The gulf region ranks among the most valuable and strategically important pieces of real estate in the world because of its abundance of oil and gas resources and its location at vital geographic crossroads for the world’s security and economy. And until viable alternative energy resources emerge to sufficiently fuel the global economy, the gulf region will continue to be one of the most strategically contested regions of the world for years to come.
In large part due to this strategic importance, the gulf has been wrought with instability for decades, plagued by both conflict between states in the region as well as increased asymmetric threats posed by terror networks. In the past 30 years, the region has experienced three major conventional wars, dozens of smaller cross-border and internal conflicts, and thousands of attacks from the most dangerous terror networks with a regional and global reach. The possibility of another major conventional military conflict is ever present, while terror attacks in the region are a regular occurrence. Complicating the picture even further, the specter of a nuclear arms race now looms due to unanswered questions about Iran’s ongoing nuclear program.
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