ONE OF Osama bin Laden's many half-brothers, Tarek bin Laden, this week signed a deal with tiny Djibouti which may or may not mark the start of one of the world's boldest engineering projects. Djibouti's president, Ismael Omar Guelleh, promised Mr bin Laden 500 sq km (193 sq miles) of land to start building Noor City, the first of a hundred "Cities of Light" the vast Saudi Binladen Group plans around the world. "A hope for all humanity, the first environmental city of the 21st century," gushed the promotional video at the signing. The audience, mostly American military contractors near retirement age, clapped enthusiastically. Engineers elsewhere say the scheme is a fantasy.
Mr bin Laden, his sons, and their front man, Muhammad Ahmed al-Ahmed, a Saudi former shipping executive, say they have already invested "hundreds of millions of dollars" in a plan to build cities on either side of the Bab al-Mandib (Gate of Tears) strait at the foot of the Red Sea. Construction is supposed to begin next year, after the terms of sovereignty for the tax-free metropolises have been agreed. By 2025, says Mr Ahmed, Djibouti's Noor City will have 2.5m people and its Yemeni twin 4.5m. Several million jobs will be created. An airport serving both cities will, he says, attract 100m passengers a year. A 29km bridge across the strait will connect Arabia and Africa by road, rail and pipelines, its towers among the tallest on earth. The cost? A mere $200 billion or so.
full article: http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidZAWYA20080803084020
(no possible conflicts of interest here, right?)
(maybe I'll just title these entries "y'all not gon' believe this $#!^".)
*cough* carlyle group *cough*