Middle East's many border barriers: do good fences really make good neighbors?

Published April 19th, 2016 - 19:23 GMT

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In 1914, American poet Robert Frost penned “Good fences make good neighbors”. He clearly wasn’t writing about Israel as the Jewish state didn’t yet exist. Israel's barrier wall, intended to bolster national security, is considered by Palestinians - and many others - to be a land grab, and the World Court has declared it illegal. But it's not the only wall in the Middle East.

Since the Berlin Wall dropped in 1989, more than 40 nations have built border barriers seeking enhanced security and a halt to illegal migration. Walls and trenches arose in reaction to wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan and to curtail the resultant waves of refugees. We hear you knocking, but you can't come in.

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Saudi Arabia is beefing up its Iraqi border with a 965 km state-of-the-art security system. Ground broke last September on a combo 5-layer fence-and-ditch design that will be strung with radar, night vision cameras, and buried motion sensors. The $3.4 BIL defense against ISIS will one day protect their entire Iraqi border from Kuwait to Jordan.
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Image 1 of 12:  1 / 12Saudi Arabia is beefing up its Iraqi border with a 965 km state-of-the-art security system. Ground broke last September on a combo 5-layer fence-and-ditch design that will be strung with radar, night vision cameras, and buried motion sensors. The $3.4 BIL defense against ISIS will one day protect their entire Iraqi border from Kuwait to Jordan.

Enlarge
Last year, five Saudi border guards were killed in shoot-outs with Yemeni smugglers. Security in Yemen has dwindled after its long-term president stepped down in 2012. Since then, hordes of illegal immigrants and smugglers have flowed into Saudi. Now Saudi is sealing its Yemen border with a 1,800 km fence stretching from Oman to the Red Sea.
Reduce

Image 2 of 12:  2 / 12Last year, five Saudi border guards were killed in shoot-outs with Yemeni smugglers. Security in Yemen has dwindled after its long-term president stepped down in 2012. Since then, hordes of illegal immigrants and smugglers have flowed into Saudi. Now Saudi is sealing its Yemen border with a 1,800 km fence stretching from Oman to the Red Sea.

Enlarge
Iraq is ringing Baghdad with 105 km of walls with a twofold aim: stop militant attacks and relieve capital traffic by reducing in-city checkpoints, freeing up thousands of security personnel for better uses. The 'greenest' of these walls, it is partially built with concrete barriers recycled from other Baghdad locations.
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Image 3 of 12:  3 / 12Iraq is ringing Baghdad with 105 km of walls with a twofold aim: stop militant attacks and relieve capital traffic by reducing in-city checkpoints, freeing up thousands of security personnel for better uses. The 'greenest' of these walls, it is partially built with concrete barriers recycled from other Baghdad locations.

Enlarge
After the first Gulf War, the UN Security Council authorized a 190 km long barrier that runs between Iraq and Kuwait for the length of their common border. Its purpose was to halt a new Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Construction began in 1991, and in 2004, Kuwait submitted a plan to extend it another 217 km.
Reduce

Image 4 of 12:  4 / 12After the first Gulf War, the UN Security Council authorized a 190 km long barrier that runs between Iraq and Kuwait for the length of their common border. Its purpose was to halt a new Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Construction began in 1991, and in 2004, Kuwait submitted a plan to extend it another 217 km.

Enlarge
From 1981-87, Morocco built  the 2,720 km 'berm' to protect people living north of the former Spanish Sahara from raids by the Polisario Front, which aimed to win independence for Western Sahara from occupation by Spain, Morocco and Mauritania. Only China's Great wall is larger. Their new wall project aims to halt illegal immigration into Europe.
Reduce

Image 5 of 12:  5 / 12From 1981-87, Morocco built the 2,720 km "berm" to protect people living north of the former Spanish Sahara from raids by the Polisario Front, which aimed to win independence for Western Sahara from occupation by Spain, Morocco and Mauritania. Only China's Great wall is larger. Their new wall project aims to halt illegal immigration into Europe.

Enlarge
In 2002, Israel broke ground on a 730 km West Bank 'separation wall', officially intended to prevent Palestinian 'intrusion' into the Jewish state. Israelis endorse it's existence and expansion in the name of national security but in 2004 the International Court of Justice in The Hague declared the barrier “contrary to international law”.
Reduce

Image 6 of 12:  6 / 12In 2002, Israel broke ground on a 730 km West Bank 'separation wall", officially intended to prevent Palestinian 'intrusion' into the Jewish state. Israelis endorse it's existence and expansion in the name of national security but in 2004 the International Court of Justice in The Hague declared the barrier “contrary to international law”.

Enlarge
In 2012, three nations beefed up an existing 900 km wall along the Iran/Pakistan border to halt influx of drug traffickers.The wall also blocked Sunni armed groups from easy entry  to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's walls, trenches, and lookout posts for Iranian police are made of rammed earth, stone and concrete.
Reduce

Image 7 of 12:  7 / 12In 2012, three nations beefed up an existing 900 km wall along the Iran/Pakistan border to halt influx of drug traffickers.The wall also blocked Sunni armed groups from easy entry to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's walls, trenches, and lookout posts for Iranian police are made of rammed earth, stone and concrete.

Enlarge
Based on his penchant for building walls, we're guessing that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must have been a childhood wizard with Lego. In 2013, Bibi inaugurated a new 230 km barrier on the Egyptian border. The 5 meter high wall comes with watchtowers, cameras, and hi-tech bells and whistles, or call them alarms.
Reduce

Image 8 of 12:  8 / 12Based on his penchant for building walls, we're guessing that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must have been a childhood wizard with Lego. In 2013, Bibi inaugurated a new 230 km barrier on the Egyptian border. The 5 meter high wall comes with watchtowers, cameras, and hi-tech bells and whistles, or call them alarms.

Enlarge
Tunisia just completed a 200 km barrier along its Libyan border to thwart Islamist militants; made of earthen walls and trenches, it will be topped with electronic monitoring systems now standard in the EU and US. Over 3,000 Tunisians have joined ISIS and other Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq, but many have returned to join the group in Libya.
Reduce

Image 9 of 12:  9 / 12Tunisia just completed a 200 km barrier along its Libyan border to thwart Islamist militants; made of earthen walls and trenches, it will be topped with electronic monitoring systems now standard in the EU and US. Over 3,000 Tunisians have joined ISIS and other Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq, but many have returned to join the group in Libya.

Enlarge
See Bibi's latest erection near the Jordan Valley. The project was announced in 2015 after calls from some Israeli politicians to take in Syrian refugees. Aljazeera quoted the PM saying, ' We're surrounded by predators and we need to protect ourselves.' It will join a 240 km barrier that already runs along Israel's border with the Sinai peninsula.
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Image 10 of 12:  10 / 12See Bibi's latest erection near the Jordan Valley. The project was announced in 2015 after calls from some Israeli politicians to take in Syrian refugees. Aljazeera quoted the PM saying, " We're surrounded by predators and we need to protect ourselves." It will join a 240 km barrier that already runs along Israel's border with the Sinai peninsula.

Enlarge
Last year, after ISIS bombed the Turkish city of Suruç - killing 33 people and wounding 104 - Turkey reported plans to build an 800-km high-level security barrier on the Syria border. Bulent Arinc, Turkey’s deputy prime minister said the barrier would 'avoid the entry of terrorists and the foreign fighters and to ease humanitarian passages”.
Reduce

Image 11 of 12:  11 / 12Last year, after ISIS bombed the Turkish city of Suruç - killing 33 people and wounding 104 - Turkey reported plans to build an 800-km high-level security barrier on the Syria border. Bulent Arinc, Turkey’s deputy prime minister said the barrier would "avoid the entry of terrorists and the foreign fighters and to ease humanitarian passages”.

Enlarge
Work began in 2009 on Egypt's northern border for a 10 km underground metal wall, part of an effort to prevent weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip. It will be 'impossible to cut or melt', said Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. Like its cousin in the West Bank, this project is also a 'separation wall' as it splitting the city of Rafah in two.
Reduce

Image 12 of 12:  12 / 12Work began in 2009 on Egypt's northern border for a 10 km underground metal wall, part of an effort to prevent weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip. It will be "impossible to cut or melt", said Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. Like its cousin in the West Bank, this project is also a 'separation wall' as it splitting the city of Rafah in two.

Enlarge

1

Saudi Arabia is beefing up its Iraqi border with a 965 km state-of-the-art security system. Ground broke last September on a combo 5-layer fence-and-ditch design that will be strung with radar, night vision cameras, and buried motion sensors. The $3.4 BIL defense against ISIS will one day protect their entire Iraqi border from Kuwait to Jordan.

Image 1 of 12Saudi Arabia is beefing up its Iraqi border with a 965 km state-of-the-art security system. Ground broke last September on a combo 5-layer fence-and-ditch design that will be strung with radar, night vision cameras, and buried motion sensors. The $3.4 BIL defense against ISIS will one day protect their entire Iraqi border from Kuwait to Jordan.

2

Last year, five Saudi border guards were killed in shoot-outs with Yemeni smugglers. Security in Yemen has dwindled after its long-term president stepped down in 2012. Since then, hordes of illegal immigrants and smugglers have flowed into Saudi. Now Saudi is sealing its Yemen border with a 1,800 km fence stretching from Oman to the Red Sea.

Image 2 of 12Last year, five Saudi border guards were killed in shoot-outs with Yemeni smugglers. Security in Yemen has dwindled after its long-term president stepped down in 2012. Since then, hordes of illegal immigrants and smugglers have flowed into Saudi. Now Saudi is sealing its Yemen border with a 1,800 km fence stretching from Oman to the Red Sea.

3

Iraq is ringing Baghdad with 105 km of walls with a twofold aim: stop militant attacks and relieve capital traffic by reducing in-city checkpoints, freeing up thousands of security personnel for better uses. The 'greenest' of these walls, it is partially built with concrete barriers recycled from other Baghdad locations.

Image 3 of 12Iraq is ringing Baghdad with 105 km of walls with a twofold aim: stop militant attacks and relieve capital traffic by reducing in-city checkpoints, freeing up thousands of security personnel for better uses. The 'greenest' of these walls, it is partially built with concrete barriers recycled from other Baghdad locations.

4

After the first Gulf War, the UN Security Council authorized a 190 km long barrier that runs between Iraq and Kuwait for the length of their common border. Its purpose was to halt a new Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Construction began in 1991, and in 2004, Kuwait submitted a plan to extend it another 217 km.

Image 4 of 12After the first Gulf War, the UN Security Council authorized a 190 km long barrier that runs between Iraq and Kuwait for the length of their common border. Its purpose was to halt a new Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Construction began in 1991, and in 2004, Kuwait submitted a plan to extend it another 217 km.

5

From 1981-87, Morocco built  the 2,720 km 'berm' to protect people living north of the former Spanish Sahara from raids by the Polisario Front, which aimed to win independence for Western Sahara from occupation by Spain, Morocco and Mauritania. Only China's Great wall is larger. Their new wall project aims to halt illegal immigration into Europe.

Image 5 of 12From 1981-87, Morocco built the 2,720 km "berm" to protect people living north of the former Spanish Sahara from raids by the Polisario Front, which aimed to win independence for Western Sahara from occupation by Spain, Morocco and Mauritania. Only China's Great wall is larger. Their new wall project aims to halt illegal immigration into Europe.

6

In 2002, Israel broke ground on a 730 km West Bank 'separation wall', officially intended to prevent Palestinian 'intrusion' into the Jewish state. Israelis endorse it's existence and expansion in the name of national security but in 2004 the International Court of Justice in The Hague declared the barrier “contrary to international law”.

Image 6 of 12In 2002, Israel broke ground on a 730 km West Bank 'separation wall", officially intended to prevent Palestinian 'intrusion' into the Jewish state. Israelis endorse it's existence and expansion in the name of national security but in 2004 the International Court of Justice in The Hague declared the barrier “contrary to international law”.

7

In 2012, three nations beefed up an existing 900 km wall along the Iran/Pakistan border to halt influx of drug traffickers.The wall also blocked Sunni armed groups from easy entry  to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's walls, trenches, and lookout posts for Iranian police are made of rammed earth, stone and concrete.

Image 7 of 12In 2012, three nations beefed up an existing 900 km wall along the Iran/Pakistan border to halt influx of drug traffickers.The wall also blocked Sunni armed groups from easy entry to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's walls, trenches, and lookout posts for Iranian police are made of rammed earth, stone and concrete.

8

Based on his penchant for building walls, we're guessing that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must have been a childhood wizard with Lego. In 2013, Bibi inaugurated a new 230 km barrier on the Egyptian border. The 5 meter high wall comes with watchtowers, cameras, and hi-tech bells and whistles, or call them alarms.

Image 8 of 12Based on his penchant for building walls, we're guessing that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must have been a childhood wizard with Lego. In 2013, Bibi inaugurated a new 230 km barrier on the Egyptian border. The 5 meter high wall comes with watchtowers, cameras, and hi-tech bells and whistles, or call them alarms.

9

Tunisia just completed a 200 km barrier along its Libyan border to thwart Islamist militants; made of earthen walls and trenches, it will be topped with electronic monitoring systems now standard in the EU and US. Over 3,000 Tunisians have joined ISIS and other Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq, but many have returned to join the group in Libya.

Image 9 of 12Tunisia just completed a 200 km barrier along its Libyan border to thwart Islamist militants; made of earthen walls and trenches, it will be topped with electronic monitoring systems now standard in the EU and US. Over 3,000 Tunisians have joined ISIS and other Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq, but many have returned to join the group in Libya.

10

See Bibi's latest erection near the Jordan Valley. The project was announced in 2015 after calls from some Israeli politicians to take in Syrian refugees. Aljazeera quoted the PM saying, ' We're surrounded by predators and we need to protect ourselves.' It will join a 240 km barrier that already runs along Israel's border with the Sinai peninsula.

Image 10 of 12See Bibi's latest erection near the Jordan Valley. The project was announced in 2015 after calls from some Israeli politicians to take in Syrian refugees. Aljazeera quoted the PM saying, " We're surrounded by predators and we need to protect ourselves." It will join a 240 km barrier that already runs along Israel's border with the Sinai peninsula.

11

Last year, after ISIS bombed the Turkish city of Suruç - killing 33 people and wounding 104 - Turkey reported plans to build an 800-km high-level security barrier on the Syria border. Bulent Arinc, Turkey’s deputy prime minister said the barrier would 'avoid the entry of terrorists and the foreign fighters and to ease humanitarian passages”.

Image 11 of 12Last year, after ISIS bombed the Turkish city of Suruç - killing 33 people and wounding 104 - Turkey reported plans to build an 800-km high-level security barrier on the Syria border. Bulent Arinc, Turkey’s deputy prime minister said the barrier would "avoid the entry of terrorists and the foreign fighters and to ease humanitarian passages”.

12

Work began in 2009 on Egypt's northern border for a 10 km underground metal wall, part of an effort to prevent weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip. It will be 'impossible to cut or melt', said Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. Like its cousin in the West Bank, this project is also a 'separation wall' as it splitting the city of Rafah in two.

Image 12 of 12Work began in 2009 on Egypt's northern border for a 10 km underground metal wall, part of an effort to prevent weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip. It will be "impossible to cut or melt", said Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. Like its cousin in the West Bank, this project is also a 'separation wall' as it splitting the city of Rafah in two.

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