Exiled Saudi Officer Alleges Deadly Force, Including Firing on Villagers, to Clear Land for ‘The Line’ Megacity Project

Former Saudi Arabian intelligence officer Colonel Rabih Alenezi, now residing in the UK, has made startling allegations. He claims that Saudi authorities ordered troops to open fire on villagers who refused to vacate their homes for the construction of a 106-mile-long megacity known as ‘The Line’. This futuristic desert city is a key component of NEOM, a $1 trillion project spearheaded by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The project aims to transform the Saudi desert into an eco-friendly city, diversifying the kingdom’s economy away from oil.

Alenezi alleges that at least one villager was killed and several others were imprisoned for resisting the forced relocation. ‘The Line’ is envisioned as two mirror-encased skyscrapers stretching through the desert, with plans to accommodate one million residents by 2030 and potentially nine million in the long term. However, reports suggest that the project’s progress has been slower than anticipated, with only 300,000 residents expected by the end of the decade and minimal construction completed on the skyscrapers. These allegations raise serious concerns about the human cost of realizing Saudi Arabia’s ambitious vision for the future.

Former Saudi intelligence officer Colonel Rabih Alenezi, now residing in the UK, revealed shocking details about the NEOM project. In spring 2020, he was ordered to clear villages in al-Khuraybah, Tabuk region, for NEOM’s construction, targeting Huwaitat tribe members. Orders sanctioned lethal force against “rebels” who resisted eviction. Alenezi avoided compliance, citing medical reasons, but the mission proceeded, resulting in Abdul Rahim al-Huwaiti’s death and numerous imprisonments.

These claims align with ALQST’s investigation into NEOM, uncovering human rights violations, including illegal displacement and violent crackdowns on dissenters. NEOM, covering a vast desert area, faces feasibility doubts. Architects criticize its ambitious design, questioning its technological feasibility.

Bloomberg’s report highlights NEOM’s setbacks, including conflicts with indigenous populations and staff turnover. NEOM’s extravagant plans must now align with practicality, especially with the FIFA World Cup 2034 looming. Riyadh aims for sustainable growth amidst challenges and unmet investment expectations.

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