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Escalating violence on the Arabian Peninsula
A region rich in history, land of myth, and the birth place of Islam the Arabian Peninsula is interesting in many ways, unfortunately violence is the main reason thatdraws the gaze of the world to this region. It is located on some of the most vital sea lanes for the global economy, the straits of Hormuz and Bab-al Mandab. This makes any political problems, and acts of violence on the peninsula and near it, a big problem for major powers as it threatens their economic security, and guaranties their presence in the region. Religious and cultural differences, as well as the complex political military crisisin Yemen, and the unfolding so called Middle-East Cold War, between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, andthe Islamic Republic of Iran create an atmosphere of conflict, violence and mistrust.
The economic worth of Arabia is what interests the world the most. Saudi Arabian oil deposits represent about 22% of the global oil reserves, as such they are a crucial supplier of this resource. Iran and the United Arab Emirates also have major reserves of oil. Other recourses such as natural gas, gold and other metals are also present in large quantities. Major sea lanes in the region are of great importance. The Strait of Hormuz connects the Gulf of Oman with the Persian Gulf. In 2016, total oil flow increased to a record high of 18.5 million barrels per day — or, about 30 percent of the world’s total oil consumption.Bab-al Mandab as an extension to the Suez Canalwhich is considered one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes, with more than 100 vessels traversing it daily. In fact, 3.9 million oil barrels per day transited the Suez Canal in 2016; and in 2017, more than 900,000 tons of cargo traveled through. Most of which also goes through Bab-al Mandab.
The situation in Arabia further deteriorated after President Donald Trump abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action which contained regulation of nuclear energy. Not long after, it has been discovered that Iran upped its stockpile of enriched uranium over the before agreed limit speeding up its nuclear program. This resulted in sanctions imposed by the United States. Iran has also allegedly attacked two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz as well as four commercial ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The United Kingdom has since seized an Iranian supertanker in Gibraltar and Iran has returned the favor by seizing a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Two oil plants in Saudi Arabia have also been attacked and Iran stands accused. Allegations connect to the current situation in Yemen where the Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, stand against the regime in the South of Yemen, backed by Saudi Arabia and UAE. The conflict in Yemen produced over 90 000 victims since 2015 and is deemed one of the biggest humanitarian crises by the United Nations.