The Al-Qaeda Threat to Saudi Arabia's Oil Sector

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Mordechai Abir - On December 15, 2004, Bin Laden said "oil prices should be at least $100 a barrel," and called upon Persian Gulf militants to exert themselves to prevent the West from getting Arab oil by attacking oil facilities all over the region. The following day, NYMEX crude spiked by 5 percent to $46.28 a barrel. Although no longer a serious threat to the Saudi regime, the remaining al-Qaeda cells have now been directed to target the region's oil industry. While Saudi Arabia's Persian Gulf oil production facilities are largely in Shi'a eastern Arabia, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to totally prevent extremists ready to sacrifice their lives in Allah's name from infiltrating Aramco's workforce, or otherwise hitting weak spots in the oil industry. Even an abortive attack on the Arabian oil network would seriously spike oil prices.

2004-12-28 00:00:00

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