1 August 2018   Leave a comment

The various conflicts in the Middle East are placing increased attention on one of the reasons why the region is so central to the great powers–its role as a primary supplier of petroleum and natural gas.  The region, however, is far from the economic centers that are the primary consumers of those resources.  The transportation infrastructure–primarily oil tankers and pipelines–to move the resources from the producers to the consumers is the most vulnerable part of the world energy system.  The primary sea routes from the Middle East to Europe, Asia, and North America must pass through two small straits at the end of the Arabian peninsula, the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.  The Council on Foreign Relations has published a blog post on the strategic significance of those straits.  It is incredible that so much of the global economy depends on such a small number of choke points.

Oil Chokepoints


Violence erupted in Zimbabwe as protesters filled the streets charging election fraud.  Supporters of Nelson Chamisa, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), believe that the national election results were manipulated.  Official election results have not been posted yet and are not expected until Thursday, but many in the country believe that incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be the beneficiary of corrupted results.  At this point it is impossible to know what the truth actually is, but the protests suggest that the level of popular suspicion in the country about the integrity of the process is very high.

Posted August 1, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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