Perils of the Red Sea states

Choke points, instability and pirates.

Perils of the Red Sea states

By Yenus S

The Middle East’s geopolitical status quo, more often than not, is determined by the three chokepoints for maritime transit of oil, namely the Strait of Hormuz, the shallow water lane between Iran and Oman, the Bab al Mandeb Strait, located between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and the Suez Canal in Egypt.

The countries bordering these ‘gates’ have the upper hand in controlling the political, social and economic events of the region. These chokepoints not only shape the regional affairs but also define the global energy security concerns.

The US Energy Information Administration define world chokepoints as narrow channels along widely-used sea routes and are critical part of global energy security because of the high volume of petroleum products transported through their narrow strait.

During 2011-12, the European Union banned oil export from Iran in an attempt to deter it from its controversial nuclear programme.

Iran responded by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Political tension ensued between Iran and the world community which saw a temporary rise in oil prices.

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