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Will March 11th Bring “Day of Rage” in Saudi Arabia?

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 10, 2011 9:14 PM |

Saudi Shiite protesters chant slogans during a protest in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, Thursday.

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya. What nation is next on the hit parade of social unrest in the Middle East? Could it be the oil exporting nation of Saudi Arabia? What would civil unrest in that nation mean to the price of oil and oil-related products worldwide? How high might the price of gas rise in our nation?

The uncertainty in our equity markets recently is clearly heavily influenced by the turmoil in Libya, but we should keep our eyes focused squarely on Saudi Arabia. Friday March 11th has been designated a “Day of Rage” in the nation where social protests are outlawed. What might happen? What is driving the unsettledness in Saudi Arabia? For a detailed backdrop on what is troubling the people of Saudi Arabia, let’s review a recent Bloomberg interview with Mai Yamani,………

Dr. Mai Yamani was born in Cairo in 1956 to an Iraqi mother from Mosul and a Hijazi father from Mecca. Her paternal grandfathers came from Yemen. Her early education included schooling in Baghdad, Jeddah, and Lausanne. She started her career as a university lecturer in Saudi Arabia and moved on to become a scholar at leading international think tanks in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Dr. Yamani is an established commentator on Muslim and Arab politics, in particular on Saudi Arabia. She has frequently been asked to testify before the U.S. Senate and the British House of Commons, and has also briefed Britain’s judiciary on the topic of Islam. In addition to her academic and media work, she has acted as a consultant to international banks, oil companies and other foreign governments. (click on the line, Watch on YouTube)

What impact might a break in oil supply from Saudi Arabia have on our nation and the world as a whole? Let’s review from where the United States imports oil. To do so, let’s check the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

The top five sources of US crude oil imports for December were Canada (2,064 thousand barrels per day), Mexico (1,223 thousand barrels per day), Saudi Arabia (1,076 thousand barrels per day), Nigeria (1,024 thousand barrels per day), and Venezuela (825 thousand barrels per day).

What does it all mean? From the European debt crisis, to the housing and labor problems here in the United States, to the civil unrest spreading throughout the Middle East, to soaring costs of related commodities (food and energy), the world remains filled with risks.

Navigate accordingly . . . and while you do so, watch Saudi Arabia very closely. That nation is a game changer if civil unrest gains a foothold.

UPDATE: The Mail Online writes of Saudi Arabia today,

Saudi Arabian security forces have flooded the streets of the capital Riyadah, and other major cities, to pre-empt a ‘Day of Rage’ and the possibility of any copycat protests which have pockmarked the Middle East and North Africa, and led to two regimes being toppled.

Additionally, the Mail Online provides this video clip. Check out these armored vehicles.

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • Dan

    In today’s WSJ,

    Hundreds of protesters Friday took to the streets in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of al-Hofuf.

    About 500 protesters, mainly Shiite Muslims who make up a large part of the population of the region, demonstrated in the oil-rich eastern province. Al-Hofuf sits on the east flank of the country’s major oil field Ghawar.

    The protesters called for the release of prisoners held without charges, according to Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, president of Human Rights First Society. There was no gunfire or clashes with police in the area, Mr. al-Mugaiteeb said.

    In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, Friday prayers ended calmly, as none of the protests activists had called for materialized by mid-afternoon local-time.

    Dozens of police cars waited quietly in the area where activists had called for the demonstrations after Muslim prayers. No protesters could be seen in the area.

    Activists had used Facebook pages to call for demonstrations to demand political reforms. The calls for protests came as demonstrations have broken out across the Arab world, toppling entrenched regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and leading to a bloody fight between pro-government and antigovernment forces in Libya.

    Saudi Arabia’s government has taken a harsh line on protests. Protests have been banned, and last week a small demonstration in the east of the country police arrested the demonstrations’ organizers.

    On Thursday, Saudi police fired rubber bullets to disperse about 200 Shiite protesters in Qatif, a town in the oil-rich Eastern Province, local human rights activists said.

    What does the US have to say about the Saudi’s repressing this freedom of speech, the freedom to congregate, and freedom to protest?

    Oh, that’s right. It’s not about freedom, it’s about oil.

  • Pete

    Does not appear to be anything like Tunisia or Egypt. Would seem that the royal family is able to keep the masses at bay.

    Flogging? Does not sound like a lot of fun.

    flog (flg, flôg)
    tr.v. flogged, flog·ging, flogs
    1. To beat severely with a whip or rod.

  • Hawk

    Yo Walter Cronkite

    population Saudi Arabia ….25.7mm ex pats 5.5mm so call it 20mm Saudis

    whackin up $36B = 1800/person

    the lowest knuckle dragger 5th cousin 4x removed gets a monthly allowance from the Royals of like $8k/mo

    my guess these folks are in the Street again by Mon


  • shaina

    Sadly, it doesn’t seem like its going anywhere near improvement.

  • Problem Still Exist

    What do youth in Saudi Arabia really wants?

    JOBS is what they want. Forget religon, freedom, and all that jazz. Once, a person can not have food and shelter on his/her own. He/she may get money from family, borrow it from bank or friends, or do illegal business.
    So, what they want is to be able to generate income on thier own legally.
    The existing system does not lend it self (for many reasons)to address youth issue at all or fast enough.

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