The Egyptian government announced earlier this week that a plan to bridge the distance between Egypt and Saudi Arabia across the Gulf of Aqaba is going to become reality in the very near future. A longstanding proposal previously rejected by former President Hosni Mubarak, a bridge linking the Sinai Peninsula and Saudi Arabia is expected to cement ties between those two countries while alienating just about everyone else. And don’t even get us started on the environmental damage that will be caused.
This news comes despite the work of Egyptian activists who have been trying to convince the government that the $3 billion bridge slated to cross Ras Mohamed National Park, which currently protects coral reefs, dive sites and a slew of endangered species, would cause irreparable environmental damage.
”If they build this bridge, coral reefs, endangered species and at least 22 dive sites will all be gone,” Ibrahim Mohamed, an activist with the anti-bridge group IBRedSea told Green Prophet in an earlier interview.
Once built, the 50km land-sea bridge named after King Abdulla will allow travelers to get from Egypt to Saudi Arabia in just 20 minutes.
But critics warn that the western-styled tourism that has for so long propped up the Sinai peninsula will be forever lost if Saudis are given such easy access to the area.
Already there is indication that Qatar’s link to the Muslim Brotherhood is causing divisions on the Arabian peninsula. This move is seen as yet another step towards the radical Islamification of Egypt.
IBRedSea activist Ahmed Abdel Rasoul said that no environmental impact assessments have been carried out to ensure that Egypt’s natural resources will be protected as the progress continues.
One less-discussed side effect of the bridge will be development. While some of the peninsula resorts cater to an upscale clientele, most of the ramshackle beach huts lining the coast will be inadequate for Saudi visitors, which means that grand hotel development plans and other infrastructure will swallow up a great deal of what nature remains.