For more than two decades, New York attorney Mark Langfan has been creating topographic maps of the Middle East for the purpose of understanding, not only the region's natural terrain, but also its geo-political status. According to Mark, all of the turmoil and fighting in the Middle East comes down to one resource-rich slice of land he calls the “Black Gold Triangle."
Mark joined Jacki Daily in this podcast clip, (an excerpt form the full which you can find here.) "Let's start with the 'what'," said Jackie, "Describe ... your map. What jumps out at you about this, what looks like a standard topographical map of the Middle East?"
"Really, there's two things," answered Mark, "If you understand them separately and then you overlay them on top of each other, all of a sudden, perhaps the most important crux of everything single thing you are reading in the newspaper in the Middle East. Every single article tracks back to exactly what I'm about to explain, which I have coined as the Black Gold Triangle."
What's the Black Gold Triangle?
Mark began his self-funded map project in an effort to help Israel. “The issues of the Middle East are complex and multifaceted ... the maps serve as a tool to help explain the realities and put them into perspective—an important means of presenting issues to Congress and American and Israeli Jews,” he told the Jewish News Service. Over the years he expanded his maps to include the entire Middle East.
"The topography, meaning not the two-dimensional but the actual mountains of the Middle East, really are the core of understanding why the borders are where they are, and almost as important, where the ethnicities start and end. For instance, where to the Arabs start and end? And where do the Persians begin? Where do the Kurds begin and where do they stop? Once you understand the topography, all the lines you see on your two-dimensional maps become understandable."
Looking at one of his maps, Mark pointed out that almost all of the oil in the regions comes from a small triangle that is formed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and straddles Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
"Almost 100 percent of Saudi Arabia's oil is located in maybe 4 or 5 percent of Saudi Arabia ... the part that's in this Black Gold Triangle. It's also the part that is adjacent to Iran."
"That's really the beginning of understanding. If Iran wanted to take over Saudi Arabia, it wouldn't really need to take over 100 percent of Saudi Arabia .... It would only really need to control the 5 percent."
Here is an example of one of Mark's maps below, (courtesy of marklangfan.com):
Listen to the podcast above to learn more.