Keep Your Eye on Middle East Wild Card
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
Just a few weeks ago, an uprising toppled a little known Tunisian leader (President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.) Tunisia is due west of Egypt, separated only by Libya. About the only thing that seemed newsworthy was the family reportedly took flight with a ton and a half of gold. Then, Egypt exploded and the specter of revolution across the entire region came into focus. There have been non-stop rioting, protests and some people are even setting themselves on fire in a wave of anti-government rage.
Thousands of prisoners have been sprung from jail as the situation spirals into possible lawlessness. The Telegraph reports, “Inmates escaped from at least four jails across Egypt, including suspected Muslim extremists and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist. In one jailbreak at the Abu Zaabal prison on the outskirts of Cairo locals told The Daily Telegraph that 18 people had been killed after gangs of gunmen fought a six-hour battle with guards to free jailed associates.” (Click here to read the complete Telegraph story.)
There will be more killing and bloodshed before this is over. There is no guarantee the Egyptian government will fall; but if it does, there could be consequences that will be felt in the U.S. For one thing, the Suez Canal goes through Egypt. This important channel is big enough for aircraft carries and oil tankers. Oil shipments could be stopped or slowed through this vital shipping route. Oil prices would go higher, and people driving in Kansas could see price increases in a matter of days.
On a wider and more ominous note, this revolution could spread to other oil producers in the region. The biggest and most important to the world is Saudi Arabia. It is the largest petroleum exporter on the planet. If Saudi Arabia falls, oil prices would spike, and I am not going to even guess how high. Undoubtedly, the world financial system would crash and the world could twist into complete disorder. Here’s how Zerohedge.com is reporting the situation, “While the biggest threat to the Middle East region is the possibility that the population of Saudi Arabia may try to imitate what has been happening in the area, thereby bringing total chaos to the established regional geopolitical and more importantly, energy, structure, the first protests in the Saudi Arabia city of Jeddah are already in the books. . . . That this is even occurring in a state where the average wealth is orders of magnitude greater than in Egypt is remarkable.” (Click here to read the complete Zerohedge.com story with protest video.) If Saudi Arabia collapses, it would not be long before the entire Arabian Peninsula would be destabilized.
The Arabian Peninsula is in the heart of not only the richest oil region in the world, but flanked by two of the narrowest shipping choke points on the planet. On the east of the Peninsula is the famous Straits of Hormuz. It is a little less than 30 miles wide at the narrowest point. On the west side of the Peninsula is a lesser known strait called Bab el-Mandeb, or the “Gate of Tears.” That is about 20 miles wide at the narrowest passage. Please study the map below:
There is no telling how far this could spin out of control, but it looks like we are a lot closer to the beginning than we are to the end of this crisis. Please keep a close eye on this story because it could affect your family and finances.