MIDDLE EAST: Policeman of the Persian Gulf

Stretching 500 miles southeastward from the delta of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to a narrow strait that doglegs around the tiny tip of Oman, the Persian Gulf may be the world's most valuable and vulnerable waterway. At such desert-edge ports as Ras Tanura, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Dhahran and Kharg Island, scores of supertankers congregate like wallowing whales to suck up crude oil. Daily they plow through the gulfs warm waters and out through the Strait of Hormuz carrying some 20 million bbl. of oil—almost half of the non-Communist world's consumption. If...

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