Why the Strait of Hormuz is so important

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Maritime oil trade from the Arabian Peninsula relies exclusively on two strategic chokepoints: The Strait of Hormuz, to the UAE’s north, and Bab Al Mandeb to the south.

Despite efforts to diversify the GCC countries’ economy, oil trade remains a lifeline. More than a third of the world’s petroleum trade by sea passes through the Strait of Hormuz. At its most narrow, The Strait of Hormuz is just 54 KM wide. It connects the Arabian Gulf to the Indian Ocean, separating the shores of Oman and Iran.

It’s one of the most strategically important waterways in the world. But with tensions between Iran and some of the GCC countries rising, the Strait of Hormuz might also be the GCC’s biggest strategic vulnerability.

This week, we spoke to Clement Therme, who is a research fellow for Iran at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He’s based in Bahrain where he helps analyse Iran’s political trajectory.

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