Sunday, February 27, 2011

Unrest in Oman

According to al-Jazeera, unrest in the Middle East has now spread to Oman:
At least two people have been killed in an industrial town in Oman, after police fired rubber bullets on anti-government protesters.

The military moved in to secure an area in the town of Sohar on Sunday where demonstrators had gathered to demand political reforms, according to witnesses reported by the Reuters news agency.

"Two were killed after being shot with rubber bullets as protesters attempted to storm a police station," a security official said requesting anonymity.

State news agency ONA confirmed that there had been casualties in Sohar, saying that police and anti-riot forces had clashed with demonstrators.

"Police and anti-riot squads confronted this group of wreckers in a bid to protect people and their properties, which caused casualties," it said.

Witnesses said a police station and a government building were set on fire.

Basma al-Rajhi, an Omani political activist, told Al Jazeera that she had heard reports that police had tried to block the protests leading to "clashes" with a number of young protesters.

The protests in Oman come amid rising political tensions in the Middle East and North Africa, with uprisings and protests in Bahrain, Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.

Al-Rajhi, who was taking part in a sit-in in Muscat, the capital, said: "Omanis are calling for [the government to] combat corruption and fight the rising cost of living, in addition to many other issues, [such as] raising salaries and [greater] media freedoms."

She said that protesters had not been satisfied with government decrees, announced earlier this week, aimed at tackling these issues.

Protests also took place in the southern town of Salalah where a small number of demonstrators have camped out since Friday near the office of a provincial governor.
Emphasis mine.

Oman is a smaller oil producer, according to the EIA:

So around half the size of Libya. Still, this is certainly not going to help the nervousness in oil markets.


Alexander Ac said...

In a few years into the future, many will wonder why nobody really opposed "mainstream" predictions of 9 million people in 2050...

porsena said...

Adding to Friday's discussion, the Financial Times had an interesting piece at the beginning of the month on the possibility that the unrest would spread to KSA:
The kingdom, the Arab world’s biggest economy, is grappling with similar issues to Egypt, albeit on a much smaller scale: a growing young population, nearly one third of whom are between the age of 15 and 30; an official unemployment rate of 10 per cent; rising inflation; and a shrinking middle class. But will the kingdom be the next to be shaken? Unlikely.

Alexander Ac said...

Hi Stuart, OT but I am quite depressed from the response to an e-mail I received today from the energy advisor of our prime minister.

I wrote:

Dear Karel, I hope you follow uneasy and worsening situation in Middle East and North Africa, declining OPEC exports since 2005 (despite increasing oil price), decreasing oil production in North Sea…


I did not notice any problems in the oil market, where also according to EIA there is more than enough of oil and stocks. Only the speculative price increase as a result of unrest in Libya and other countries, which is very favorable for the financial giants, because they can warm up the inflation, which is not unwelcome by big government debtors… in short, Kaddáfí is even at the end of his career at least somehow useful…

Otherwise the year 2010 was very successful for oil, the production was cca 3,5 bln tons, which is more than 1.7% more than in 2009. Spare production capacity of OPEC despite the relative decrease in global production increased to 6 millions barrels of oil, while OPEC did not increase the quotas, in order to support the increasing price, but even so they were surpassed by 1.9 millions bpd. Not to mention the growing surplus of refining capacities…

So I live on the different planet? :-/