London, Aug 13: Sheikh Tarek bin Laden, the brother of world's number one terrorist Osama bin Laden, plans to build the world's longest bridge - 18 miles - connecting two continents - Africa and Arabia - at an estimated cost of 200 billion dollars, and also wants to establish two new cities, one at each end of the over-sea bridge to be built.
According to an official of the company building the bridge, linking of the two continents would allow trade to blossom 'from Dakar to Beijing'. Quite strangely, some of the major US companies with strong links to the Bush administration appear to be in-charge of the project. The main contractors are a firm called 'L3 Communications', a company which styles itself as offering 'global security and engineering solutions'. It is also one of America's largest defence contractors and its staff includes retired military officials and Republican businessmen.
Sheikh Bin Laden may be the front man, but L3 seemed to be running the show.
What is being described as the 'envy of the world', the Al Noor project will go across the Bab al-Mandib (Gate of Tears), the strait connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden. Two cities, one in tiny Djibouti, the other in Yemen, will sit at either end.
According to those close to Sheikh Bin Laden's, he has already ploughed hundreds of millions of dollars into the project himself, reported The Independent.
The Saudi developer claims that the new metropolises will be the "envy" of the world, with the finest hospitals and schools, world-class universities and sporting facilities - everything will be the biggest and the best.
Building them will require a staggering influx of migrant labour. The Djibouti city alone needs 850,000 workers - the country's entire population (children and babies included) is 800,000, added the English daily.
According to the paper, once built, the two cities will be the models for a further 98 Sheikh Bin Laden hopes to build worldwide. And, judging by the grand launch in Djibouti last month, it is a question he is unlikely to ever have to answer.
The project was compared to the construction of the Pyramids, the Garden of Eden and the Great Wall of China. It would be a 'hope for all humanity'. Whereas once people from around the world dreamed of one day living in America, soon they would hope and pray for a life in Djibouti, said the company's chief executive, Mohamed Ahmed al Ahmed.
The bridge linking the two continents would allow trade to blossom 'from Dakar to Beijing', he said, ignoring the fact that Djibouti's best link to the rest of Africa is a 90-year-old railway that takes two days to travel 300 miles to the nearest city, Addis Ababa.