April 4, 2002
8:10 PM   Subscribe

As the violence in the Middle East escalates, and Arab anger grows over American support of Israel (especially among the masses), is another oil embargo possible? Oil may be the Arab world's daily bread, but it's also its only weapon — if, say, Arafat is killed or Israel goes too far in its incursions into Palestinian territories, popular sentiment in the already-shaky local regimes could force Arab governments to put up a show of defiance to calm their constituencies.
posted by Rastafari (13 comments total)
This article points out some of the dangers an embargo would present to the regimes that imposed it.
posted by coelecanth at 8:40 PM on April 4, 2002

SDB on the Oil Weapon.
posted by techgnollogic at 8:53 PM on April 4, 2002

We could just decide that the embargo was an act in concert with terrorists and hence a causus belli, seize the oil fields, and pay the royalties into a Swiss escrow account once we saw fit to return them to local custody.

I cannot imagine that anyone in the Bush Administration woudl for long allow the alleged prerogatives of the thugs and savages who run the oil-rich middle east sufficient to permit them to willfully attack the American economy in such a serious way.
posted by MattD at 9:49 PM on April 4, 2002

i say bring on the oil embargo - god forbid, we'd have to get our fat asses out our SUVs and ride our bikes. might do us a little good.
posted by specialk420 at 9:54 PM on April 4, 2002

Another oil embargo, and I'll turn a tidy profit on a few of my investments.

Unfortunately, said profit will probably be eaten up by higher pump prices. Best I hope for is break-even when it comes to oil stocks! :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:08 PM on April 4, 2002

Hrm. Well the artical seems to be saying that an embargo is unlikley... After all the arab states need money to defend against "rampaging isralis" (heh)
posted by delmoi at 4:25 AM on April 5, 2002

yeah, i think it's one of those possible, but not very probable things. like we're less reliant on middle eastern oil than in the past. according to the DOE although most of our oil still comes from saudi arabia, mexico and canada come in at a close second and third, followed by venezuela and iraq.

also on the world stage, russian companies are gaining leverage as the swing producer, which keeps OPEC on its toes, if not its heels. russia needs foreign currency (and tax recepits), the oil cos are low cost producers and they want market share and power.

interestingly, it's like a rehash of when russia was threatening the de beers diamond cartel in the 90s (until they cut a deal :) so i agree with ari fleischer!
posted by kliuless at 6:07 AM on April 5, 2002

The oil market is too fluid/liquid uncontrolable for another boycott.

They're all bluffing. This is BS.

Glad my new Michelin tires arrived from Nashbar....
posted by ParisParamus at 6:10 AM on April 5, 2002

By the way, the violence isn't escalating: it's subsiding. Less people are beeing killed. So the Israeli initiative is already working.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:14 AM on April 5, 2002

Well, it's certainly refreshing to see such an optomistic take on it, Paris... but it's too soon to tell anything like that. A single bombing of a Tel Aviv grocery store, and your numbers will skew.
posted by crunchland at 6:19 AM on April 5, 2002

So the Israeli initiative is already working.

Yes. They seem to have the situation well in hand. The entire region seems to be exhaling. No one seems angry. Old animosities are giving way to new friendships. Peace Train soundin' louder...um...that is the Peace Train, isn't it?
posted by Opus Dark at 6:35 AM on April 5, 2002

Kliuless - where did you get "most of our oil comes from Saudi Arabia" from those numbers? It looks like about a quarter of our oil imports come from the Arab members of OPEC (the ones who would likely try to embargo us), with half of that being from Saudi Arabia.

Anyway, while correct about the liquidity of the oil market, Paris neglects to mention another, more important factor. In the 70s, the Arab nations had lots of money with which to ride out reduced oil revenues. Now, they're in debt up to their eyeballs. They need to sell oil far more than we need to buy it.
posted by jaek at 10:52 AM on April 5, 2002

sorry, "we import the most oil from saudi arabia" :) thanks!
posted by kliuless at 12:47 PM on April 5, 2002

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