28 Dec '11, 2pm

Drumbeat: December 28, 2011

In May 1987 the US frigate Stark, calmly sailing the waters of the Persian Gulf, was suddenly blown apart by an Exocet missile fired from a jet fighter of Iraq's Saddam Hussein. A fifth of the ship's crew were killed and many others horribly burned or wounded. This event jumpstarted one of the most mysterious conflicts in American history: "The Tanker War," waged against Iran for control of the Persian Gulf.This quasi-war took place at the climax of the mammoth Iran-Iraq War, during the last years of the Reagan administration. Losing on the battlefield, Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran had decided to close the Persian Gulf against shipping from Iraq's oil-rich backers, the emirate of Kuwait. The Kuwaitis appealed for help and America sent a fleet to the Gulf, raising the Stars and Stripes over Kuwait's commercial tankers.The result was a free-for-all, as the Iranians laid mines t...

Full article: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8780

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