Fill up with gas – the price of oil has been “surging overnight”!
That’s the likely international outcome of the latest development in the Middle East.
Early Thursday morning (late Wednesday in the US), a coalition of ten countries, led by Saudi Arabia, started bombing Shi’ite rebels in Yemen, aiming to restore the “legitimate” (Sunni) government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is in hiding somewhere.
The conflict widens the Shia-Sunni conflict, which is the root cause of the never-ending conflicts in Iraq and Syria. The latest war pits Saudi Arabia and Iran against each other.
Yemen is not a big oil producer. But it’s strategically located, controlling the 25-mile wide Gulf of Aden, through which a great deal of the world’s oil is shipped. The British controlled the Gulf from 1839 until 1967.
Illustrative of the volatility in the oil market is the fact that, less than 24 hours ago, hopes were high that a deal between Iran and the western coalition would lead to a glut of oil, driving the price down. The deal may still happen, but the benefits will likely be more than offset by the Yemeni conflict and the increasing Sunni-Shia struggle throughout the Middle East.
This is the basis for the ongoing battle over Tikrit in Iraq. Over a week ago, the Iraqi military was claiming victory over ISIS forces controlling the city. But ISIS, the most militant group within Sunni Islam, is holding its own against a combined force of Shi’ite Iraqi troops, Shia militias and Iranians, who are also Shi’ites.
Interestingly, the US supports the Saudi-led action to restore the President of Yemen, at the same time as supporting the Iraqi and Iranian action to defeat ISIS. It’s doubtful this difficult balancing act will last.
Another question is what it will take for western intervention in the region. An article on the widening conflict in the Middle East in the latest issue of Time Magazine ended with the following paragraph.
“It’s impossible to predict when and where the next extremist attack on a Western target may occur. But it seems all to likely that it would require a mass casualty terrorist strike in a Western country to build the public support needed for the sustained military effort that could actually eliminate these growing threats.” (The New Caliphates, TIME Magazine, Volume 185, Issue #11).
Certainly, such an attack cannot be far off. This could certainly fulfill the prophecy in Daniel 11:40, which states: “At the time of the end the King of the South shall attack him.” The King of the North then retaliates.
As this global crisis worsens and spreads, another recent development shows ISIS, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram “troops” training together in Mauretania, a Moslem country not directly affected by terrorism until now. With ISIS now operating in Tunisia and Libya and Boko Haram in alliance with ISIS, operating in Nigeria, Niger and Chad, the whole of West Africa is vulnerable.
At the same time, the Taliban, which operate in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, has pledged support to the new Caliphate.
The spreading Caliphate is well on its way to achieving its avowed goal of an Islamic State stretching from the Atlantic through the Middle East and on to Indonesia. The plan is a five year plan, which means conflicts are set to increase and spread.
Meanwhile, the “mass casualty terrorist strike” Time warned about, may already have happened. It has been disclosed that the pilot was locked out of the cockpit of the “Germanwings” flight that crashed into the Alps two days ago. When the pilot went to the bathroom, his co-pilot locked the door behind him and then immediately set the controls for a rapid descent and the final, fatal crash. The Marseille prosecutor has just declared that the “co-pilot was not known as a wanted terrorist.” The question remains as to why he would deliberately fly the plane into the mountains. Terrorism was quickly denied but terrorist websites constantly inspire “lone wolf” violent attacks as part of their cause.
Spain and Germany lost the most people in the crash. Spain is one of the countries that ISIS wants in its Caliphate, having been ruled by Muslims for over 700 years.
It’s too early to tell if this was a factor in the plane crash but a criminal investigation is now underway. It seems certain the loss of 150 lives was no accident.