Shatt al-Arab

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The Shatt al-Arab ('River of the Arabs') is a waterway formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in southern Iraq; the Shatt then flows into the Persian Gulf at the port of Al-Faw. Although short in length (120 miles), the Shatt al-Arab is of immense economic and strategic significance. It flows past the city of Basra, and forms part of the border between Iraq and Iran. A dispute over the precise riverine boundary between the two nations was the spark for the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88, and much of the fighting was aimed at control over the waterway.