Friday, March 23, 2007

Perspective: Seizure Occurs in Long-Contested Waters

AMMAN, Jordan -- The waters where Iranian navy forces seized a group of British sailors and marines are near an area long contested by Iran and Iraq -- just outside the mouth of a muddy, 125-mile-long channel that separates the Arab and Persian worlds.

The neighbors don't even agree what to call it. For the Iranians, it is Arvandrud, or Arvand River. To the Iraqis, it is the Shatt al-Arab, or Arab coastline.

Whatever the name, the waterway is formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which join at the Iraqi town of Qurnah and flow into the Persian Gulf -- providing Iraq's only outlet to the sea.

Iranians and Iraqis have been squabbling over the waterway since before the creation of modern Iran and Iraq.

Read the rest at the LA Times