The Dark Secrets of Neom Inside Saudi Arabia's £400 Billion Megacity

The Dark Secrets of Neom: Inside Saudi Arabia’s £400 Billion Megacity

Uncover the dark secrets of Neom, Saudi Arabia’s £400 billion Megacity: shocking displacement and human rights violations plague this ambitious project.

NEOM

Neom, a futuristic megacity in Saudi Arabia, stands poised to transform a stretch of the desert into an unparalleled urban marvel. 

Spearheaded by Crown Prince Bin Salman and part of a £400 billion eco-project, The Line is envisioned as a shimmering cityscape with mirrored skyscrapers, an artificial mountain and ski resort, a sophisticated AI and robot network, and even a dedicated swimming lane for commuters. 

However, beneath the glittering surface lies a darker reality: allegations of human rights violationsevictions, and harrowing treatment of the indigenous Howeitat tribe.

Disturbing Allegations Surface

A high-ranking Saudi security official, Col. Rabih Alenezi, who fled to London after working for the kingdom’s security service for 20 years, recently revealed chilling details of his government’s orders. 

Alenezi claims he was instructed to “kill” those who resisted evictions to make way for the Neom project.

Over 6,000 people have been displaced from their homes in the Gulf region, and satellite images capture the demolition of villages like Sharma, Gayal, and al-Khuraybah. 

According to BBC reports, Abdul Rahim al-Huwaiti, one villager who opposed the valuation of his property, was shot dead by Saudi authorities in the clearance mission. 

A UN investigation confirmed that he was killed for resisting the eviction.

Uncompromising Tactics

Col. Alenezi states that he was ordered to enforce the displacement at any cost.

 “Whoever continues to resist [eviction] should be killed, so it licensed the use of lethal force against whoever stayed in their home,” he told the BBC. 

In his testimony, he highlighted the brutal repression of the Howeitat tribe to clear the area for Neom, the centerpiece of Bin Salman’s vision.

Persistent Detentions

2023 report by human rights organization Alqst revealed that 47 members of the Howeitat tribe have been arrested or detained. 

Of these, 40 remain in detention, and five are on death row, awaiting execution. 

The authorities insist that those displaced by the Megacity have been adequately compensated, but Alqst reports that the actual payouts are significantly lower than promised.

A Futuristic Dream with a Grim Reality

The planned area for Neom is about 10,000 square miles in Tabuk Province, traditionally inhabited by the Howeitat tribe. 

The city’s ambition is grandiose. 

It promises mirrored skyscrapers, an octagonal floating port, and a lifestyle catering to uber-rich residents

Over 100 million cubic meters of sand have been moved to dig out a 75-mile canyon for this futuristic city

However, the stories of violence, displacement, and suppression cast a long shadow over the ambitious eco-project.

While authorities continue to publicize Neom’s futuristic marvels, questions remain about the human cost of this urban transformation.

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