Friday, 16 May 2008

”Let Them Eat Sand”

As I have been saying all along, the Saudis need us every bit as much as we need their oil. It’s high time to remind them of this fact. Remember this: Arabs respect strong people, not wimps. By behaving in a weak manner with Arabs, you get nowhere. They’ll walk all over you. Our political leaders do just that: Behave in a weak manner, and fawn. Quit it!- ©Mark

Photo of George W Bush with Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia, the king’s brother, courtesy of The Telegraph

THE TELEGRAPH: When President George Bush went to see Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in January to plead for higher oil output, he was politely rebuffed.

The rematch today is likely to be a great deal more strained.

If the Saudis deny help once again, they risk incalculable damage to their strategic alliance with Washington. The price of crude has rocketed by over $30 a barrel since that last fruitless meeting, briefly touching the once unthinkable level of $127.

Goldman Sachs fears a "super-spike" to $200 a barrel this year.

Asked what he would tell King Abdullah this time, Mr Bush said caustically: "the price is even higher."

Indeed, it is, especially the political price.

The US-Saudi tango has been on thin ice ever since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Sixteen of the hijackers were Saudi nationals.

The Bush family has cleaved closely to the Saudi monarchy, but strong factions in Washington see Riyadh's Wahabi monarchy as part of the Mid-East problem-- not the solution.

Saudi Arabia's one saving grace -- in the eyes of US critics -- is that it has over the years been willing to cap extreme surges in the price of oil, deploying its power as the world's swing producer. This time Riyadh is giving no ground.

Oil minister Ali al-Naimi insists that there is plenty of oil about, blaming the latest spike on "the internal logic of the financial markets”, meaning hedge funds and speculators. The US Congress gave its riposte this week.

New York Senator Charles Schumer is pushing for sanctions against Saudi Arabia, targeting $1.4bn in sales of bomb kits, light armoured vehicles, as well as gear for AWACS aircraft and F-15 fighters.

"You need our arms, but we need you to cooperate and not strangle American consumers.

"Saudi Arabia could do a lot more than they have done," he said.

The Democrats are also pushing legislation that would penalize the OPEC producers cartel for "anti-competitiveness practices".

The Bush White House has rolled its eyes in exasperation at such blunt methods, but hot feelings are aroused in American public discourse.

There have been calls for a food blockade of the Arabian peninsular on the US talk radio circuit. "Let them eat sand", has been the rallying cry of the shock-jocks. OPEC has -- in effect -- cut production repeatedly. US-Saudi Oil Axis Faces Day of Truth >>> By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard | May 16, 2008

THE TELEGRAPH:>Oil Could Hit $200 in 'Super-Spike' >>> By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard | May 10, 2008

The Dawning of a New Dark Age (Paperback - UK)
The Dawning of a New Dark Age (Hardback - UK)