Two US allies come to blows in the Persian Gulf, shaking the confidence of diplomats :
The United Arab Emirates navy is thought to have opened fire on a small patrol vessel from Saudi Arabia after a dispute over water boundaries.
According to one report, two Saudi sailors were injured in the alleged bombardment.
The incident has shocked diplomats who hope the countries, both key American allies, will help implement the West's strategy to constrain Iran's nuclear and military ambitions.
The clash happened in disputed waters between the coasts of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and the peninsula on which the gas-rich state of Qatar sits.
....the UAE, despite its small size, is the fourth largest purchaser of weaponry on the international market in the world.
Western governments are exasperated that the two countries are unable to co-operate because of a series of long-running border disputes, largely influenced by oil reserves.
Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil producer, while Abu Dhabi, though ranking only number four in OPEC, is by some counts the richest city per head of population in the world.
The Gulf is the shipping route for 40 per cent of the world's oil trade.