In this issue:

New Bridge To Link Arab Peninsula to Africa

Talks Aim To Settle Darfur Rebellion

Sudan Reports Coup Plan Preempted

From Volume 6, Issue 29 of EIR Online, Published July 17, 2007
Africa News Digest

New Bridge To Link Arab Peninsula to Africa

July 14 (EIRNS)—With pledges of land and endorsements from the Presidents of Djibouti and Yemen, a Dubai-based developer, Middle East Development LLC (MED), which is overseeing the project, on April 25 gave the green light to newly formed Noor City Development Corp. of California, to proceed with designing and building a bridge connecting Yemen on the southern tip of the Arab Peninsula, with Djibouti on the African mainland.

The bridge will cross the Gulf of Aden at the southern end of the Red Sea, and is being promoted as the longest bridge in the world, at 18 miles. To allow clearance for submarine and surface vessels, the proposed bridge will have the longest suspension span in the world, measuring 3.1 miles, according to a May 22 press release on The bridge is designed to provide freight train, light rail, and automobile service to and from the two continents, and will accommodate over 100,000 cars and 50,000 rail riders daily, according to a May 1 article at Engineering News Record ( It will cost $10-20 billion and will take seven to nine years to complete.

Tarik E. Ayyad, president of the Noor City Development Corp., said MED's goal is to create stability and economic opportunities on both sides of the Red Sea by tying in the bridge to new road and rail construction hubs in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. "If you open up to this" transportation system that provides access into the heart of Africa, "then you can create jobs by moving products, moving services," he said. "You can ignite economic development just by the transportation element. The bridge is really critical." Ayyad is a construction manager, civil engineer, and former bridge engineer with the California Department of Transportation.

A map depicting the bridge's location is available at:

Talks Aim To Settle Darfur Rebellion

July 15 (EIRNS)—Two separate but parallel meetings working to resolve the Darfur rebellion took place this weekend, one in Tripoli, Libya, and the other in Asmara, Eritrea.

In Tripoli, mediators in the Darfur rebellion held their latest meeting today, to try to set a new timetable for talks between Sudan and the rebels. Participants included representatives of the UN, the Arab League, Britain, Canada, Chad, China, Egypt, Eritrea, France, Libya, Sudan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, the United States, and the European Union, according to today. The lack of a united negotiating position on the part of the rebels has made it difficult to get negotiations going between Sudan and the rebels, who have reportedly split into more than a dozen armed groups.

The day before the Tripoli meeting, an encouraging development took place in Asmara, Eritrea, where it was announced that five rebel groups from Darfur had agreed to join forces in pushing for a solution to the conflict in Darfur, western Sudan, according to today. The new coalition calls itself the United Front for Liberation and Development, saying they wanted "a united front to deal with the crisis in Darfur and the Sudan; and appeal to all other movements to contribute to unity efforts." They have been meeting in Eritrea since late May. Eritrea, Chad, and Libya have been pushing for such a coalition for the rebels, to facilitate peace negotiations with Khartoum.

Just before the Tripoli meeting, Reuters reported on July 14 that Bush Administration Special Envoy Andrew Natsios, after a tour of Darfur, speaking from Khartoum, claimed that Sudan had resumed bombing civilian targets in Darfur, after the bombing had stopped at the end of April. Sudan's envoy to the UN, Abdalhaleem Abdalmahmood, blasted Natsios' statement, saying Natsios is "a stumbling block to peace in Darfur" and denied that his government carried out any bombings recently in Darfur.

Sudan Reports Coup Plan Preempted

July 15 (EIRNS)—Fourteen alleged conspirators, including former Sudan Presidential Assistant Mubarak Al-Fadil Al-Mahadi, and 12 retired military officers, were preemptively arrested in connection with a planned coup plot last night, according to today. A source quoted by the Jordanian al-Bawaba online service, said the group had Khartoum divided into a number of zones to execute their plans. The group had been monitored since April.

"Fourteen of them were arrested and are now being interrogated by the concerned security authorities," the pro-government Sudanese Media Center (SMC) reported, quoting a security source. reported monitoring "a series of meetings, recruitment operations for some retired military men, operations for transporting various weapons, and hiding them in Khartoum, and working out plans to create great chaos in the capital during which effective subversive acts are to be carried out and targeting of strategic institutions along with directing a call to what is called international community for immediate intervention, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement issued Saturday night adding that the 14 had been in contact with foreign countries."

See this week's InDepth for: "Sudan Development Initiative Aims To Counter Destabilization Campaign," by Douglas DeGroot.

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