Will the collapse of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime be the salvation of Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela? Even without a forcible overthrow of the “Brother Leader” and the uncertainty of a subsequent interregnum, a protracted Libyan civil war that damages the country’s energy infrastructure could drive energy prices back to 2008 levels. Joshua Schenyer, surveying the landscape, concluded grimly, “Regardless of what comes next in Libya’s lethal political standoff, the OPEC country’s oil sector is nearly certain to suffer, bringing long-lasting supply disruptions or even permanent damage. None of several potential outcomes is benign for Libya’s oil industry — the lifeblood […]
The current wave of upheaval in the Arab world that has unexpectedly swept away the long-lasting presidents of Tunisia and Egypt and which may trigger regime changes all over the region has also steepened the ongoing rise in oil prices and raised fears about the stability of the global oil market. On Jan. 31, after five days of upheaval in Egypt, the price of a barrel of Brent crude on the London-based Intercontinental Exchange passed the $100 threshold for the first time since the financial meltdown of September 2008. Brent crude is currently trading for more than $105, while prices […]
There have been angry scenes in the Iranian Parliament as members took to the floor to condemn anti-government protests at the weekend. State television showed parliamentarians calling for the opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mossavi and Mahdi Karroubi to face trial. Both have been under house arrest for a week after asking for permission to protest.
There’s a lot of trepidation mixed in with the joy of seeing one of the Arab world’s great dictators finally step down. With Americans being so down on themselves these days, many see more to fear than to celebrate. But on the whole, there’s no good reason for the pessimism on display, which is based on a lot of specious assumptions that need to be discarded. Here’s my Top 10 list. 1) Mubarak’s quick-exit scenario means this is Iran, 1979. Nonsense, with the key reasons being the deft play by the Egyptian military and its deep and long relationship with […]
The Iranian parliament recently dismissed the country’s transportation minister, Hamid Benhabani, an ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In an e-mail interview, Jamsheed Choksy, professor of Iranian, Central Eurasian and international studies at Indiana University, discussed the relationship between Iran’s president and parliament. WPR: How would you characterize Ahmadinejad’s relationship with the Iranian parliament over the course of his presidency? Jamsheed Choksy: Relations between the executive, legislative, judicial and theocratic branches of the Islamic Republic’s government have always been tense, as each bloc attempts to expropriate more authority. Ahmadinejad’s presidency has been no different. In his first term, from 2005-2009, he […]
Although even the immediate outcome of the unrest in Egypt remains uncertain, its potential ramifications beyond the country’s borders are worth assessing, considering Egypt’s importance to regional and world politics. Considered an international center of Islamic culture and teaching, Egypt is perhaps the most influential Arab country, with the largest Muslim population in the Middle East and one of the strongest militaries in the Arab world. It has contributed to foreign stability operations, most notably in the First Gulf War, and has important intelligence assets in the world’s various Islamist movements, including reported informants within al-Qaida. Egypt also enjoys considerable […]
While there remains a ton of things that can go wrong with the unfolding revolution in Egypt, there’s a strong case to be made that America, despite its low popular standing there, has been handed a gift horse whose mouth, as the axiom puts it, is best left unexamined. Because most of America’s concerns center on security issues, I’ll frame the argument for why this is the case in tactical, operational and strategic terms, and then finish on the most relevant grand strategic note — namely, the new Axis of Good that may result. Concerning President Hosni Mubarak’s conditional offer […]
India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), announced in late December that it would no longer allow Indian importers to trade with Iran using the Asian Clearing Union (ACU), saying it wanted to explore an alternate means of facilitating trade-related payments. The move came as something of a surprise, even though the U.S. had been pushing India to take this measure for quite some time. For its part, Iran did not welcome the move and initially put the onus on India to find an alternative mechanism. Talks are currently underway to resolve the issue. Nevertheless, the episode has […]