• Short Summary

    The outbreak of gunfire on the tiny islands of Greater and Lesser Tombs in the Arabian Gulf on Tuesday (30 November) follows months of jockeying for position by Middle East states as British forces prepare to withdraw from the area.

  • Description

    The outbreak of gunfire on the tiny islands of Greater and Lesser Tombs in the Arabian Gulf on Tuesday (30 November) follows months of jockeying for position by Middle East states as British forces prepare to withdraw from the area.

    Britain, gradually disengaging from the commitments left over from its Empire, has declared it will withdraw its operational forces from the Gulf by the end of this year. British power has been a central factor in the Gulf since Imperial warships secured the vital trade route 150 years ago. But relatively recent oil deposits have brought vast wealth to the area -- as an example of this, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi have the highest per capital incomes in the world.

    With the impending change in the power balance, Iran, which controls the Eastern coast of the Gulf, pressed its claims to three tiny but extremely strategic Gulf islands. But the rockey pieces of land were already claimed by two of the "Trucial states" -- independent territories on the southwest coast of the Gulf whose ruling Sheikhs have long been linked to Britain by treaty.

    The Arab world recognised the islands as belonging to these states, Iraq in particular looked with deep misgivings on the Iranian claims. The Gulf is Ira's lifeline and is its only access to the sea.

    In and accord announced on Monday (29 November) night, Iran will now occupy the island of Abu Musaa with the Emirate of Sharjah. Both sides will now share defence and Government of the island.

    But the other two disputed islands, Greater and lesser Tombs, were not claimed by Sharjah, but by another Emirate -- Ras Al Khaimah. And there has been no agreement signed with Ras Al Khaimah by the "Trucial states".

    It was on Greater Tomb that the fighting flared when Iranian troops landed on Tuesday.

    The new developments in the Gulf leave Ras Al Khaimah in a delicate situation, unless she finds she can get support from more powerful members of the Arab world.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA13EZY3OOPN3V9VNYE9BWJKZVY
    Media URN:
    VLVA13EZY3OOPN3V9VNYE9BWJKZVY
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    30/11/1971
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:43:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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