

¨Yet, in order to produce lucrative olive oil, a great deal of know-how and investment is necessary, and this is acquired only gradually. The government, in particular, has not succeeded in directing sufficient water to the Sinai to realize the region's enormous agricultural potential. A plan to extend the Salam Canal, which pumps water from the Nile under the Suez Canal, to the interior of the peninsula has existed for years, but only on paper.

One reason why Egyptian businessmen are afraid of investing in Sinai is that the peninsula is firmly in the grips of the security apparatus, consisting of the army, police, and secret services. An official with the Governorate of North Sinai says that over twenty tourism projects are waiting for authorization from the army to use land on the Mediterranean coast. Businessmen familiar with the Sinai security services report that even they regard the development of the peninsula as the best guarantee for security. This may be the case with respect to foreign enemies, who would only be able to advance slowly through thickly settled areas.

However, terrorism poses an internal threat that is difficult to control. In addition, the special permits needed to travel down many roads provides the security apparatus with welcome extra income, as has been frequently reported by visitors to the region. Since the Egyptian police are poorly trained and scantily equipped, they time and again resort to disproportional means, such as blocking whole roads to the transport of goods. After the attack on a hotel in Taba in October 2004, they indiscriminately arrested thousands all over the peninsula.¨


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an interesting article, but the issue of diverting water with the Salam project is much more complicated than the author would have you believe. The project could consume as much as 4 million cubic tons of extra water per year, which far exceeds the amount allocated to the Egyptian portion of the Nile. Getting this water depends on preserving the water to the South, particularly in Ethiopia and Sudan. Ethiopia creates a big problem because much of the water lost is due to drainage in complicated mountain terrain. Sudan's lack of stability precluded investment, although the Egyptian government has funded a project in Sudan in the last couple months.

1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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11:36 AM  

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