Monday, April 07, 2008

Oil and Islam

The empire enjoyed a brief success in Somalia by backing the Ethiopian intervention in the country, which routed the Islamic Courts Union in December 2006. But the US-Ethiopian-backed "transitional government" in Somalia may be already approaching its end: Islamists in Somalia have been taking back town after town, village after village, and they may recapture Mogadishu soon: Jeffrey Gettleman, "Somalia: More Gains for Islamist Forces," New York Times, 27 March 2008; Jeffrey Gettleman, "Somalia's Government Teeters on Collapse," New York Times, 29 March 2008; Jeffrey Gettleman, "At Least 10 Killed as Somali Troops Shell a Market Used as an Insurgent Base," New York Times, 30 March 2008; Jeffrey Gettleman, "Somali Town Falls to Insurgent Raid," New York Times, 1 April 2008; and AFP, "Islamists Seize Somali Town after Fighting: Witnesses," 6 April 2008.

Somalia is strategically located close to Bab al Mandab, one of the world oil transit chokepoints, and Eritrea, half of whose population are Muslims and whose government is backing the Somali Islamists, is right on the Gate. The Islamic Republic of Iran, on the opposite end of the MENA region, faces the Strait of Hormuz, the most important oil transit chokepoints in the world.

The rest of the chokepoints are close to Turkey (the Turkish Straits), Malaysia and Indonesia (the Strait of Malacca), Egypt (the Suez Canal), and Panama (the Panama Canal). Not only do Muslims sit on the world's largest known oil reserves; but also nearly all oil transit chokepoints are located in the predominantly Islamic region.

Say, the Islamic Republic of Iran withstands the US-led sanctions; the Islamists regain power in Somalia; and the Muslim Brotherhood, in coalition with liberals and socialists, put an end to the Mubarak dynasty in Egypt, the second largest recipient of US aid after Israel. Now, that alone will already begin to redraw the political geography of oil considerably.

1 comment:

Naj said...

have you noticed that lately American neocons and their Islamist counter parts in Iran have been cozying up to Africa?!!