By Ruben Colffer
Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local
The Strait of Hormuz, a small waterway in the Middle East and one of the most important transportation choke point for global oil supplies, was under the radar on Friday following the killing of a high-profile commander of Iran by a U.S airstrike authorized by President Trump.
General Qassimm Suleimani and other officials were struck in their vehicles by an American MQ-9 Reaper drone, the world’s most feared drone in the world, as they were leaving Baghdad International Airport. This has been a huge loss for Iran since Suleimani was one of the most powerful minds behind Iranian intelligence and military forces for the past two decades.
According to military U.S officials Iran is expected to retaliate with potential attacks to oil tankers that cross the Strait of Hormuz. It would not be the first time that Iran had made these types of attacks. In 2019 several ships were attacked at the strait that led to unfortunate outcomes such as the sudden rise of oil prices.
“His departure to God does not end his path or his mission, but a forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and the blood of the other martyrs last night on their hands,” said in a statement the superior leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
After the attack, the White House tweeted about the attack on General Qassimm Suleimani: “At the direction of the President, the U.S military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S personnel abroad by killing Qassimm Suleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
What is the Strait of Hormuz?
The Strait of Hormuz is one of the most important waterways in the world. It is a narrow stretch of water that links the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. It is 96 miles long and only 21 miles wide. Despite its small size it is one of the main shipping routes in the world.
Where is the Strait of Hormuz?
It lies between Oman and Iran. The Strait of Hormuz and its shipping lanes lie entirely within Iran and Oman’s territorial waters.
Why is it so important?
Persian Gulf countries transfer their oil to Asia and the West through the Strait of Hormuz. In 2018, twenty one million barrels of oil passed through the strait each day, more than any other stretch of water in the world. This is still the best route for transporting substantial amounts of oil out of the Gulf and it is the only route by sea.
Iran has threatened to block the strait entirely along with all oil exports from the Gulf, however they had made this threat before and never follow through.
At the moment all eyes are on the Strait of Hormuz.