Far from a perfect solution, in the event of a shooting war, one sunk tanker would be enough to stop traffic for a considerable period of time. But, and that’s a big but, anything short of that level of bellicosity, such as current Iranian piracy, would make having an alternative to the Straits of Hormuz a strategic and tactical asset.
The linked piece references the proposed north-south Salman canal but there have also been proposals for longer east-west canals that avoid Iran’s beachhead, Yemen and connect the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.
h/t: Thai Military and Aisia Region, April 24, 2016.
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Saudi Arabia is planning to build a canal that will connect the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea bypassing the Strait of Hormuz controlled by the Iranians.
Since the canal would pass the Shia territories in Yemen, Riyadh needs to take the country under full military control.
h/t: Craig Murray, April 21, 2016
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Study calls for 950-kilometre canal bypassing Hormuz
According to the project by the Riyadh-based Arab Century Centre for Studies, the canal will be 630 kilometres in Saudi Arabia and 320 kilometres in Yemen and will reduce by half the distance ships are currently taking by passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
“It will be 150-metre wide and 25 metres deep,” Saad Bin Omar, the head of the centre, said.
“The canal will have a main course across Saudi Arabia and Yemen; however, we have thought of Oman as an alternative for Yemen if the country suffers political instability,” he said.
h/t: Gulf News, Sept. 10, 2015
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Additionally, as part of their spat with their LNG producing brothers, the Saudis are threatening to build the Salwa canal across the base of the Qatar peninsula and turn Qatar into an island.
As we saw in last month’s “Closing the Canal: The 1967 Six Day War’s Impact on Maritime Trade“, canals are important.
And then there are pipelines, in fact there used to be one that ran northwest through Jordan.
Either way though, Qatar is screwed, and that’s 25% of world LNG.
Just sayin’, lots of moving parts here.