United Arab Emirates, Quatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait.
More than 70% of the total world oil supply moves through the oil corridor (shaded area in above picture) around the Persian Gulf. The two most dangerous perceived enemies of the West--Iraq and Iran--are in the exact center of it. Virtually the entire area is Islamic, and battles between the West and the Islamic world have been fought here since the Middle Ages. This thousand year war between the Islamic world and the West is common knowledge in the Mideast but almost unknown in the West. Right now this long struggle seems to be centered in the Persian Gulf area.
This part of the world is incredibly sensitive. Iran and Iraq fought a war which involved shipping of almost all the countries of the Persian Gulf area. The United States and its allies also fought against Iraq in 1991 after Kuwait was invaded and occupied. Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are the major countries of this region, but there are also numerous smaller nations: the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Quatar, Bahrain, and Oman. These nations must navigate among the larger more powerful forces in the area, and they needs be careful.
Questions to keep in mind: How are these smaller nations different or similar to Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Iraq? What kind of Muslims live there? On what do their economies depend? What were their stances during the Iraqi-U.S. war? How do they feel towards the United States? Why is the area important to the United States economically? What effects might a closure of the Persian Gulf due to war have on the U.S. and West European economies?
Start here and read everything at: Yahoo about your different countries. Also check out all the links at Open Directory's UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait sections. The CIA World Factbook is a great place to begin your research -- start at this page to look up the different countries. Range far and wide in search of information over the World Wide Web! These are also good general links: Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman, and Kuwait.
Check out this excellent summation of the Gulf War that involved almost all the countries in the area, as is this one. And check out The Arab Persepective on Suddam Hussein and how he and the conflict are viewed be neighboring countries. Iraq and Islam, Continuing Standoff in Iraq, Definace in the Desert.
Be sure and talk much about the Gulf War and the sensitive politics and economics of the Persian Gulf area.
September 5, 1996 -- Over a Barrel Two-thirds of the world's oil is in the Middle East. Though the US buys relatively little, an interdependent world economy means the Iraqi conflict could hurt us. A Charles Krause backgrounder precedes a discussion with Elizabeth Farnsworth and strategic experts.