Will Inflation Bring Another Arab Spring in 2022
Sanctions on Russia and inflation has driven up food prices in Egypt, home to 105 million Arabs, a third of which barely make ends meet when prices are stable.
Arabs don’t laugh.
It comes from Bedouin tradition. Laughing is considered showing emotion, and that is considered to womanlike for a man.
There is no progressive movement among the Arabs. There are no feminist movements.
Arab culture is Latino machismo on steroids. The only gender fluidity is the boiling water that will be splashed in your face if you ever bring up the topic.
Forget what *you* believe. Toss away what *you* think is right and wrong.
The Arabs have their own code of honor.
Mess with that at your own peril.
Putting Food on the Table
85% of Egyptian wheat comes from Russia and Ukraine. Prices have risen by double digit figures overnight.
The government pays subsidies to make sure bread is affordable to its 105 million citizens.
Rising costs put Egypt in the perilous situation of either maintaining current subsidies to let the price of basic foodstuffs rise, or to keep up with inflation and strain their budget.
Neither choice is easy.
It was just over 10 years ago that a simple Tunisian peddler burned himself to death because he was prevented from caring for his family.
In the Arab world, family is everything. A man’s ability to provide for them is his honor.
Wars are fought over honor.
Why didn’t we, in Israel, launch another war after the Yom Kippur War in 1973 to put fear back into the Arabs?
We knew that this war, even though it ended in a stalemate, restored Arab honor to these nations. As long as they have their honor, they will not risk another war over it.
The strategy worked. There has not been as major war between Israel and an Arab nation in almost half a century.
The Arab Spring
Ten years ago, prices for bread also spiked. This put the middle and poorer classes in a difficult position.
Many of them couldn’t put bread on the table.
A popular uprising ensued that removed then leader Hosni Mubarak from power. He was firmly in control for 30 years.
Current president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi knows that without bread, he could also have another Arab Spring on his hands.
105 million people are a lot to control.
Supply shortages, war, inflation on energy prices have lifted the price of wheat 50% in the last six months alone.
If Egypt cannot keep the price of bread stable, the same unrest can ensue.
The recent shock to oil and gas prices will have an upward push on fertilizer, which may keep wheat prices higher.
This might result in millions of Egyptians dusting off their old pitchforks.
The End of the War
Vladimir Putin never imagined the war to last more than a few months. The Russians are already encircling Kyiv.
At the same time, sky high commodities prices can prolong inflation into 2023, making a Republican Congressional landslide all the more possible this November.
In a twisted way, it is in the interests of both US President Biden and Putin to end the war and drop the sanctions.
As the Ukrainian resistance shows greater force, and NATO nations threaten to provide Ukraine with their own weapons, this war may not end as fast as anticipated.
Inflation will spread to places we never imagined, causing problems we never foresaw.