Bab al-Mandab

views updated Jun 11 2018


The narrow waterway separating Asia and Africa.

Because of its place on the sea-lanes between Europe and the Indian Ocean and points east, the Bab al-Mandab straits have been assigned considerable strategic importance over the centuries, particularly with the building of the Suez Canal, the flowering of the British Empire, and the more recent dependence of Europe on oil from the Persian/Arabian Gulf. The two Yemens meet on the Asian side of the strait, and Ethiopia and Djibouti meet on the African side. This geography helps explain Yemeni interest in the politics of the Horn of Africa.

see also persian (arabian) gulf; suez canal.

Robert D. Burrowes