The Gulf: Threats of a Wider War

Iran and Iraq suffer heavy losses as fears rise of a major escalation

"From today, the siege of Kharg Island will begin."

That chilling announcement by the Iraqi government of President Saddam Hussein last week sent shock waves of alarm to the U.S., Western Europe and Japan, as well as to Iraq's Arab neighbors. It suggested that after 41 months of bloody but inconclusive fighting between Iraq and Iran, the Iraqis had decided to make good on a longstanding threat to close down Iran's biggest oil-exporting terminal. If that happens, the Iranian government of Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini has threatened to retaliate...

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