Gulf of Aqaba

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Aqaba, Gulf of,

northeastern arm of the Red Sea, 118 mi (190 km) long and 10 to 15 mi (16.1 to 24.1 km) wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas; a part of the Great Rift Valley. The gulf, which is entered through the Straits of Tiran, has played a major role in the tensions and wars between Israel and the Arab states (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia) bordering it. Aqaba, with the Israeli port of ElatElat
or Eilat
[Heb.,=trees], city (1994 pop. 35,700), S Israel, a port on the Gulf of Aqaba, an arm of the Red Sea. It is strategically located near the Sinai peninsula, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia and is Israel's gateway to Africa and East Asia.
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 at its head, was Israel's only accessible waterway to E Africa, Asia, and Australia when Egypt closed the Suez Canal between 1967 to 1975. The Gulf of Aqaba was blockaded by the Arabs from 1949 to 1956 and again in 1967, despite the fact that it was declared (1958) an international waterway by the United Nations. In the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Israel occupied the Sinai and hence strategic points along the Straits of Tiran to insure open passage of its shipping. As a result of the Camp David accordsCamp David accords,
popular name for the peace treaty forged in 1978 between Israel and Egypt at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David, Md. The official agreement was signed on Mar. 26, 1979, in Washington, D.C.
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 of 1978, and the ensuing Egypt-Israel peace treaty (1979), Israel withdrew from its positions on the Straits of Tiran. The Gulf of Aqaba played a major role in the Iran-Iraq WarIran-Iraq War,
1980–88, protracted military conflict between Iran and Iraq. It officially began on Sept. 22, 1980, with an Iraqi land and air invasion of western Iran, although Iraqi spokespersons maintained that Iran had been engaging in artillery attacks on Iraqi towns
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 throughout the 1980s, when it became a vital supply port for Iraq via Jordan. Later, with the imposition of international sanctions against Iraq and the ensuing Persian Gulf WarPersian Gulf Wars,
two conflicts involving Iraq and U.S.-led coalitions in the late 20th and early 21st cent.

The First Persian Gulf War, also known as the Gulf War, Jan.–Feb.
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 (1991), the Gulf of Aqaba served as an important blockade point for coalition forces against goods bound for Iraq.