Highlighting the importance of the strait, Cyrus Vance, former US secretary of state, called it “the jugular vein of the West”, while Ali Fadavi, of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said Tehran had the ability to “not allow even a single drop of oil to pass” the strait.
“Multiple pipelines would partly negate the Iranian threat to block [the Strait of] Hormuz,” said Rafael Kandiyoti, senior research fellow at Imperial College London and author of Pipelines: Oil Flows and Crude Politics. “Showing increasing pipeline capacity suits the purposes of Saudi Arabia.”
This is big news, just because it gives these countries an alternative to shipping oil through the Strait of Hormuz. Although my first thought after reading this is that Iran will want to attack these pipelines as a way to shut down oil shipments–if Iran is attacked by Israel (and the west) because of it’s nuclear program.
If Iran is attacked, they will no doubt try to strike back by shutting down the Strait of Hormuz. They will also try to attack and destroy any oil infrastructure in any of the countries whom have key oil partnerships with the west. Saudi Arabia and the UAE would be classified as such.
With that said, it makes sense why the UAE would want to plus up their military with combat veterans from Colombia. They are going to need some serious manpower to effectively cover down on 220 miles of pipeline to protect it from attacks. The pipeline also makes it’s way through some interesting mountainous terrain that small attack groups could certainly take advantage of if you do not have an effective defense.
Interesting stuff and we will see how these pipelines fair, if in fact Iran decides to target them after an attack. -Matt
Saudi Arabia and UAE open strategic pipelines to bypass Hormuz
July 16, 2012
Iranian threats to close the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in response to US and European-led sanctions and pressure over the country’s nuclear programme will seem less alarming with the opening of new Saudi-UAE oil pipelines.
Although the Middle-eastern super-producers did not specify that the pipelines, which bypass the busy shipping lane – responsible for carrying a third of the world’s shipped oil – were a direct response to Iranian sabre-rattling, the move is seen as a pre-emptive strike against an action that would spell economic catastrophe for the region and the West.
The opening of the pipelines comes as diplomatic tensions over Tehran’s nuclear programme – believed to be gearing up to produce weapons grade material – increase and Iran’s oil production, due to the sanctions, has fallen to its lowest level in more than 20 years. Read the rest of this entry »