Straddling the Indian Ocean and the volatile world of racially divided Southern Africa, Mozambique has assumed an increasingly strategic international position. Its 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) coastline and three major ports of Maputo, Beira, and Nacala—all ideally suited for naval bases—have long been coveted by the superpowers (see Figure 1.1). These ports, from which a great power could interdict, or at least disrupt, Indian Ocean commerce and alter the balance of power in Southern Africa, also offer international gateways to the landlocked countries of the region. Through them Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland, and Malawi can reduce their economic dependence on South Africa.