Shatt al Arab
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Shatt al Arab(shät äl ä`räb), tidal river, 120 mi (193 km) long, formed by the confluence of the TigrisTigris
, river of SW Asia, c.1,150 mi (1,850 km) long, rising in the Taurus Mts., E Turkey, and flowing SE through Iraq to join the Euphrates River, with which it forms the Shatt al Arab.
..... Click the link for more information. and EuphratesEuphrates
, Turkish Frat, Arabic Al Furat, river of SW Asia, c.1,700 mi (2,740 km) long, formed by the confluence of the Kara and the Murad rivers, E central Turkey, and flowing generally S through Turkey into Syria, then SE through Iraq, joining with the Tigris
..... Click the link for more information. rivers, flowing SE to the Persian Gulf, forming part of the Iraq-Iran border; the KarunKarun
, river, c.450 mi (720 km) long, rising in the Zagros Mts., W Iran, and flowing S to the Shatt al Arab on the Iraqi border. The Karun is navigable to Ahvaz for shallow draft vessels; rapids prevent further upstream passage except during high water in April and May.
..... Click the link for more information. is its chief tributary. The Shatt al Arab flowed through a broad, swampy delta, but the marshlands in Iraq were drained in the early 1990s in order to increase government control over the Arab Shiites (Marsh Arabs) who lived there. Restoration of the marshlands began in 2003, following the invasion of Iraq by Anglo-American forces, but only half the area has been restored. The river supplies fresh water to S Iraq and Kuwait but the construction of dams and the demand for water upstream has led to a greatly increased salt content. The Shatt al Arab is navigable for oceangoing vessels as far as BasraBasra
, Arabic al Basrah, city (1987 pop. 406,296), SE Iraq, on the Shatt al Arab. Basra is Iraq's second largest city and principal port. Its commercially advantageous location, near oil fields and 75 mi (121 km) from the Persian Gulf, has made it prosperous, and oil is
..... Click the link for more information. , Iraq's chief port.
Iraq and Iran have disputed navigation rights on the Shatt al Arab since 1935, when an international commission gave Iraq total control of the Shatt al Arab, leaving Iran with control only of the approaches to AbadanAbadan
, city (1991 pop. 84,774), Khuzestan prov., SW Iran, on Abadan Island, in the delta of the Shatt al Arab, at the head of the Persian Gulf. It is the terminus of major oil pipelines and is an important oil refining and shipping center.
..... Click the link for more information. and KhorramshahrKhorramshahr
, city (1991 pop. 34,750), Khuzestan prov., SW Iran, at the confluence of the Karun River and the Shatt al Arab, near the Persian Gulf. It is a busy port. Its development dates to the late 19th cent., when steam navigation on the Karun was started.
..... Click the link for more information. , its chief ports, and unable to develop new port facilities in the delta. To preclude Iraqi political pressure and interference with its oil and freight shipments on the Shatt al Arab, Iran built ports on the Persian Gulf to handle foreign trade. Iran and Iraq negotiated territorial agreements over the Shatt al Arab waterway in 1975, but by the end of the decade skirmishes in the area became prevalent. Full-scale war between the two countries broke out in Sept., 1980, leading to eight years of attacks on coastal areas (see 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
..... Click the link for more information. ). The Shatt al Arab remains a source of conflict, as limited water access and unresolved maritime boundaries in the region persist.
See R. N. Schofield, Evolution of the Shatt al Arab Boundary Dispute (1986).