Econintersect: Oil prices surged, the Saudi stock market went into a nosedive and stock markets around the world pulled back because of political protests in the oil producing Persian Gulf kingdom of Oman. There were also reports of protests in Iran across the Strait of Hormuz from Oman. And neighboring Bahrain is still experiencing political turmoil, first reported by GEI News on February 15.Recent damage to oil production facilities in Iraq have also served to add to the regional distress. At one point today (Tuesday, March 1) there were also wild rumors about Saudi Arabia. At the end of the day, it turned out that the only fact among the rumors was that a Shi’ite cleric had been arrested after he called for the establishment of a constitutional monarchy for the kingdom. However, that fact was enough to raise questions about the stability of Saudi Arabia. According to Reuters, Shi’ites constitute between 10% and 15% of the Saudi population.