Sunnis VS Shiites (Shia)

The following New York Times map shows with red the regions with Sunni majorities. and with blue the regions with Shiite (Shia) majorities.

Map 1 Sunni VS Shiite (Shia) Islam

Map of Sunni and Shia Shiite Islam.JPG

Even though Sunni Muslims account for 80% of the Muslim World, or even more, there are four countries with Shia (Shiite) majorities i.e. Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Azerbaijan. There are significant Shia minorities also in Afghanistan and Yemen. In Saudi Arabia Shia Muslims account for 10-20% of the population, but they are mainly located in the rich in oil region near the Persian Gulf (see map 2).

Map 2 Oil (black) and Natural Gas (red) of the Middle East

Map of Oil and Gas Reserves.JPG

That means that if the Iranians managed to cause an uprising of the Shiite Muslims of Saudi Arabia, they could interrupt the Saudi production, and lower production would mean higher prices for the Iranian oil, and also increased market share for the Iranians. The current Saudi policy is to produce a lot of oil, in order to drive out of the market the American companies that produce oil from shale rock in the United States, but also to weaken the Russians and the Iranians who depend on revenues from oil exports and fight Saudi Arabia in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey fights both Iran and Saudi Arabia, but in the January 2016 crisis between Saudi Arabia and Iran, over the killing of the Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Turkey supported Iran, even though in a discreet way. Turkey would definitely want the overturn of the Saudi King, and his replacement by some members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is an Islamist organization supported by Turkey and Qatar. But the low oil prices tjat are caused by the huge Saudi production are perfectly fine for the fragile Turkish economy. Turkey does not export any oil like Iran and Russia do. Turkey spends a great deal of money on oil imports.

The other day I was saying that according to the Financial Times the oil revenues of ISIS are approximately 700 million dollars, which is nothing compared to what Turkey is paying for oil imports. See “Why Low Oil Prices are Good for ISIS”

Therefore, even if we accept that Putin is right, and Bilal Erdogan, the son of Tayip Erdogan, is buying oil from ISIS in the black market, there is no reason to assume that Erdogan would want high oil prices. Because high oil prices would finish the Turkish economy and would finish Erdogan too. Turkey might want to see the Saudi King gone, like the Iranians do, but Turkey is very happy with the low oil prices which keep afloat the bubbled Turkish economy. Note that Erdogan and Davutoglu have followed a very aggressive monetary policy, and the Turkish economy is a bubble. See “The Socialist Myth of Economic Bubbles”

After I posted this essay Turkey changed her stance towards Saudi Arabia, so you also need to see “Is Turkey the New Patron of Saudi Arabia”?

For the New York Times article and the map see:

“Behind Stark Political Divisions, a More
Complex Map of Sunnis and Shiites”, January 2016

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