July 14, 2008
Arab governments are deeply worried about the prospect of war between Iran and Israel and/or the US for the very good reason that several of them would be directly in the firing line if hostilities erupted. Any fallout could have devastating consequences.
Iranian retaliation against oilfields, refineries and desalination plants in the Gulf, especially in eastern Saudi Arabia, is an obvious worry. Tehran has gone on the record as threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz, the choke point for 40% of globally-traded oil, if it is attacked. Washington quickly insisted that it will not let that happen.
As the sabres rattled this week, Iran warned that it would strike at Tel Aviv and the US navy, though Revolutionary Guard Shehab missiles would find it difficult to distinguish between American and Arab targets: the US Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain; US Central Command in nearby Qatar and the US navy has long relied on docking facilities at Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates.