Kuwait plans to invest $132 billion in a project that will include a one-kilometer high tower and house 700,000 people. To be called Madinat al-Hareer (Silk City), the project takes its name from the Silk Road trade route that once connected Europe and China via the Middle East. However, the project's planners do not intend to dispatch caravans but instead aim to build an international rail network connecting Kuwait not only with its neighbors in the Gulf but as far away as Israel. The project's chief planner is Dr. Sami al-Faraj, president of Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies and an adviser to the Gulf Cooperation Council. "We hold the keys to a lot of things, but it is not just money. For small states like us the important thing is not oil, it's not money - it is influence. If we do not use oil or money to increase our influence in a peaceful way, we have no existence," the Kuwait Times quoted Faraj as saying. Regarding opposition to the proposed link to Israel, Faraj said such thinking was outdated, particularly as Israel was forging ahead as a global technology leader. "People in the Gulf are smart enough to understand the impact of technology on their development and they know that the technology is in Israel," he said.