Another turn in the back story of why the Egyptian people have taken to the streets to oust 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak: Peak oil--well, nationally peak oil at least. A new article in Le Monde Diplomatique by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed sheds light on how, in addition to food insecurity and political repression, the decline of Egypt's domestic oil reserves have played a powerful supporting role in this drama:This quote sums it all up well (and not so incidentally applies in the bigger picture to many more nations on the planet as oil peaks across more of the world):
Egypt is particularly vulnerable. Its oil production peaked in 1996, and since then has declined by around 26 per cent. Since the 1960s, Egypt has moved from complete food self-sufficiency to excessive dependence on imports, subsidized by oil revenues. But as Egypt's oil revenues have steadily declined due to increasing domestic consumption of steadily declining oil, so have food subsidies, leading to surging food prices. Simultaneously, Egypt's debt levels are horrendous - about 80.5 percent of its GDP, far higher than most other countries in the region. Inequality is also high, intensifying over the last decade in the wake of neoliberal 'structural adjustment' reforms - widely implemented throughout the region since the 1980s with debilitating effects, including contraction of social welfare, reduction of wages, and lack of infrastructure investment. Consequently, today forty per cent of Egyptians live below the UN poverty line of less than £2 a day.
Due to such vulnerabilities, Egypt, as with many of the MENA countries, now lies on the fault-lines of the convergence of global ecological, energy and economic crises - and thus, on the frontlines of deepening global system failure. The Empire is uncrumbling. The guarded official statements put out by the Obama administration only illustrate the disingenuous impotence of the U.S. position.
It may not seem on the surface of it all that the revolution sweeping the Middle East in the past few weeks only has a tangental green connection, but if you look just beneath the surface--as more people are beginning to do--that connection is right there.
Read the whole original article, I highly recommend it: Tunisia, Egypt and the protracted collapse of the American empire
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More on Peak Oil:
Peak Oil in 5 Years: Virgin Boss Branson's Warning
Peak Oil Alarm Raised By Secret Government Talks
Jeff Rubin: Peak Oil Will Make Our World A Whole Lot Smaller