Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gulf Arabs have plans against Hormuz closure: official

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Coastguards and naval forces of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) group of Arab countries have contingency plans for a possible attempt by Iran to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a Kuwaiti maritime official said on Monday.

Five of the six GCC members - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Kuwait - rely on the world's most important energy shipping lane being open to export most of their oil or gas.

Tehran has threatened to close the narrow shipping lane between Oman, the only GCC member which does not depend on Hormuz, and Iran if Western sanctions aimed at starving Iran's disputed nuclear program of funds stop it from selling oil.

The GCC members, which also rely on the four-mile-wide (6.4 kilometer) channel being open to import food for their growing populations, has now drawn up a contingency plan in case Iran acts on its threats.

"Exporting oil or importing goods and cargo through Hormuz is a main concern for the GCC," Commander Mubarak Ali Al-Sabah chief of maritime operations at Kuwait's Coast Guard told Reuters in an interview. Read More