Where there is oil, there is conflict

LConflict countrieset’s take a quick tally of current flashpoints around the world that can be attributed to oil.

1. In Jordan, unrest is rising in response to the government’s recently slashed oil subsidies and Iraq’s decision to halt its exports to the country due to its stance against neighboring Syria’s Bashar al-Assad’s bloody attempt to hold on to power.

2. In oil-rich Algeria, up to 45 international workers, including seven Americans, were taken hostage after an attack on an oil installation. As of this writing, there are conflicting reports of the exact number of casualties as a result of the Algerian government’s raid of the compound.

3. Libya’s army was forced to secure the country’s main oil installations after protests put a halt to one-third of the nation’s 1.2 million barrels per day oil exports. The country is awash with weapons from its recent civil war that saw the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

4. In Iraq, the increasingly autonomous Kurdistan region is bypassing Baghdad in exporting its vast oil reserves, depriving the capital of much-needed funds. Not only has Baghdad threatened to sue, but some analysts have voiced concerns of an armed conflict erupting as a result.

5. In Canada (yes, Canada), the Idle No More movement is increasing its demonstrations against the construction of oil pipelines, refineries and drilling facilities. The movement claims that such activities damage the land and water resources in the country that are the sovereignty of the Indigenous people.

6. Sudan and newly formed South Sudan have been sparring over the latter country’s oil exports since its independence in July 2011. Nearly reaching all-out war, the conflict between the two centers on the revenue split agreement for South Sudan’s oil, which, for the time being, is dependent on Sudan to export its reserves.

7. Iran, which has one of the largest oil reserves in the world, is in the middle of a tense standoff with the West over its nuclear ambitions. Its recent claims to newly discovered oil fields in Azerbaijani waters of the Caspian Sea could be a prelude to yet another conflict. Last year, Azerbaijan foiled a terror attack on its soil that it said was planned by Iran.

8. Yemen’s new government is feverishly attempting to fend off rebel attacks against its oil infrastructure. In this largely lawless country, oil has become the only form of political currency.

Any more? Bueller? Actually, if you include the social unrest that has sporadically surfaced in oil-producing countries like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, then yes, we can add more countries to the list.

Our complete dependence on oil and its monopoly over our transportation system has made oil such a valuable and necessary commodity that it perverts incentives and empowers those who have oil (whomever they may be) to act as they wish. Oil corrupts.