STRATFOR On Bahrain, At The Center Of Middle East Oil Shipping Lanes

Posted By on February 25, 2011

Some good points about Bahrain….and why it’s important to oil!

Bahrain lies in the middle of an age-old contention between Iran and Saudi Arabia… and the balance between the two rivals could soon be tipped.

A strong Iraq was a nice buffer between Saudi Arabia and Iran, but a strong Iraq is no more. Now there’s unrest in Bahrain, whose Shiite majority lives under Sunni rule. If the protests in Bahrain lead to concessions for the Shia, it could energize Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority. And in the Middle Eastern balance of power, a weaker Saudi Arabia means a potentially stronger Iran.

Why does this matter? 40% of the world’s seaborne oil passes through the very narrow Strait of Hormuz every day. Iran is on one side; what if it were on both… Imagine the disruption to the world economy if Iran mined the strait.

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