164. Dire Straits in the Middle-East

This

issue looks at the dire straits of the Mid-East.

SINCE YOU ASKED
Last September, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi told Mike Evans of the Jerusalem Prayer Team that the Shiites of the Middle East would unite in a caliphate. They then boldly declared that their next move would be to overthrow the evil pro-American Sunni oil states. We should not dismiss these claims as the rantings of a madman. Find a map of the Middle-East and take a good look. Here”s a breakdown of the Shiite population among the primary oil producers in the Middle-East:

Bahrain                        Predominantly Shiite
Iran                              95% Shiite (mostly Twelvers)
Iraq                              65% Shiite
Yemen                         46% Shiite
Kuwait                         30-40% Shiite (mostly Twelvers)
Oman                          17% Shiite
UAE                             15% Shiite
Saudi Arabia                Predominantly Sunni (12% Shiite)
Egypt                           Predominantly Sunni
Libya                            Predominantly Sunni

Let”s assume that only Shiites would rally under a worldwide Caliph. Consider what would likely happen if all the Shiites in the first seven countries listed above joined forces. To see how easy it would be to destroy one of the Sunni oil producing nations, consider how the oil from these nations is transported-by tanker. The majority of these tankers must pass through one of two choke points. Tankers from the nations on the Persian Gulf must pass through the Strait of Hormuz, a 29 mile passageway between Iran on the north and the UAE on the south. About 15 tankers carrying 16.5 to 17 million barrels of crude oil pass through the strait on an average day, making it one of the world”s most strategically important choke points. This represents 40% of the world”s seaborne oil shipments, and 20% of all world oil shipments.

The other choke point is the Bab el-Mandeb Strait in the Red Sea, between Arabia to the northeast and Africa to the southwest. Since no oil tankers pass through the Suez Canal, this strait controls all shipments from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. This strait is only 20 miles wide. In recent years 7-8% of the world”s oil tankers passed through this strategic location. If the Shiites were to seize these two straits, they would gain control of nearly half of the world”s seaborne oil shipments. Were they to take control of both the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia would be surrounded. Don”t think the Saudis aren”t concerned about this.

AS I SEE IT
Let”s think through what the fall of the oil states would mean for the rest of the world. It would bring a worldwide famine unlike anything in history. The trucks that transport food would sit idle for lack of fuel. Once the transportation system shuts down, the domino effect would kick in, affecting every facet of the economy. World markets will crash. I think you get the picture. This, of course, is exactly the chaos Ahmadinejad wants to inflict on the world to usher in the Mahdi (12th Imam). This is why he must be taken seriously.

In testimony to Congress last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Iran

is trying to take advantage of the turmoil in the Middle East to expand its influence in the region. She said Iran is working “every single day with as many assets as they can muster, trying to take hold of [the]…movement for democracy.” Finally, she”s right on something. We must pay close attention to Iran”s involvement in the uprisings throughout the Middle-East. Stay tuned.

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CLARIFICATION
Last week I posted an article quoting Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi as praising Barack Obama as a blessing to the Muslim world. While the statement was true, the original article was posted a year ago. I guess we”ll have to wait and see if the mutual admiration society is still intact.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
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