New Suez Canal Project Recalls Nasser and the Aswan Dam

The new Egypt under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is playing a leading part in the new system of nations led by China, with its project for mining the Moon for Helium-3 to be used for thermonuclear fusion as a world science-driver system. Egypt’s importance as the leader of the Arab and Islamic world makes this leadership role doubly important.

There is little doubt that President el-Sisi is taking his lessons from the heritage of Gamal Abdel Nasser, as is clearly reflected in such actions as his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, shortly after he snubbed Obama’s African summit, and his most recent letter to Argentina’s President expressing full solidarity with Argentina’s struggle against the international speculators. The recently announced, and now being implemented “New Suez Canal” project, is being used to mobilize the population in the same way as Nasser’s Aswan Dam project of more than half a century ago.

Sisi announced the project at a conference on Aug. 5, and within a week, photos of bulldozers and huge dump trucks appeared in the Egyptian media as 7,500 workers began the project. This figure will increase to 15,000 within weeks. Because Sisi ordered the project to be completed within one year and not three years as planned, the Army has taken over supervising more than 40 Egyptian companies, a figure that will soon increase to 63. They have started digging the new 35 kilometer canal that will parallel the old canal north of Lake Timsah and the Bitter Lake. The section of the canal below the lakes will be widened for the length of 37 kilometers. The sand dredged from excavation work will reach 0.5 million cubic meters per day.

When finished, it will double the waterway’s capacity to 97 ships a day by 2023, up from 49 now. “The digging of a parallel canal is certainly good news. It is expected to decrease the crossing time for vessels from 18 hours to 11 hours,” Adel Al-Lamai, chairman of the Port Said Shipping Chamber, said. Vessels currently wait between 36 and 40 hours to cross the Suez Canal, in addition to the 18-hour crossing. “Shorter crossing times mean fewer costs and more profit for the shipping companies, shipowners and traders. This is certainly a major benefit,” he added.

A two-way voyage through the canals could cost over a $1 million in fees. The saving from the reduction of transit time, can lead to a decision by a ship operator to decide whether to send his ship from China to the East Coast of the U.S. through the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal.

The project includes the development of 76,000 sq km (29,000 sq miles) around the canal into an international industrial and logistics hub in order to attract more ships and generate income. As we reported earlier, President el-Sisi has noted that this Development Corridor project is based on the original design of well-known Egyptian scientist Farouk El-Baz, whose projects are known to EIR readers through his interviews with the magazine.

Only Egyptian companies will be involved in the canal project. Financing will be through issuing debt certificates which only Egyptian citizens can buy, and which will be issued through Egyptian banks. The entire project which includes the canal itself and new roads, railroads and tunnels beneath the canal, will cost about 60 billion Egyptian pounds ($8.4 billion). Officials have said the new canal would boost annual revenues to $13.5 billion from $5 billion by 2023. Speaking of the debt certificates, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said on state television yesterday, “The President adopted today a national plan to finance the Suez Canal project,” according to Reuters. “Every Egyptian can own them and they will be issued by Egyptian banks.”

Pending a security review by the military, a foreign consortium will be named for developing the master plan for the corridor development, which features four new seaports in the canal area, a new industrial zone west of the Gulf of Suez and a technology valley in Ismailia. By the first quarter of 2015, Arab and foreign companies will be invited to bid for specific local projects.

President Sisi has said that the Dabaa Nuclear Plant near Alexandria will be a national project, like the canal project, for the immediate future. The plant is to have two stations, of 1,600 and 900 Megawatts.

Lyndon LaRouche had characterized President Sisi from the beginning of his term, as a fighter for the interests of the Egyptian people, as against those, wise in their own estimation, who had dismissed him as a “Saudi puppet.”

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