Monday, August 27, 2007

Saudis set up force to guard oil plants

Saudi Arabia has begun setting up a 35,000-strong security force to protect its oil infrastructure from potential attacks.

The move underlines the kingdom’s growing concern about its oil installations after threats from al-Qaeda to attack facilities in the Gulf, as well as rising tensions between Iran and the US.

The force already numbers about 5,000 personnel, a Saudi adviser said on Sunday. They are being trained in the use of new surveillance equipment, countermeasures and crisis management under a programme managed by US defence group Lockheed Martin, according to the Middle East Economic Survey in Nicosia.

The recruits are learning about laser security and satellite imaging from Lockheed on behalf of the Sandia National Laboratories’ Defense Systems and Assessments Unit – a US government run unit in New Mexico, said MEES....

More from the Financial Times