The Suez Canal is one of the most important choke point that has massive geopolitical significance to Europe, Africa, North America and the Asian continent. Constructed in 1869, this is the shortest sea route that connects America, Europe, Asia, and Eastern African continents (Varble, 2009). Before the construction of this canal, sailors from Europe had to travel south of Africa when going to the American continent. Similarly, sailors from the American continent had to follow this route in order to reach Europe, India, China, Middle East, and the Eastern Africa regions. This was a costly, dangerous, and time consuming process. According to Lesseps (2011), the geographical location of the Suez Canal makes it a strategic location for trade.
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The report by Varble (2009) indicates that this is the world’s largest trade route for oil. Most of the oil and oil products from the Middle East use this route to reach the rest of the world. This means that the leading oil producing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE largely depend on this route for their economic prosperity. Exports from North and Central American continents to Europe, East Asia, India, East Africa, and Australia heavily rely on this canal. The bilateral trade between Europe and East Africa depends heavily on this canal. This makes it a strategic economic canal that facilitates international canal.
This choke point has been of global political significance to many countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and American continents. According to Lesseps (2011), the Suez Canal played an important role in the colonization of Africa. Following the independence of the United States, Europe turned to Africa as they sought for raw materials to support their industrial sector, and cheap labor. The canal provided European countries, especially the Great Britain, France, and Germany a short route to Africa. They could easily move their forces to the East and South African regions through the canal. This way, the European forces were able to defeat African worriers that tried to resist their rule. The canal helped them gain firm control of the entire continent within a short period of time. When the tripartite aggression was defeated in Suez Canal, it marked the beginning of the waning British control of Africa, Middle East, and part of Asia.
The Suez Canal has been of military significance to the Middle East countries. According to Lesseps and Wolff (2011), Egypt has been very influential in the Arab world because of its control of the Suez Canal. Countries in the Middle East rely on this route to import weapons from the United States and Europe. This means that any sanction by Egypt against any of these countries may cause serious impact on the affected country. It may choke it both economically and militarily. This explains why Egypt has been very influential in the international policies in this region. Israel has specifically relied on this route to enable it import military equipment from the United States.
Currently, the Suez Canal has been of significant to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. The sanctions placed against Hamas by the Egyptian government have massively weakened this Islamic extremist group. This has benefited Israel which is fighting against this group. The United States also rely on this canal in its effort to expand its military presence in this region.
Lesseps, F. (2011). The Suez Canal: Letters and documents descriptive of its rise and progress in 1854-1856. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lesseps, F., & Wolff, H. D. (2011). The history of the Suez Canal: A personal narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Varble, D. (2009). The Suez crisis. New York: Rosen Publishers.