The MENA Saga
The MENA theatre is situated in one of the most fascinating locations of the world, the Middle East and North Africa. It represents, along with the Balkans-Caucasus, the only existing land corridor that connects three continents. It also holds over a half of the world’s proven oil-gas reserves (56 percent - oil, 48 percent - gas). Furthermore, the Gulf OPEC states and Libya have by far the lowest costs of oil extraction, thanks to the high crude purity (measured by overall properties such as the state of aggregation, excavation gravity, viscosity, weight, sulfuric content and other contaminants) which simplifies and reduces the cost of the refinement process. These petrol-exporters also enjoy the close proximity to open warm seas for low-cost, fast and convenient overseas shipments. Hence, the costs per barrel of crude for Libya and the Persian Gulf states are under US$ 5; for other OPEC members, below US$ 10. This is in a sharp contrast to countries such as the US, Russia, Norway, Canada and many others that bear production costs of several tens of US$ per barrel, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Therefore, it is an absolute imperative for the external/peripheral powers to dominate such a pivotal geo-economic and geopolitical theatre by simply keeping its centre “soft,” and pre-empting, preventing or hindering any emancipation that might come through any indigenous socio-political modernisation. This is the very same imperative that has remained a dominant rationale of inner European and Asian machtpolitik for centuries.