Since the British mandate, western nations, especially oil-poor European nations, have pandered to Middle Eastern tyrants for a single reason: oil. Israel, poor little Israel, had no oil. That’s why, when the Arabs and Iranians said that they wanted Israel, Europeans were willing to fall in line. Anything, after all, to get that Saudi or Iranian or Kuwaiti or whatever else black gold. America didn’t help things by allowing the environmentalists to make America, which has some of the largest oil reserves in the world, one of the most pathetic (and costly) producers.
One of the little known secrets of the Middle East is that the Muslim nations are running out of oil. I’m not going to go hunting for the link now, as I have to get dinner started, but I’m 99.9% certain that someone conversant with the oil industry told me that Muslims are having to pump water into their wells to raise the oil sufficiently to allow them to get it out. This doesn’t mean they’ll run dry tomorrow, but it doesn’t bode well for them in the long term.
What’s not secret, although it’s not making the splash one would expect it to make, is the fact that Israel turns out to sit on vast oil reserves:
Actual production is still minuscule, but evidence is accumulating that the Promised Land, from a natural resource point of view, could be an El Dorado: inch for inch the most valuable and energy rich country anywhere in the world. If this turns out to be true, a lot of things are going to change, and some of those changes are already underway.
Walter Russell Mead explains how this fact is changing the politics on the ground in the Middle East.
Hat tip: Danny Lemieux