Deploying more of the Royal Navy to protect oil tankers from Iranian attack as they sail through the Strait of Hormuz is a short-term fix to a historic problem of providing energy security in the Persian Gulf. Instead of Britain adding to the crowded fleet of warships converging on the region, new export routes such as pipelines and canals should be opened up to provide long-term peaceful alternatives that would finally reduce the world’s dependence on the narrow 21-mile-wide channel dominated by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Slightly more than 20 million b/d of crude oil – around a fifth of the world’s supply – is shipped out of the region under the gun sights of Iran’s hardline military forces, now overlooking the channel that is currently policed by the US Fifth Fleet. US President Donald Trump wants this to change, and has called for a larger international force to be established to protect the chokepoint, or pay for it, after a series of attacks on oil shipping and threats followed US sanctions on Iran. The most recent skirmish occurred this week when HMS Montrose was forced to head off Iranian forces allegedly threatening the BP-operated tanker British Heritage. The incident –… continue reading
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Source: CTRM Center