07 Apr 2018 – 12:49
Twitter users in the Middle East have mocked a Saudi plan to develop a maritime channel along the Saudi-Qatari border, saying it will never see the light of day.
Saudi newspaper Sabq reported on Thursday that the project, which is still awaiting official approval, involves the construction of a maritime channel between the Saudi regions of Salwa and Khawr Al-Udayd.
Sabq said the waterway will be 60km in length, 200 metres wide and between 15-20 metres deep, enabling it to receive “container and passenger ships”.
The newspaper said that a 1km stretch of land north of the canal, bordering Qatar, would become a “military zone”, permanently ending land trade between the two Gulf countries.
It said the initial cost of the project would be SR2.8bn ($750m), adding that it could be completed within 12 months.
The anti-Qatar sentiment comes amid an illegal blockade against the Arab Gulf country by Saudi Arabia, which has imposed a land, air and sea embargo against it.
The UAE, Bahrain and Egypt have also cut ties with Qatar, and banned Qatari nationals from entering their countries.
The quartet have expressed their displeasure over Qatar’s foreign policy, and urged the country to “change its direction”.
According to media reports, the four countries want to normalise relations with Israel, and develop a regional alliance against Iran.
H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, has said he is ready for talks with his neighbours, but has refused to bow to pressure and give up his country’s sovereignty.
Hundreds of social media users have taken to Twitter to support the Qatari Emir and lay scorn at the announcement, with the Arabic hashtag #SalwaMaritimeChannel being the number-one trending topic in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Here’s how some users responded:
Twitter user Ghanem alMasarir said:
Translation: If the Saudi leadership could wipe Qatar from the map they would, their hearts are filled with hatred and envy as they seek to deliberately humiliate and crush all those who do not agree with them.
#SalwaMaritimeChannel project is just propaganda tool and a way of scaring us to giving them the keys to Qatar.
The final approval of such project would be in Washington, Riyadh can only play with photos and hashtags.
Wajdan al-Qarni said:
Translation: Normally when two countries dispute they go to war, but if Saudi Arabia is upset it will just change your place on the map.
One user wrote that Saudi Arabia had a long history of failed projects, including the doomed Hail economic city, its failed plan to build nuclear reactors, and the world’s largest park in Riyadh.
Translation: Regardless of what is said on Twitter about transforming Qatar into an island, there are several criteria and stages to be passed in international law before thinking about isolating a country and building a watershed boundary. Mohammed bin Salman and others will not be able to implement this project on the ground and will only apply it on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Twitter user Q. al-Marri said:
Translation: Their demands failed. Their plans to enter militarily failed. Their plans to launch a coup and overthrow the Al Thani leadership failed. Divide Qatari people failed. Their plans to weaken Qatar economically failed. All you have left is to dig up Salwa, so just do it do us both a favour.