The Cauldron Of The Middle East

The number of nations experiencing unrest continues to spread.  Those nations that are sympathetic to Egypt seems to grow everyday.  Now strikes threaten already-short food supplies and the Suez Canal workers are striking.  Some 1.8 million barrels of oil was transported through the Suez Canal in 2009 and the number was closer to 2 million last year.  With the possibility of closure to the canal, tankers would have to travel an extra 6,000 miles of travel for any oil being transported out of the region.  Of course this additional cost which could drive up oil prices exponentially. International oil prices are already racing towards the $100 a barrel mark.  Brent crude oil contracts for March hit their highest level since late 2008 at $99.63 per barrel on January 28. 

Joining the swelling ranks of nations that protests have spread to are Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman Palestinian territories, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and even Italy which is calling for the resignation of its Prime Minister.

There is no easy solution–the Egyptian government’s vice president Suleiman says that Egypt is not ready for Democracy and a pro-Mubarak panel that is presently being assembled to help with reforms is sure to be rejected.  However, any reform or members of the Egyptian government that are involved in this reform or part of the ruling party are sure to be rejected by that vast majority of Egyptians.  What is in store for Egypt and the Middle Eastern nations and even parts of Europe is an enigma.  For now, it bodes not well at all.

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