Red alert: Friday’s “Day of Rage” in Saudi Arabia could rock the world
March 10, 2011
Summary: Friday might be an important day, perhaps the most important day of the decade. It’s the Day of Rage in Saudi Arabia. The Princes have mobilized their vast security services to prevent or disperse the protests. Will anybody dare to show up? Will the Princes order the use of force? Will the crowds resist? The consequences could send oil prices skyrocketing, shaking the world. Many have guesses but nobody knows the outcome.
Tunesia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain. Now it’s Saudi Arabia’s turn. Most of the usual sources (e.g., Stratfor) have said almost nothing about Friday. But there are hints, some of which appear below.
If the Princes fall it will be no Black Swan. Experts have long said that unsustainable trends will lead to disaster for the Saudi Princes (unless they flee promptly).
Elderly rulers, with the grandkids next in line, and no proven mechanism for the transfer of power.
A young population (median age 2). Poorly educated (Islamic studies are at the core of the curriculum). Depression-like levels of unemployment — with many of the employed at overpaid make-work. Idle, with few prospects.
A surplus of males (9.6 million male, 7.5 female). Many of the men cannot pay the Mahr (see Wikipedia), the bride price often necessary to marry.
Saudi national finances totally depend on oil exports, but the government runs deficits as spending outpaces even rising oil prices.
Rapidly increasing consumption of oil takes an increasing fraction of oil production, putting pressure on vital oil exports.
The terminal factor is the large and rapidly growing population. The population from 4 million to about 26 million today, of which 6 million are foreigners. That’s fast, even for this region. Totally cracked for a nation most of which is desert.