Will the Gulf Explode?

The Iraq-Iran war spews sparks and ignites fuses in all directions

It is the kind of war that could drag on for months and perhaps years—or could just as easily end overnight. The conflict between Iraq and Iran might remain in quarantine, limited to battles between two angry neighbors who have a long history of ethnic and sectarian enmity. Or it could suddenly expand, touching off a full-scale confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

The danger of the Persian Gulf exploding was foremost in the minds of...

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