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Tom Grey says: "In the First World War the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire sided with the Germans and Austrians. The Turks had held Mesopotamia since 1534 and they had a firm grip on many of the Persian and Arabian oil fields. Britain wanted that oil for its large navy. The British gained Basra and its oil wells in November 1914. They also occupied the terminal of the oil pipeline and the refineries on the island of Abadan in the river of Shatt El Arab, in the south-western corner of Persia (Iran). In December 1916 the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force crossed the river Tigris and captured Kut-el-Amara. Over the next few months the British and went on to take Beersheba, Jaffa and Jerusalem. This website takes a look at what happened when the troops reached Baghdad in March 1917. See and (home site -- Great War site)".

RH: This historical background is interesting. When did warships stop using coal? How many of the US ships now in the Persian Gulf are nuclear-powered? Tom is a navy man, so perhaps he cam tell us.

Ronald Hilton - 4/1/03