Trouble In Paradise

The Middle East oil countries have done very well during the past thirty or so years. The have combined to form the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and have raised the price of oil from somewhere near $5 a barrel to over $100 a barrel (although the cost of oil is currently dropping).

The Wall Street Journal reported today that as the Western countries begin to develop their oil resources, OPEC members are fighting over production quotas and prices.

The article reports:

But even modest cooperation between many members has broken down, and Saudi Arabia, in particular, has moved to act on its own. While it cut output earlier this summer, other members didn’t go along. Since then, it has dropped its prices.

Each member has a different tolerance for lower prices. Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia generally don’t need prices quite as high as Iran and Venezuela to keep their budgets in the black.

Late Friday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez, who represents Caracas in the group, called for an urgent meeting to tackle falling prices. The group’s next regular meeting is set for late next month.

But on Sunday, Ali al-Omair, Kuwait’s oil minister, said there had been no invitation for such a meeting, suggesting the group would need to stomach lower prices. He said there was a natural floor to how low prices could fall—at about $76 to $77 per barrel—near what he said was the average production costs per barrel in Russia and the U.S.

The history of oil prices has often been that when the Middle East begins to drop their prices, Americans stop looking for cheaper oil in their own country. Considering the current instability in the Middle East in the OPEC nations, that would be a big mistake.

America needs to be energy independent for both economic and security reasons. It is time to develop our own resources.

Is It Time To Start Treating People The Way They Treat Us ?

I am not (I don’t think) a mean person, but how many times do you let someone apply rules to you that they break themselves before you simply say, “No, I don’t want to play anymore”?

CNS News reported on Friday that ten days ago the top Saudi Arabian Muslim cleric called for the destruction of all churches on the Arabian Peninsula and no one is paying attention.

The article reports:

On March 12, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh was quoted in Arabic media reports as telling a visiting Kuwaiti delegation that it was “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.”

Lawmakers in Kuwait are mulling a ban on the new construction of any non-Islamic places of worship in the small Gulf state, and the delegation asked Asheikh for his opinion. The grand mufti, a member of the ruling royal family, is the undisputed Sunni spiritual arbiter in Islam’s birthplace.

In his response, Asheikh cited a hadith (a saying or tradition of Mohammed), in which the 7th century founder of Islam was recorded to have said on his deathbed, “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula.”

Don’t panic–I don’t want to see any Mosques, temples, houses of worship of any religion destroyed in the United States. However, I do wonder why we let Muslims build Mosques here when they don’t let us build churches in their countries. Where is the reciprocity?

The article concludes:

In its annual report released this week, the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which provides independent advice to the government, expressed concern about the situation, saying that as a result of the indefinite waiver, “the United States has not implemented any policy response to the particularly severe violations of religious freedom” in the kingdom.

“USCIRF has concluded that U.S. policy in Saudi Arabia does not adequately prioritize issues of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief,” the report said.

I think it is time for America to say to all Muslims, “You cannot build a Mosque here until Christians and Jews are allowed to build churches and temples in your country.” It would be interesting to see what would happen next.

 

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