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Iranian rockets raise Gulf anxiety

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Kuwait's protest to Tehran Nov. 13 over a reported rocket attack on Kuwait's Abdali region, bordering Iraq, underscores the precarious situation in the Gulf, Monitor Middle East correspondent John Yemma writes.

The Iraqi-Iranian war is still going full tilt along the Shatt al Arab waterway, even though it has has slipped from the front pages after almost eight weeks of fighting.

Most of the nations along the Gulf have indicated they side with Iraq, and Iran charges that commodities have been flowing steadily toward Baghdad from some of these nations.

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman are arranged almost as close geographically as the Balkans before World War I. If some or all of these nations were drawn into the conflict, much of the world's oil supply could be in danger. Kuwait produces 1.5 million barrels of oil per day. Saudi Arabia provides 10 million. These two oil giants, along with Qatar and the U.A.E., have been working under an allocation setup to make up the 1.2 million barrels per day that was believed lost in Iraqi and Iranian output soon after the war started.

The Nov. 12 rocket attack reportedly caused no damage and was probably the result of an Iranian pilot lightening his load after a mission over the battlefield. Kuwait protested to Iranian authorities. Saudi Arabia and Qatar simultaneously repeated their support for Kuwait.

It is likely that the incident will pass with a denial of blame or an apol ogy by Tehran. But if such incidents mount, it is conceivable that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, then other Gulf states, could enter the conflict.

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