by Jerome Armstrong, Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 03:53:37 PM EST
Wow, what an amazing turn of events over the past couple of weeks in Arab countries. I've mostly been tuning into Aljazerra TV for watching the unfolding of events when its happened. Seeing Egypt happen, and now Libya, just huge. A turn of events that makes you shake your head and say, who's next?
From what I gather, this has much more to do with the escalating price of commodities that has resulted in costly inflation. Here's a good succinct comment on the matter:
Anybody else think the Fed is partially responsible for this by devaluing the dollar, exporting inflation, and creating commodity speculation?
But you have to break a few eggs to make a Wall Street bailout omelet, right?
...there is a possible inverse relationship between a country's oil production and that country's political instability. Meaning, those countries with low levels of oil production were among the first to revolt, whereas countries with high oil production have shown greater stability. The implication is that the lack of petrodollars had not provided enough of a political safety net for the governments to cover their weak economies.
Hamilton's brief analysis covers (in the order of increasing oil production as a percentage of the world total) Lebanon (0.0%), Tunisia (0.1%), Yemen (0.3%), Sudan (0.6%), Egypt (0.8%), Libya (2.1%), Algeria (2.5%), Iraq (2.7%), Iran (4.9%), and Saudi Arabia (11.7%).
Now, if Hamilton's thesis is correct, then Egypt appears to be the last of the "low-hanging fruit" to have undergone political unrest. Theoretically, then, Libya and/or Algeria should be the next to revolt.
I glanced at the markets (closed except for futures) and oil prices are sky-rocketing right now, up to a new 2 year high; this might blow really big and out of control. Egypt, then Libya, Algeria, Bahrain and Tunisia. Protests (peaceful) happening in Morocco.
But what if it leads to Iran (again), Saudi Arabia, or China next?
Chinese security officials questioned or detained scores of activists at the weekend and warned others against staging protests after an online call was made for demonstrations in 13 cities, campaigners said.
The message, posted on an overseas website on Saturday, was titled: “The jasmine revolution in China”. The swift crackdown underlined the anxiety of authorities in the wake of the Egypt uprising and protests across the Middle East.
The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy estimated that more than 100 activists across the country were taken away by police, prevented from leaving home or were missing.
Wang Songlian, of the Chinese Human Rights Defenders network, said more than 40 campaigners or dissidents had been summoned or questioned by police or placed under “soft detention” at home or elsewhere. In many more cases, police had visited people to ask them what they were doing or warn them not to take part, she said.
“[The message] linked it to the jasmine revolution and I guess that made the government nervous,” she said. “It really shows us how much the government has identified with regimes in the Middle East where people are so aggrieved about social injustice.”
Despite a huge police presence at the proposed demonstration locations, there were signs that at least a handful of people in Beijing and Shanghai had hoped to protest.
It is not clear who posted the call for demonstrations on the Boxun website, and the message may well have come from abroad. Many mainland activists appeared to have been unaware of it until police contacted them.
The message said: “You and I are Chinese people who will still have a dream for the future … we must act responsibly for the future of our descendants.”
It urged people to shout demands for food, work, housing and fairness.
It looks like the end of the regime in Libya is near, but there is no sign of commodity prices de-escalating anytime soon. It occurs to me that I've never known a world without Libya being ruled by the ruthless Qaddafi. I look forward to it, but right now, the dictator in Libya is bombing his own people.