A Bloomberg’s report this week began: “Options traders are betting more than ever that crude oil is heading to $200 a barrel as some websites call for a “Day of Rage” in Saudi Arabia and anti- government protests spread in the Middle East and North Africa.” (www.bloomberg.com/news)
The United States consumes more oil than any other country in the world: 18.7 million barrels of oil per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) short-term energy outlook.
The major oil suppliers to the U.S.A are Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Angola and Iraq, which reveals why some battles in the region are very important for American interests.
The Saudi contribution amounts to 360,934,000 barrels of oil per year (989,000 a day). The Bloomberg’s analysis says oil accounts ‘for 90 percent of the kingdom’s export revenues and 45 per cent of its GDP.’ (Facts from the CIA World Factbook)
Saudi Arabia is currently the No 1 world oil supplier and any uncertainty in their stability is a very unsettling scenario
“We Want Freedom!”
The Saudi ruling elite is Sunni Moslem. The virile protesters from the eastern region is Shi’ite. Al-Qatif in the eastern province, is the centre of Saudi Arabia’s oil producing area. The Shia community in that region has continually complained about their living circumstances. They were stirred to action by virile protests in the neighbouring Bahrain.
As the idea took hold Saudi Arabia’s leadership announced a ban on protests, marches and demonstrations but the order has been ignored. The Council of Senior Clerics warned protesters of violating Islamic law. The veteran foreign minister Saud al-Faisal said, ‘Reform does not come via protests and (the clerics) have forbidden protests since they violate the Qur’an and the way of the prophet.’ Nevertheless protesters chanted ‘We want freedom’ and called for the Saudi regime to go.
To add to their concerns, Saudi officials believe the uprising may be inspired and supported by Iran, which is a Shi’ite nation with burning desire to gain senior influence in the Moslem world.
The Saudi government recently announced a windfall of no less than $US36 billion to provide interest-free home loans, unemployment assistance and debt forgiveness for the masses. Their generosity was no doubt inspired by the revolutionary process destabilising their near neighbours.
Yesterday CNBC ran a story headlined: “Violence in Saudi Arabia Could Threaten World Oil Supplies. This quote caught my attention:
“Robert Baer, in his 2003 political analysis of The Kingdom’s Royal family, ‘The Fall of the House of Saud’, wrote of the hidden fragility beneath the projections of power and control: “I served for twenty-one years with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in the Middle East, and during all my years there I accepted on faith my government’s easy assumption that the money the House of Saud was dumping into weaponry and national security meant that the family’s armed forces and bodyguards could keep its members—and their oil—safe. ‘The royal family is like the fingers of a hand,’ my colleagues at the State Department liked to say. ‘Threaten it, and they become a fist.’ I no longer believe this.”
The world is speeding towards that day when deciding who or what to trust will be a difficult proposition. It is easy to fall for the trap that our lives will never be threatened or disturbed by forces greater than ourselves or even our governments.
It is in overwhelming circumstances, the ones that catch the breath or palpitate the heart, that I thank God for Jesus and His assurance that He is the same yesterday, today and forever.’
Hiccups in the fallen world are certain. Even earthquakes and major crisis come and shock us into new experiences, tragedies and challenges. Maybe driving a car will soon be a luxury but even in the greatest battles the word of the Lord remains.
If you sometimes feel like you’re running out of gas, just consider these words…
“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.” (Isaiah 40:29)
“My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)
“But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
“Great is my confidence 1n you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.” (2 Corinthians 7: 4)
We can drink from His well and amazingly, the price has been paid in full.