|Southwest Asia News Digest
Zayed Canal Will Bring Water from Nile To Southwest Egypt
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)In mid-August, construction was completed on the Sheikh Zayed Canal, to convey Nile water from Lake Nasser, westward to the Toshka Desert oases, to ultimately establish a new 100,000-acre area of irrigated farming, and domicile for 3 million people. The main transfer canal runs more than 50 km westward from the giant Mubarak Pumping Station, adjacent to Lake Nasser. This giant pump operation, completed in 2005, is considered one of the world's "mega" engineering projects.
Four additional 22 km side-branch canals run off north-south from the main Zayed Canal channel, to supply intended farmland. Tests are starting on the main canal's three irrigation pump installations now; farming experiments will then take place, to see how the desert sands transform into arable cropland. (See details in www.water-technology.net; and EIR Special Report, "Peace Through Development in Africa's Great Lakes Region" (1997), pp. 139-142.)
These Upper Egypt canals, pumps, new town sites, and farming areas are in the spirit of geo-engineering new resources for the future, in opposition to the "fixed resources" mind-set of the era of globalization, now crashing to a close.
The overall "Toshka Project" was inaugurated in January 1997, and is to be completed by 2020. Its official name is the National Project for Developing Upper Egypt (NPDUE). Its aim is to "go out from the Nile Valley," and constitute new agro-industrial towns, for what is sometimes called a "New Delta" project. The Nile canal water runs along a route some geologists believe was the former western branch of the Nile. Groundwater, as well as Nile flow, will be used for the new irrigation programs.
Eventually, 10% of Egypt's allotment of Nile flow may be channeled into this new Toshka Desert development project. The Nile River waters are shared by 10 nations, and opponents of improvements in use of the water are attempting to play off the Nile Basin countries against each other. However, with eventual nuclear-powered desalination in the region, plus use of aquifer water in the meantimesuch as that of the Nubian Aquiferthere is no need to bow to apparent physical constraints.
Because of the volume of water to be conveyed, a canal, not a pipeline was used. To reduce seepage, construction has involved lining the canal with layers of cement, sand, concrete, and polymer sheeting, plus a final coating of paint.
The Zayed Canal was named in recognition of the $100 million donation to the project, made through the Abu Dhabi development fund, by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan El Nahayan, President of the U.A.E.
Egyptian Nuclear Tender by Beginning of Next Year
Sept. 6 (EIRNS)In a discussion with EIR, Dr. Mohamed Mounir Megahed, a former director of Egypt's nuclear power authority, confirmed that Egypt will be issuing a tender for the construction of a nuclear power stations at the El Dabaa site on the Mediterranean. The specifications will be finished by the end of the year and a tender will follow soon after. This will be the culmination of the relaunching of Egypt's nuclear program in 2007.
Megahed said the site was proposed many years ago for a reactor. The Worley Parsons company of Australia re-studied the site and confirmed that it was still the best site for a reactor. What is new is the fact that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak intervened to prevent hotel developers from grabbing the land; he said that all major nuclear power station constructors have made presentations, including the U.S.A.'s Westinghouse, the Chinese, Russians, French, and South Koreans. He said already 40 Egyptian experts are undergoing training programs in Russia.
Megahed said the first power station will be used exclusively for electricity, but follow-on projects would involved desalination.
The name "Parsons" in Worley Parsons comes from the acquisition of Parson EE, the hydrocarbon engineering division of The Ralph M. Parsons Co. which designed the NAWAPA project. Worley Parsons also bought out the American nuclear engineering company UniField Engineering.
Israel Doesn't Care About Peace
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)A Time magazine cover story, "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace," has the Israeli right wing screaming that Time has committed a "blood libel" against Israel. Author Karl Vick writes that "Israelis are no longer preoccupied with" peace with the Palestinians. "They're otherwise engaged: They're making money; they're enjoying the rays of the late summer ... they have moved on." Vick has visited Ashodabout 14 miles north of Gaza, and quotes an Israeli real estate agent there named Heli Itach, who tells him, "Even when the Qassams fell, we continued to sell.... What the people see on the TV there is not true here.... I sold, this week, 12 apartments. You're not a client, I tell you the truth." Another real estate seller says, "People are indifferent. They don't care if there's going to be war. They don't care if there's going to be peace. They don't care. They live in the moment."
Vick counterposes this hedonistic, ultra-chic scene to the Washington summit that was about to begin, that brought together three Presidents, a King, and a Prime Minister for peace talks that are going nowhere.
Time's article is the latest of a spate of comments from U.S. institutions that ask if Israel has become a strategic liability. Even Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagancommander of secret assassinationstold the Israeli Knesset on June 1, one day after the Israeli commandos killed an American citizen on the humanitarian aid flotilla bound for Gaza, that Israel is turning from an "asset" into a "burden" to the United States.
U.S. May Propose West Bank Peace-Keeping Force
Sept. 10 (EIRNS)National Security Advisor Jim Jones is proposing a multi-national peacekeeping force for the West Bank, after a state agreement, like the peacekeeping force in Sinai or the Lebanon border force. Israel opposes this completely, says the Jerusalem Post. "Experience shows us that we cannot trust multi-national forces to do the job like in Lebanon," one senior defense official said. "If the Palestinians are not capable of preventing the rise of terrorism independently, they are not yet ready to receive control of the territory." Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reportedly supported this. The Post adds, "Another idea being floated is the deployment of a pan-Arab force in the Gaza Strip as a way to assist the PA in restoring a foothold there."
IAEA Backs Off on Investigation of Israeli Nukes
Sept. 6 (EIRNS)UN investigators, ordered to write a report about Israel's atomic capabilities, said they couldn't compile enough information to assess Israel's nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released documents showing a split between member countries who want more light shed on Israel's nuclear work, and others that say that the IAEA doesn't have the right to pry. In September 2009, the IAEA's 151 members voted to have it review Israel's program, as part of an effort to create a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East. Israel has refused to cooperate with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano's inquiry, on "political and legal" grounds. Canada, the U.K., and U.S. opposed the probe, saying that the inquiry risked turning the IAEA into a political battleground, according to the documents. Others, including China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey, supported the investigation. This will be discussed at the IAEA's annual General Conference which convenes Sept. 20 in Vienna.
Media Hypes IAEA Report on Iran
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)The IAEA'S latest report on Iran's nuclear program actually breaks no new ground, providing technical data on the volume of low-enriched uranium produced by Iran, and quantities of uranium enriched to 20%. Based on review of all available information, the report concludes that the agency has received insufficient information from Iran to accurately determine whether work has taken place on weaponization since 2004. A preliminary reading is that the media hype about an Iranian nuclear breakout is not consistent with the 11-page IAEA document.