In response to Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz in the event of a military attack, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is planing to build an inland canal to bring Persian Gulf oil to world markets. “Our oil revenues will be jeopardized if we don’t find an alternative to using the Hormuz Strait for exporting oil,” Dubai Chief of Police Lt.-Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim told the UAE daily Gulf News. The canal, passing through the northern emirate of Ras Al-Kheima, would be big enough to accommodate super-tankers.
Tensions in the Gulf rose further last month as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanai assigned the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) with defending the strategic Strait of Hormuz instead of the regular navy. (Jerusalem Post, Sept. 24)
In mid-October, Iran’s air force undertook large-scale aerial maneuvers to test its fighters’ gunnery and bombing tactics. Interceptor aircraft, bombers, domestically-manufactured drones and electronic surveillance planes were also tested in the exercise, which was carried out throughout the country Oct. 16 and 17.
Iran’s media cited recent Israeli military threats as a key motive behind the maneuvers. In July, Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said: “All options are on the table. If there won’t be a choice other than a nuclear Iran or a military option, it’s clear what our decision has to be.” (Press TV, Iran, Oct. 18)