The price of oil is still one of the most important factors shaping the economy. It can determine not just how much you’ll pay for a gallon of gasoline but also how fast the American and the eurozone economies will recover. It even has a say in who will be the next American president. This is why many people and companies try to predict the price of oil and better understand the events that influence its volatility.
Two people that tried to give it a shot are Gregory Copley and Yossef Bodansky, who are editors at GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs. They published a list of 8 strategic factors that will likely to influence the price of oil in 2012. This is a very interesting list, although it comes from a business-as-usual perspective, which doesn’t look much beyond the price volatility implications of geo-political events. Adding the green energy market point of view might provide an even more comprehensive picture of the upcoming year, so here’s our take on 2012: Read more…
Submitted by John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com
Since 24 December the Iranian Navy has been holding its ten-day Velayat 90 naval exercises, covering an area in the Arabian Sea stretching from east of the Strait of Hormuz entrance to the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden. The day the maneuvers opened Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told a press conference that the exercises were intended to show “Iran’s military prowess and defense capabilities in international waters, convey a message of peace and friendship to regional countries, and test the newest military equipment.” The exercise is Iran’s first naval training drill since May 2010, when the country held Read more…
Speaking to reporters aboard his plane bound for Israel as part of a Middle East tour, Panetta said it was crucial for Israel to shore up its relations with Egypt and other countries in the region that had proved valuable partners in the past.
“There’s not much question in my mind that they maintain that (military) edge. But the question you have to ask is it enough to maintain a military edge, if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena?” Panetta said.
“At this dramatic time in the Middle East, when there have been so many changes, it’s not a good situation for Israel to become increasingly isolated. And that’s what’s happening,” he said.
Panetta, who was due to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Monday before heading to Read more…
Peru’s Nazca Lines, the mysterious geoglyphs etched into the desert centuries ago by indigenous groups, are world famous – and now thousands of similar patterns have been found in the Middle East.
Satellite and aerial photography has revealed mysterious stone ‘wheels’ that are more numerous and older than the Nazca Lines in countries such as Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
The structures are thought to date back 2,000 years, but why they were built is baffling archaeologists and historians.
Israel was forced to evacuate its ambassador and most of its diplomatic staff from Cairo this weekend after hundreds of Egyptian protesters tore down a security wall protecting the Nile-side embassy, ransacked its files and burned an Israeli flag. It came less than a week after Turkey, Israel’s other major ally in the Muslim world, announced it was expelling the Israeli ambassador and downgrading its relationship to the lowest possible level after a deadly skirmish involving a Turkish aid vessel that was attempting to Read more…
Iranian missile (Photo: Reuters)
Recent revolutions in the Arab world and the deteriorating ties with Turkey are raising the likelihood of a regional war in the Middle East, IDF Home Front Command Chief, Major General Eyal Eisenberg warned Monday.
“It looks like the Arab Spring, but it can also be a radical Islamic winter,” he said in a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
“This leads us to the conclusion that through a long-term process, the likelihood of an all-out war is increasingly growing,” the IDF general said.
“Iran has not abandoned its nuclear program. The opposite it true; it continues full steam ahead,” he said. “In Egypt, the army is collapsing under the burden of regular security operations, and this is reflected in the loss of control in the Sinai and the turning of the border with Israel into a terror border, with the possibility that Sinai will fall under the control of an Islamic entity.”
The researchers point to two main factors driving the increase in food prices
The waves of social unrest and political instability seen recently around the world have coincided with large peaks in global food prices, US researchers have found.
They warn that unless something is done urgently to address rising food prices, it could trigger more widespread trouble in the near future.
Professor Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of the New England Complex Systems Institute, and colleagues, correlated the dates of riots around the world with data from the United Nations that plots changes in the price of food.
They found evidence that episodes of social unrest in North Africa and the Middle East coincided closely with peaks in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index.
Reporting their findings on the pre-press website arXiv.org the researchers say that although the riots reflect many factors such as the long-standing political failings of governments, high food prices provide a tipping point.
“There are indeed many factors that can contribute to unrest,” Bar-Yam explains. “What we see, however, is that these conditions can Read more…