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The choke point is a geographic location that is hard to pass and restricts movement or traffic. Constraining aspects are especially important during military conflicts because the entrance of enemy forces is often limited. The closing of these locations may cause long-term implications.
Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz is one of the most significant choke points in the world. It is located between Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. Its depth is approximately 100 meters (Thoppil and Hogan 1344). However, it is deeper in certain areas. It should be noted that numerous tides and winds affect the Strait (Pous, Lazure, and Carton 55).
It is hard to argue with the global strategic significance of this location. Dorell states that “the strait is the transit point for 85% of crude oil shipped from the Persian Gulf to Asian markets” (par. 7). Many countries are actively investing in this area. However, there are numerous conflicts around this location. There is a territorial disagreement between Iran and United Arab Emirates. However, they are working on business relationships. The recently formed alliance between Turkey and Iran has been remarkably successful. The cooperation between these countries is necessary to take advantage or Iran’s oil and other deposits (Bahgat 130). Also, Iraq has conflicts with Kuwait and Iran.
There have been numerous battles over this strategic location, and the United States was an active participant. Military forces of Iran have planted various mines to prevent any intervention. Iran has been making attempts to block the location because of conflicts with other countries. The use of missiles aimed at cargo ships is the most dangerous. The military intervention was needed to prevent the possible closing of the location. Starr states that “U.S. Navy ships will no longer accompany U.S., and British-flagged cargo vessels through the Strait of Hormuz” (par. 1). In other words, the government has decided to reduce the control of this location, and tension has been steadily decreasing over the years.
The closing of the strait would have many repercussions (O’Neil and Talmadge 190). First of all, there are no alternative routes to distribute oil and 20 percents of it are distributed through this strait. The most significant problem is that currently there are no technologies that would allow other means of transportation. The closing of the straight would negatively impact the global economy, and it is hard to predict long-term consequences. It would limit the economic development of Iran and other nearby countries. The most likely outcome is the inflation of prices. Also, it definitely would cause a military conflict. However, many believe that it is not possible, and the location would be unlocked after a few days if it is blocked. Nevertheless, many countries are considering different shipping routes in case of emergency.
In conclusion, the strategic significance of this location is globally acknowledged. The possibility of the strait being blocked is extremely dangerous and would cause many repercussions. It would leave such countries as Japan and the United States without a reliable supply of oil. Prices would increase significantly as a result. This location is paramount for international trade. It is imperative that there are no military conflicts because it may impact the economy of the world. Overall, it is necessary for every country to use choke points to their advantage.
Bahgat, Gawdat. “Iran‐Turkey Energy Cooperation: Strategic Implications.” Middle East Policy 21.4 (2014): 121-132.
Dorell, Oren. Ship Seizures in Strait Of Hormuz are Rare despite Tensions. 2015. Web.
O’Neil, William D., and Caitlin Talmadge. “Costs and Difficulties of Blocking the Strait of Hormuz.” International Security 33.3 (2009): 190-198.
Pous, Stéphane, Pascal Lazure, and Xavier Carton. “A Model of the General Circulation in the Persian Gulf and in the Strait of Hormuz: Intraseasonal to interannual variability.” Continental Shelf Research 94 (2015): 55-70.
Starr, Barbara. Navy Ends Escorts through Strait of Hormuz. 2015. Web.
Thoppil, Prasad G., and Patrick J. Hogan. “On the Mechanisms of Episodic Salinity Outflow Events in the Strait of Hormuz.” Journal of Physical Oceanography 39.6 (2007): 1340-1360.