Mediterranean coast may seem to be a spot of beauty, beaches and vacations and retirement, but it also carries many responsibilities with it also. It is very understandable that all the seas around Europe are very strategic and can be very harmful if dominated by wrong power like happened during second world war when Nazi conquered the Baltic sea, and Japanese empire conquered Pacific sea which was ultimately very dangerous.
So is the case of Mediterranean. Mediterranean sea is like a basin around 17 different nations and many islands (Malta and Cyrus and many more) in it are like nuts in a chocolate cookie, very important for the consumer. History witnesses that importance of Mediatrarrean was proved during the conquest of Africa from Europe. Napolean used to maintain his forces in Malta during the war with Egypt. During second world war also, Nazi deployed many vessels over the Meditararren for defense. To dominate the Mediterranean, it’s important to control the islands within it; a fact that underlines the importance for superpowers to control various naval bases and other bases.
There is a huge economic role in the case of Mediterranean due to the existence of Suez canal. Suez canal is one of the most important canals in the world, as it provides the way for Western ships to travel Asia and saves a huge amount of money and time. Instead of traveling all along the coast of Africa, they can easily pass through Suez canal. It will be easy to estimate the value of Suez canal from the case during 1967-1975 when the Suez canal was blocked, the world witnessed the loss of 18 billion USD. Apart from Suez canal, there are other two major ways to the Mediterranean, Gibraltar in the west, with a width of 8.5 miles and the Turkish strait. Gibraltar in the west serves as entry point for the European vessels to travel forward to Asia and Suez canal serves as the exit point for same vessels. Turkish strait is very important for Russia and its vessels passes through there. Superpowers try to gain dominance in these countries or at least prevent them from falling into hands of other superpowers. Earlier, soviet union and the USA implemented that there should not be any emergence of any superpower in this region. Around this region, Arab league comprises, covering the very important region of western middle east and northern Africa. but the dilemma is that when it was formed, they decided to be united and with the particular nation but at day today, conditions are not same, for example-
- The USA has very good links with Saudi Arabia, which serves to be its most loyal ally in the Middle East.
- Whereas on the other hand, Russia supplies it T-90 MS (one of the finest tanks in the world) to Algeria and have good links with Algeria.
If the USA earned the loyalty of this belt (Northern Africa and whole western middle East) then it will surround Russia, which will be the ultimate satisfactory position for the USA in case of future. But as also, USA don’t want to lose its role in the Mediterranean because it is very important sea connecting NATO to the world. Fear of Russia remains the same, controlling complete of the Mediterranean will result in the collapse of NATO. As if any nation out of Italy, Spain or France stood with Russia, whose chances are extremely less at the date today.
Some of the countries have a great role in the Mediterranean, like-
- Turkey- For Russian vessels which want to land in Mediterranean, whether for going heading towards Strait of GIblator or to Suez canal have to pass through start at Istambul. Strait at Istanbul connects the Black sea to the Mediterranean sea. This strait is extremely important for Russia.
- Spain/UK- Gibrator is a region at southeast Spain but is under dispute. It is claimed by the UK but is in the region of Spain. Apart from this dispute, the strait of Gibraltar marks the main entry for European vessels to travel.
- Italy- At the exact center of Strait marks another strait, of Sicily. This strait is also important for any vessel as it is like a middle door for any vessel, doesn’t matter whether it is heading to Europe or Asia.
- Greece- Greece claims cluster of islands in Meditteranean
- Egypt- Practical owner of Suez canal, gives Egypt huge importance
- Saudi Arabia- Saudi Arabia is located around Meditararian but marks a huge role for all the vessels passing through Suez canal, as once passed from Suez canal, vessels travel in Red sea, whose whole East side is of Saudi Arabia
Once vessels complete the voyage at the Red Sea, they pass through Bab al Mandab strait which is highly disputed at the date today, the reason for that is Yemanese civil war. Houthis are even sometimes accused responsible for harming vessels traveling through Bab al Mandab Strait. At last now, it won’t take a genius to recognize the importance of Mediterranean sea.
(Note- Updates on the topic after the date of publishing have not been recorded.)