Relying on the Saudis: The Challenge for U.S. Oil Policy

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)Simon Henderson - Just as OPEC oil rates have recently flouted the cartel's notional price band, it would seem that the U.S.-Saudi relationship no longer operates within acceptable limits. Crown Prince Abdullah's publicly stated view that "Zionists" were probably behind the recent terrorist attacks in Yanbu shocked Washington, ruining the credibility of the prince's views on Middle East peace. His argument that only Zionists benefited from such acts was regarded as absurd, and his perceived need to invoke Zionism as a means of delegitimizing local Islamic militancy was contemptible. Moreover, reports suggest widespread sympathy in Saudi Arabia for those attacking U.S. forces in Iraq, with some Saudis lauding volunteer jihadists. The prospect of additional increases in oil prices, which could cause an abrupt slowdown in the global economy, underscores the urgency of pursuing vigorous new efforts in energy conservation and diversification.

2004-05-28 00:00:00

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