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The Saudi Arabia stock exchange fell nearly 500 points or over 5% after a local news agency reported Saudi tanks were heading to neighbouring Bahrain while other reports suggested unrest in the kingdom was picking up momentum.
Many analysts believe if the cost of oil climbs and stays at around the $120 per barrel level global growth will slow. Commentators point out that soaring oil prices have often been a precursor to recession in the US in the past.
Commentators point out that soaring oil prices have often been a precursor to recession in the US in the past.
Oil may be one of the central focuses of what's going on in the middle east.
Witnesses said that the causeway was blocked as "15 tank carriers carrying two tanks each were heading towards Bahrain," Egypt s al-Masry al-Youm daily reported in its latest edition.
Given the popular protests in the Persian Gulf kingdom, the transfer of the military hardware from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain seems highly unusual, commuters traveling along the 25-km causeway said.
The development follows a decision by the Bahraini military on Saturday to withdraw their vehicles out of the capital s Pearl Square after a deadly police attack on protesters, a condition the opposition had set to begin talks.
The arrival of tanks from Saudi Arabia also occurs on the eve of yet another scheduled pro-democracy rally on Tuesday organized by the Bahraini opposition and protesters in Manama s flashpoint Pearl Square.
Massive protests in Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy s Fifth Fleet in the region, have shown no sign of a decline after almost two weeks.
Fears of Saudi intervention in the ongoing Bahraini uprising first came to the fore last week when unconfirmed reports emerged on Wednesday.
Saudi officials had reportedly told US authorities that they were "prepared to intervene" should such a move prove necessary to protect Bahrain s embattled government.
Uprisings have already inspired change in Egypt and Tunisia and revolutionary contagion is a well-established phenomenon, but could places such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and China really be next?
Newsnight's Paul Mason has been examining what factors are involved in a modern day revolution.
Brent Crude today has reached $119 a barrel. It is of scant concern to those fighting for their lives in Libya, or to maintain and extend democracy in the rest of the Arab world, but there are now clear economic risks arising from this power-shift in the Middle East, and they're starting to filter through to investment decisions.
Here's the main danger:
> the conflict spreads, temporarily choking off supplies
> speculators pile in (there are 2.5x the number of call options to put options on oil futures markets right now)
> this drives the price up towards where it ended up in 2008 - around the $150 mark
> and this chokes off the recovery leading to an oil price slump and a commodity price slump