Separated from the oil-rich Arabian peninsula by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden is the Horn of Africa. It is one of the world's vital sea gates. Few seem to realize today just how important this area of the world is to international commerce, much less its military significance. Through this region much of Western Europe's crucial oil supplies must pass on their way to the Suez Canal. Military planners in both Washington and Moscow understand that the Horn of Africa constitutes a choke point. They see it as a jugular vein, if you will, of Western Europe's oil lifeline to the Middle East. And both nations are trying to exert their influence in the area. Other nations before them have done the same. Just before the turn of the century, Britain, France and Italy all secured footholds in the Horn of Africa to guard their strategic interests. Later, during World War I, Germany and its Turkish allies attempted to do the same but failed.
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