Great Strategic Significance
The German Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), which has its headquarters in Eschborn, in the German Land Hesse, announced that, along with the EADS-subsidiary Dornier Consulting, it is organizing the construction of a 26 million m³ capacity drinking water reservoir in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Also planned is the recharging of the groundwater system by allowing desalinated seawater to percolate through the soil in a desert region. The GTZ explained that in a "crisis situation" a million people could be supplied with drinking water for 90 days with this method, calling it a project of "great strategic significance".
According to GTZ, by 2014 160 km of pipeline will be laid, 3 large-scale seepage reservoirs constructed, 326 wells dug, 117 groundwater measuring systems as well as pumping stations and chlorination facilities installed in the thinly populated Liwa region on the outskirts of the Rub' al Khali Desert. This US $500 million construction project also includes the establishment of an "autarkic" electrical power grid, which will insure the continued functioning of the facility, even in the case of a total collapse of the public electrical power grid. Evidently, the government of the UAE sees the country's water supply system as a potential target of a military or terrorist attack. According to the GTZ, to safeguard against this sort of "catastrophe," a reservoir is needed with a capacity that provides officials "enough leeway" to be able "to get the damaged facilities operating again. In this context, the GTZ proudly points out that the projected reservoir will be almost entirely covered with desert sand. "This sort of camouflage provides significantly enhanced security against foreign attack."
The state-run development agency further explains that the underground reservoir is arousing the "growing interest" of the UAE's neighbors, who are also importing voluminous amounts of western arms as fortification against Iran. "In Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and also Saudi Arabia, the drinkable water supply would be very quickly depleted in a crisis situation," according to GTZ. GTZ's "project partner", the EADS subsidiary, Dornier Consulting, has, according to its own admissions, begun "probing the groundwater reserves in the Rub' al Khali Desert and in the central region of Saudi Arabia." "Water projects" were the main focus of the "delegation visits" at the beginning of last month by Dornier head manager, Jürgen Koffler and the Prime Minister of Baden Wurttemberg, Stafan Mappus (CDU) to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Following the trip, Koffler declared that since "German engineering quality" is "highly appreciated" on the Arabian Peninsular, he is expecting a massive "expansion of business activity" particularly in "large-scale construction in the water sector."
Sealing the Borders
Dornier Consulting, which has offices in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, is also lending support to the EADS mother company in its Arab Peninsular business activities. For example, according to Dornier's own admission, its "good contacts"  were very beneficial in helping EADS to land a Saudi government contract worth billions. This weapons manufacturer was able to beat out such rivals as Thales, Raytheon, Finmeccanica and BAE-Systems to win the contract for erecting a comprehensive "border security control system". By 2014 EADS will install fences, infrared cameras and ground radar systems along Saudi Arabia's 9,000 km borders, systems for the surveillance of airports and harbors, as well as communication centers as receiving stations for the information generated by the sensors, aerial surveillance and ground patrols. The weapons company is also relying on input from so-called operational advisors - which it describes as "former military personnel" for example "ex-generals."
At the announcement of the deal, Stefan Zoller, head manager of the "Defence and Security" branch of EADS, prided himself with having landed "the world's most important contract in security technology", and pointed to the "strong support received from the German government". Whereas EADS personnel will be in charge of training Saudi nationals to handle the technical instruments for border surveillance, German Federal Police officers will be taking care of the basic training of Saudi border troops. Their activities are particularly aimed at preventing the infiltration of uninvited guests from Yemen. They pose an "acute danger to the domestic political situation" in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, says the Middle East expert of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Guido Steinberg. "All sorts of counter-proposals to the Saudi government," are coming from Yemen, whose borders, which had been charted by the German company, Hansa Luftbild, run, to a large extent, through the Rub' al Khali Desert - in other words, right through the area where Dornier and the GTZ are planning to build their underground drinking water reservoir.