Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses the misunderstood oil weapon:
Fear of the loss of oil is deliberately exaggerated by the Gulf Arabs. They use this threat at every opportunity to justify their own acts, and to inveigle the Americans into doing what, for their own reasons, those Arabs wish them to do.
Not a single one of the many wars that have taken place between nations, or within nations, since the famous orchestration of fear among the oil-consuming nations by OPEC after the 1973 war — which allowed those nations to make their gigantic price rise not only stick, but to be accepted with a whimper — has interrupted the supply of oil for very long. The Iran-Iraq War, a war between what at the time were the second and third largest producers in the Middle East, did briefly interrupt supply at the very beginning, but for the rest of the eight-year-long war, the price of oil actually sank steadily. Much the same non-effect on the oil market occurred when Lebanon was engulfed in Christian-Muslim civil war, and when the Israelis invaded, and then when the Syrians imposed their Diktat after the Treaty of Taif was forced on the Lebanese. The unending siege of Israel, sometimes involving only the shock troops of that siege, the “Palestinians,” and sometimes other Arabs and even other Muslims, has similarly been used to justify a price rise that actually had been planned for quite some time. The moving spirit for this rise was not Saudi Arabia, but the Shah of Iran. The same is true of the first Gulf War, of the civil war in Lebanon, and of the strife within Syria between the Alawi dictatorship and the Muslim Brotherhood.
What about, going even further back than 1973 — all the way back to, say, the 1960s, looking at all those examples of “instability” brought about by intra-Arab warfare, which is closer to the kind of Shi’a-Sunni conflict one is talking about? There was the proxy war in the Yemen between Nasser the supposed leftist and the supposedly rightist forces in Yemen supported by the Saudis. There was the Darfur rebellion in Sudan, supported by the Saudis. There was the tension arising from the Saudi demands on Abu Dhabi over the Buraimi Oasis. There was the Syrian incursion into Jordan, repelled by Israeli warnings. There was the clash between Libyan and Egyptian forces. There was the hostility between the more “Muslim” Ba’athist regime of Iraq against the Alawite Ba’athists of Syria. There was the tension between the Turks and the Arabs of Syria over the dam-building plans of the former. There has been the tension between Kurds and Iranians, Kurds and Arabs, Arabs in Khuzistan and the Iranian government. And so on.
Of course the Saudis and others will mutter darkly about the terrible effects of “instability” and danger to oil, in order to get the Americans to prevent that “instability” that we are repeatedly told is so dangerous. It isn’t. Constant instability, regimes constantly put on edge by one another, and especially by the fear of Sunni-Shi’a conflict, or as Mubarak put it bluntly, Sunni fears of Shi’a intentions — that is something that may be bad for Muslims, but it isn’t bad for Infidels. Let the local regimes worry. Let them spend more money on internal security. Let them have to be as preoccupied with it as the Western world has, thanks to the presence of Muslims, has had to become — with all the expense and anxiety entailed. Let them use up men, money, and materiel battling each other. As in the Iran-Iraq War, they will be careful to respect each other’s sole source of income — the oil. And the Saudis, if they cannot hold onto the oilfields, or if those statelets, those little tribes with little flags, that presume to own the oil and gas of Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, actually do seem as if they might have their oil and gas fields taken over by even worse regimes — even more fanatical promoters or even participants in violent Jihad — it would be nothing at all for the American military to seize those oilfields and gas fields in Qatar, in Kuwait, in the U.A.E., in Saudi Arabia. It would be nothing, as compared to remaining in Iraq in order to ensure a “stability” that is not in our interest, but which, we are repeatedly told, we must ensure so that that oil and gas that would be so easy, in case of ultimate need, to seize, can be kept safe for the greater glory of the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the U.A.E., and so on.
And suppose there were some kind of crisis? A crisis is already here. That crisis is that of the environment, and it is clear that something is needed to shake up the governments of the Western world, and not only the Western world, to collaborate on efforts at finding other sources of energy and other ways of living that will not require the expenditure of so much energy for humans to find what they will define as “happiness.” A crisis in the Middle East over the access to oil is very unlikely to happen, given what happened during the Iran-Iraq War. But if it were to happen, it could be solved through military intervention in statelets that have no military capacity at all. And finally, such a crisis, if in the end it is controllable, as it would be, might be just what the environmental truth-tellers ordered — forcing decisions that apparently need to be forced.