A busy day for blogging, but current affairs at the moment should be of interest to all of us, and not just because we are geographers, but also because of the potential implications for the oil dependent countries if the geopolitics of the Middle East continue to unravel.
We are all aware of the now escalating conflict in Libya, following the unrest in Egypt, and in addition to the severe political turmoil in Yemen, Morocco, Oman and Bahrain among others. The AS have just completed their studies of geopolitics, and you should all be able to correlate the recent raise in fuel prices to the level of unrest in the worlds largest oil producing regions.
So, how do we look at this as geographers? Firstly, the humanitarian costs, protest and conflict lead to direct social effects on local populations, there is currently mass migration out of Libya, estimated at around 1000 people per hour. Where are they going? Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria, none of which are regions prepared for mass migration of refugees due to environmental and political constraints. On a wider scale, the UK has evacuated ex pats living in Libya, Egypt is currently setting up a democratic government following the fall of Mubarak, and although the West would certainly welcome more stability and more democracy in the East, it will certainly not happen overnight. The economic implications are certainly concerning, from a national scale, BA stated their ticket prices will have to go up to accommodate the increase in fuel, right down to your pockets, with petrol possibly going up to 145p per litre, those of you with new cars may well find you cant afford to drive them very far! (Today's prices were 130.9 for unleaded and 136.9 for diesel).
In order to understand this, there are some fantastic resources online, I am by no means knowledgeable about the Middle East, but the BBC are and they have produced this click able and updated map of the region and a description of the current situation.