Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti, Yemen, Somalia & the strategic locales they share.

Haiti, Yemen and Somalia, what do they all have in common?
They are strategically located.
Strategic to what, you ask?
Strategic to shipping lanes and control of ship traffic. Oil choke point traffic.

There is, in a nutshell, the answer to the obvious and rampant militarization of Haiti being undertaken as I type.

First, some Haitian history
Washington's interest in Haiti arose chiefly because of the country's proximity to the Panama Canal and Central America. Haiti also controls the Windward Passage, a narrow body of water that could be easily closed, disrupting maritime traffic.

Why is the Panama Canal so important?
Panama Canal is a World Oil Transit Chokepoint.
What's the latest news on the Panama Canal? Expansion

"No fewer than 140 shipping routes(counted port-to-port) already run via Panama: the ability to take bigger vessels could add even more, especially between eastern South America and Asia, and western South America and the American East Coast and Europe. Brazilian soya and iron ore and Colombian coal in big bulk carriers may soon have better access to China, which might in turn affect commodity prices"

Better access can just as easily turn into access denied.

But beyond the chokepoints lie the water that has to be traversed to get either in or out of the chokepoints.
This is  the commonality shared by  Haiti, Yemen and Somalia.

Yemen and Somalia are on either side "of Bab el-Mandab"
The Strait of Bab el-Mandab is a chokepoint between the horn of Africa and the Middle East, and a strategic link between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean." Bab el-Mandab, between Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Oil and other exports from the Persian Gulf must pass through Bab el-Mandab before entering the Suez Canal.

As for Haiti, it seems the  Windward Passage is the strategic waterway?

The Windward Passage is the strait  that specifically lies between the easternmost region of Cuba and the northwest of Haiti. 80km wide, the Windward Passage has a threshold depth of 1,700m. It connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and is in the direct path of shipping between the Panama Canal and the eastern seaboard of the United States.

It all boils down to control. Control of the flow of energy resources. Access to markets and more.
 The lives of the Haitians are about to get a whole lot worse if that is even imaginable?


  1. Awesome post Pen.

    It is very clear what is happening here. The military response to the tragedy is Haiti is overwhelming.

    But looking where Haiti is certainly explains much.

    Each of these stories should always carry a good map - most folk are sadly lacking in geography skills.


  2. Thanks Maggie

    It really does seem we are looking ultimately at control of world shipping traffic.

    total control by the US and her allies

    Wether energy, drugs or human, it is going to be tightly controlled.

    BTW, the other side of the windward passage is guantanamo, cuba.

    Cuba is done for if the US get's there way, then Venezuela...

  3. Did you see the report on WRH regarding Russian oil exploration in Cuban waters?

  4. No, haven't seen it, but hold on, I got one coming on that, soooo interesting.