For about 100 years (see Churchill's World Crisis and the decision by the British Navy to fire their boilers with oil) an underlying question has affected the distribution of power and oil in the mid-east: how does a tribal system of agronomial peoples benefit from the sale of the oil that lies underneath them?
The question can be seen in the mind's eye quite graphically- the tribal or clan system is a horizontal system spread on the crust of the earth, about six feet thick, the extraction and export of the oil is a vertical system, a needle-like structure thousands of feet high (beginning deep in the earth) that pierces the horizontal system of the clans.
From the persistence of this 'contradiction' a multitude of questions and answers flow. Readers who have acquired a basic competence in the history and sociology of the region will have no trouble in extending in their minds these questions; those who haven't may well light up the bong and relax, secure in the knowledge that even if they knew more, none of the policy makers or highly paid mercenaries will be asking their opinion. Ca sera, sera.