Protests Spread To Saudi Arabia

Tyler Durden's picture

While the biggest threat to the Middle East region is the possibility that the population of Saudi Arabia may try to imitate what has been happening in the area, thereby bringing total chaos to the established regional geopolitical and more importantly, energy, structure, the first protests in the Saudi Arabia city of Jeddah are already in the books. The clip below shows the peaceful demonstrations that have taken place recently, which as Fedupmontrealer explains are "taking place in front of the Municipality in protest of the severe lack
of infrastructure, and corruption, that led the city to be inundated this week causing billions of dollars of damages for the second time in two years." That this is even occurring in a state where the average wealth is orders of magnitude greater than in Egypt is remarkable. On the other hand, we expect more news such as those from yeserday that Kuwait is paying its citizens $3,500 plus free food for a year to keep calm. Oddly, visions of money dropping helicopters, infinitely extendable unemployment insurance and tax breaks keep dancing in our head. Those who wish to follows the latest developments out of Jedda which appears could be the lightning rod for Saudi riots can do so by tracking #JeddahProtests on Twitter.

h/t escaholic

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Tric's picture

I do not care for Twitter getting so much attention the way it is. 

DonnieD's picture

They give too much credit to Twitter and not enough to Bernanke

Salinger's picture

don't know about twit but Goog


The Google-NSA Alliance: Questions and Answers

LostWages's picture

Shitstorm turning into a blizzard.

SilverIsKing's picture

That's what I call a "Shizzard"

YHC-FTSE's picture

That's amazing. I would never have believed it a month ago, but there are at least half a dozen articles on ZH which predicted the fall of governments, food riots, and dramatic change to the political landscape as a consequence of inflation caused by the dollar dysentery cascading out of Bernanke's arse. 

redarrow's picture

No doubt about it. Another round of diarrhea from Bens ass and it will be goodbye dollar. If the world has to choose between eating and the dollar, they will choose to eat.

ColonelCooper's picture

Yes, but we are all just Doomers sitting on canned hams and dry goods; too stupid to buy more AAPL.

Tric's picture

I think I might buy some USO on Monday

Suisse's picture

I hope I will have gas for my car next month.

johngaltfla's picture

This protest is primarily related to the horrid government response to the massive flooding in Jeddah. You can read about that here:

Dozens detained in Saudi Arabia over flood protests


What is rare is for any dissent of any kind to occur inside the Kingdom. If this spreads to other cities, it will become a major event and marker for problems that this administration and the prior one never could have dreamed of. If the Wahhabbi sect obtains any foothold and spreads the protests turning them into an Islamic Democracy movement in the Kingdom, all bets are off. The United States would lose the primary ally in the region and all hell will break loose in world markets.

The Saudi Market was down 6.429% this morning so that should give you some clue that the investors in despotism are getting nervous. You can see that here:

What A Despot Stock Market Crash Looks Like (Saudi Arabia)

flaunt's picture

Pretty tame looking compared to the Egypt protests.

EscapeKey's picture

I believe Egyptian protests started off peaceful, too.

flaunt's picture

Well, based on what I've been reading, it's extremely rare for a street protest to take place in Saudi Arabia, so perhaps even a small peaceful one is a major event.  Apparently street protests are completely outlawed in SA.

Someone posted this link in another thread which I found interesting.  SA's king is supporting Mubarak publically which this blogger contends is sure to piss off everyone in SA:


alien-IQ's picture

enter the Black Swan event?

99er's picture

Is America Behind All This?

The American government secretly backed leading figures behind the Egyptian uprising who have been planning “regime change” for the past three years, The Daily Telegraph has learned.


GDE's picture

Same thing in Tunisia.

Caviar Emptor's picture

Yes, Tyler, the Gulf Kingdoms' PTB will try US-style solutions such as plying the masses with "infinite" soporific monetary cushions from abject poverty, helicoptered in via shiny US military choppers. But here's the thing: they must be in some frigging panic to be doing this at all. Keep in mind that these are divine Monarchys we're talking. They already have absolute power over each individual in their nation and don't usually need to worry about popularity like a US politician. They know how far things have come along in the minds of their subjects. Once upon a time (that is up to yesterday), they counted on opium and hashish to keep the natives quiet. But the world has gotten smaller and borders more permeable. 

The fate of the ancient kingdoms is one question. Inextricably linked is the question of pro-US relations. Since the 1920s and the end British colonialism the kings and aristocrats have been in the pay of the oil importers. Those relations were reinforced during world war 2 and the end of colonialism. However what replaced the old system was in fact neo-colonialism: geopolitical allegiances favoring the US and West without actual occupation, but through proxy (puppet) autocratic regimes and the implied threat of occupation. The first crack came when the Shah of Iran was deposed. This was both a wake up call to the Islamic world as well as to the US and Western nations that neo-colonialism could fail. The stakes have been raised steadily and non-stop since 1979, culminating in actual occupation in Iraq in 2003. And it now appears that we are entering the next phase now. Whereas you'll hear the MSM spinning the revolutions as democratic evolution in the image of and favorable to the US and West, what is really going on is a revolt by those economically deprived by neo-colonialism. 

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I agree 100%, snowball.  Well done Caviar Emptor!

Founders Keeper's picture

[Whereas you'll hear the MSM spinning the revolutions as democratic evolution in the image of and favorable to the US and West, what is really going on is a revolt by those economically deprived by neo-colonialism.]---Caviar Emptor

Agreed. And well done, Caviar.

(As an aside, IMHO, our foreign policy does not reflect the intentions of our Founders.)


CrashisOptimistic's picture

A few tidbits:

1) "Energy".  Stop talking about "Energy".  There is no energy problem.  There is an oil problem and it can't be solved with any other kind of energy.  KSA has no coal, damn little in natgas production and 8.5 mbpd of OIL.  OIL.  OIL.  Not energy.

2) Egypt's oil production was about 703K bpd in 2009, that's down from 710K bpd in 2008 and down from 900+K bpd in 1980.  They are way past peak.  Domestic consumption of oil has grown each year and exceeded the domestic production curve in early 2008.

3) They have a huge population and every one of them eat.

4) They cook mostly on propane stoves.  The propane is a BIG part of the oil consumption numbers.

5) Subtle and hugely important item.  They have 975K bpd of refinery capacity to make gasoline.  They export a chunk of this.  This is one of the largest refinery capabilities on the African continent.  If it shut down, it would be felt immediately.

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture


It is all about the oil....and the gold.

Sudden Debt's picture

Saudi Arabia doesn't need to fear it's own citizens.

It's the expats they need to worry about of which there are 5 times more then natives.

And they don't get shit and most have been unemployed for almost 2 years now with no means of going back to their home country.

EscapeKey's picture

I think you're thinking of Qatar.

The population of Saudi Arabia stands at 27.1m, of which nearly a third are expats, prelimimary results of a countrywide census have revealed.

Jason T's picture

this is bad taste..but I can't help but think of the movie Jewel of the nile and this song:

Soar07's picture

This evolving scenario is a black swan that will completely undermine our concepts of reality. Read Karl Denninger's posts on the matter. Our endless spinning of illusions is about to fall apart, IMHO.

Weimar Ben Bernanke's picture

I believe Yemen will first fall then it will spread to Saudi Arabia. The royal family is ahted over there. The princes use their oil wealth to live playboy lives while the people live in poverty,and unemployed. This is spreading and if the House of Saud is overthrowned and replaced by an islamist zealous movement then the dollar-petrol system is done for. However it is too early what these saudi arabia protest will lead to. Also Saudi Arabia has laxed gunlaws. In other words there will be gunfights if there a revolution to get rid of the royal family.

Aristarchan's picture

It is likely that the US and other govs with military forces inside Saudi and in the region would actively support the Royal Family. They would be fighting "terrorists" to preserve an important friend in the region, and of course, to protect a globally important oil source from "Al Queda".

LehmanRefugee's picture

This instability spreading to KSA is just a bridge too far for me. I might need to eat humble pie but the model right now seems to be countries:

1) Long standing authoritarian regimes that have repressed political opposition

2) Net Importers of Commodities

3) Lower tier of middle income / higher tier of low income


KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain etc don't fit the model because they are too rich and too insulated from the bernanke printing press due to their export earnings. Other countries that might fit this model of the top of my head include: MENA (Algeria, Yemen, Morocco, Jordan, Syrai) E. Europe (Albania, Moldova) and Central Asia (Tajikistan..others??). 

Aristarchan's picture

Yours is the logical assumption to make at this point in time. However, I worked in Saudi for some time, and have many Saudi friends, and there is a great deal of hatred for the Royal Family, and the uneven distribution of wealth. Also, there are many fundamental Muslims who hate the regimes close ties to the West. Now, could all these forces knit together and provide an active threat? maybe...This kind of instability is a wild card for the region, so future events may not comply with White Swan assumptions. One major difference is the amount of support the Royal family would receive from oil consuming countries.

DosZap's picture

One major difference is the amount of support the Royal family would receive from oil consuming countries.


Answer: All the hell they need

NO WAY US allows House of Saud to be taken,no way.

FeralSerf's picture

The oil infrastructure is fragile when the IEDs and RPGs start going off.

Hephasteus's picture

I'm sure the us military has 2 or 3 more good wars in them. Fire 'em up. Ben can print them some gas money.

Things that go bump's picture

It is only a matter of time.  While the US might be able to keep the lid on for a short while by force, the steam will keep building up and then it all blows.  While our fearless leaders are occupied with trying to repress the irrepressible, other strategic interests will be clamoring for attention, Pakistan and its loose nuclear weapons, comes to mind.  They are going to be playing whack-a-mole.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch.... isn't this the chance we have waited for all our lives?  Once they are distracted and spread too thin perhaps we can shake off our own shackles.  



'Rise like Lions after slumber

In unvanquishable number,

Shake your chains to earth like dew

Which in sleep had fallen on you -

Ye are many - they are few.


'What is Freedom? - ye can tell

That which slavery is, too well -

For its very name has grown

To an echo of your own.


'Tis to work and have such pay

As just keeps life from day to day

In your limbs, as in a cell

For the tyrants' use to dwell,


'So that ye for them are made

Loom, and plough, and sword, and spade,

With or without your own will bent

To their defence and nourishment.


'Tis to let the Ghost of Gold

Take from Toil a thousandfold

More that e'er its substance could

In the tyrannies of old.


'Paper coin - that forgery

Of the title-deeds, which ye

Hold to something of the worth

Of the inheritance of Earth.


'And these words shall then become

Like Oppression's thundered doom

Ringing through each heart and brain,

Heard again - again - again -


'Rise like Lions after slumber

In unvanquishable number -

Shake your chains to earth like dew

Which in sleep had fallen on you -

Ye are many - they are few.'


Excerpt from "The Mask of Anarchy" by Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1819.

Bananamerican's picture

love me some Percy Bysshe....

"Even from our childhood have we learned to steep

The bread of slavery in the tears of woe,

And never dreamed of hope or refuge until now."


"'Like clouds inwoven in the silent sky,

By winds from distant regions meeting there,

In the high name of truth and liberty,
Around the City millions gathered were,
By hopes which sprang from many a hidden lair,...

'The Tyrant knew his power was gone, but Fear,
The nurse of Vengeance, bade him wait the event--
That perfidy and custom, gold and prayer,
And whatsoe'er, when force is impotent,
To fraud the sceptre of the world has lent,

might, as he judged, confirm his failing sway.


.-The Revolt Of Islam

Dapper Dan's picture

Do you think that if the crisis spreads to Saudi Arabia our news outlets will call the protesters Anti-government or will they call them Anti-monarchy?

Does the word anarchy come from the latter?

Bananamerican's picture

"terrorists™" will suffice.....

CrashisOptimistic's picture

Nonsense.  This is not about freedom or democracy.

It is about food, as a derivative of oil.  If KSA citizens eat and are comfortable, they are not going to riot.  The non native workforce won't be "rising up" either because they have no money for guns.

Don't sign onto the MSM spin.  This is about food, derived from oil.  Food is being priced out of people's mouths.  Places where people eat fine, no revolution.

FeralSerf's picture

How much American corn is being made into ethanol fuel now?  About 40%?

What is it -- 1 tankful of ethanol in an SUV is the equivalent corn to feed a

family for a year?  And this is good policy?   Corn has gone up in price how

much in the last year or so?  When someone spends 80% of their income on

food and food doubles, something's got to give.


It almost sounds like the policymakers are working overtime to see what

they can do start revolutions or mass die offs.

colddirt's picture

I don't know about you people, but if I was to take over the kingdom the LAST thing I would trade my oil for would be FRNs.

buzzsaw99's picture

that is just one of the reasons why you are not king

Dr. Porkchop's picture

Shit, should I go fill up a gas jug?

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Lose no purchasing power with silver.

flaunt's picture

More like get a bicycle.

born2bmild's picture

Bike - check. So stoked my van runs on natural gas (CNG baby).

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

[V]isions of money dropping helicopters....keep dancing in our head.

Bernanke, from Helipad, "Clear for takeoff Dr. Bernanke."

This is Bernanke's moment.  Time to save the world Dr. Bernanke.  Let it rain money like 'Lil Wayne at a strip club!