In recent years, we have seen economic attacks used to take down regimes. In the 2011 uprising in Egypt that displaced Hosni Mubarak, for example, the final trigger to the unrest was food prices, not anger about human rights abuses. It has been widely reported that inflated food prices were a primary factor behind the initial unrest. Egyptian households spend about 40 percent of their budget on food, and food prices had jumped 20 percent prior to the Egyptian revolution. Corn prices shot up 90 percent, and wheat slightly less. Speculation played a role in higher food prices. Certainly the global monetary inflation made this possible.
There should be no doubt that there was a serious economic driver behind the revolution in Egypt. The question then arises whether additional speculation on food prices could have been a geopolitical lever. Based on our research, the answer is an unequivocal yes.