Few would argue that oil plays a major role in all decisions pertaining to the Middle East. We hear rhetoric about liberties and stability but oil is at the center of every action.
Despite only accounting for a 1% drop in oil production, the effects on prices are fueled by fear of unrest, potential regime changes, and the omnipresent possibility of the region (literally) exploding under politically- and religiously-charged wars.
This graphic by our friends at 1bog puts much of it into perspective with a timeline of recent events in the Middle East that have fueled the acceleration of hostilities and increases in gas prices. Sorry for the small lettering - click to enlarge.