Wednesday, August 27, 2008

World's Longest Arch Bridge Proposed - Bin Laden's Building it

Bin Laden's building the world's longest arch bridge.

No, not that bin Laden. Osama bin Laden has been out of the construction business for quite a while.

The bin Laden family seems to be pretty big, and quite a few bin Ladens are still involved in the family business. On a rather large scale, it seems.

Sheikh Tarek bin Laden, brother of Osama bin Laden, plans to build what will be the world's largest suspension bridge, connecting Africa and Arabia. It's a huge engineering project, and promises to make a big difference in the economy of the region.

I wrote about the bridge project elsewhere.

Now that I've gotten your attention, here's a little puzzle. Breaking this blog's format, I'm giving a number of excerpts from an article, without first giving the article's name and source.

See if you can guess who published this. I've but some key phrases in bold.

"DJIBOUTI, Aug 13--The brother of the world's most famous terrorist has unveiled a plan to build the world's longest suspension bridge, linking two continents across the world's most dangerous waters, as well as two new cities -- one at each end.... "

"...An odd mix of Djiboutian government officials, American military contractors and journalists gathered in the splendor of the Djibouti Kempinsky Palace, the country's sole five-star hotel, to watch hyperbolic promotional videos.

"The project was compared to the construction of the Pyramids, the Garden of Eden and the Great Wall of China. It would be a "hope for all humanity".

"The company's chief executive, Mohamed Ahmed al Ahmed, said people around the world would soon hope and pray for a life in Djibouti and would forget their dream of living in America...."

"...The main contractors are a firm called L3 Communications, a company which styles itself as offering 'global security and engineering solutions'.

"It is also one of America's largest defense contractors and its senior staff includes retired military officials and Republican businessmen.

"Sheikh Bin Laden may be the front man, but L3 seemed to be running the show. Experts lined up to answer questions after the video screenings were all working for US firms -- some were former Bush administration officials.

"Even the chief executive, Ahmed, has close American ties. He previously worked for another US defense contractor, DynCorp.

"Ahmed claimed these were minor problems. Look at Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, he insisted ignoring the fact that those cities were built on oil money...."

This informative article makes sure that the reader knows that a big Arabian engineering project involves
  • American military contractors
  • Individuals with links to the American military and the Republican party
We're also told that L3's chief executive, who has "close American ties," ignores the fact "that those cities [Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha] were built on oil money."

This article appeared on Alalam News Channel's website ("Bin Laden to Build World's Longest Bridge " (August 13, 2008)). That's an Iranian station, with offices in Tehran.

Aside from the somewhat dated, overly-formal phrase, "which styles itself," this article could have been written in America. The writer uses English skillfully.

And, I've run into quite a few Americans who regard links to the American military, the Republican party, and the Bush administration in very much the same way as this article's author does: and seem to believe that "oil money" is different from other sorts of money.

I believe I understand why an Iranian might view an Arabian engineering projects connections with Americans with some suspicion. Why some Americans have similar attitudes toward the American military, the "military-industrial complex," 'oil money,' and "big oil" is not so clear.

Not-exactly-related posts, about what some people actually believe:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.