Search This Blog

Monday, 31 January 2011

Societal acrimony in The Arab world and the oil prices

The time has come
A fact's a fact
It belongs to them
Let's give it back

Finally it seems to happen what a lot of western governments were afraid of: Societal acrimony in almost all Arab states, ranging from Morocco to Saudi Arabia. People, sometimes after 100 years of suppression, are finally fed up with the powers that be and inhabit the streets, calling for more freedom, more democracy and an end to the corruption and nepotism of their leaders.

And as always, problems in the Arab world come with a strong odour of oil.

The western world is always strongly in favour of democracy – at least when it doesn’t hurt their interests – so one would reckon that these uprisings would be America’s and Europe finest hour…  Unfortunately it isn’t, I guess.

The leaders of these Arab countries – at least the oil-laden ones – could remain in power due to all kinds of help from the western countries. Saudi-Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Libya all got their share of money, weapons, military power and industrial aid, ranging from oil rigs to nuclear installations.

The results of these politics are clear now:
-    The leaders and their families “looted” their countries natural resources and own an unimaginable wealth, stashed away in secret Swiss bank accounts.
o   The whole family-and-friends network of these rulers have an untouchable position and can do what they want: all resistance by the people of their countries is slashed by police, legal system, secret service and army in the most brutal way.

-    The western countries, Russia, India and China and all multinationals fight for the love of these rulers and remain looking the other way for all crimes that are committed by their “friends”, as long as the oil keeps running.

-    If a ruler doesn’t listen to the western countries anymore, he suddenly might find the 5th  fleet on his horizon. Look at the threats made to Iraq, Syria and Iran in the past.

-    The people that live in these countries are suppressed very badly and blame the west for its roll in this suppression.

-    Militant forces (often – but not necessarily – with an islamic background) become more and more powerful.
o    People that are normally separated by political background, unite for the time to fight the people in power.
o    Although religion is never the cause of the acromony, it might act as an extra spark, helping to fuel the conflict.

-    Revolutions in countries like these might mean an end to oil delivery, so the western countries, Russia and China remain silent like a mouse, except from some standard chit-chat about democracy, fair elections and human rights

The whole political situation in the Arabic world was like a boiling pressure cooker waiting for the air valve to get stuck. And now the explosion happened, litterally sparked by a person in Tunesia that set himself on fire, fed-up as he was with the government.

How this acrimony in the Arabic world will end is everybody’s guess. My opinion, however, is that this problem won’t blow over. If I would be part of the government and/or royal family in countries like Saudi-Arabia, Morocco, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, I would have packed my suitcases and kept my chopper fueled at all times, while remaining in close touch with the French government.

And the western oil delivery? Please get buckled up for a coming period of exploding oil prices, hoarded oil reserves, insecurity and nasty situations at your local gas station. I’m not advocating a panic here, but this might get a little bit nasty.

However, I will close with a positive note: what will happen in the Arab world will be a blessing in disguise after all. It might in the end help to improve the relation between the Arab and western world, as long as the west doesn’t try at all cost to remain the current rulers at their unworthy positions. The world can use a little bit more fairness and democracy and a little bit less corruption in these trying times.


No comments:

Post a Comment