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Arab Oil Embargo - History

Arab Oil Embargo - History

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With the Yom Kippur War between Israel and Egypt and Syria taking place the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries called for an embargo on the United States as well as Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The embargo created shortages of oil and increased the price of oil fro $3 a barrel to early $12 a barrel.


The use of oil as a weapon had been tried a number of times without much success. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries wanted to take action in support of Egypt in Syria. On October 16th the United States announced an arms lift to support Israel. The next day on October 17th OAPEC declared an oil embargo against the United States and Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. They also cut production by 5%. The two actions caused the price of the oil to rise from $3 a barrel to $12 barrel. This translated into a rise in the pump from 38 cents a gallon to 54 cents a gallon, an increase of 42%.

The oil embargo also created shortages of gas, that resulted in some areas to being forced to fill your cars gas tank on alternate days. The embargo had a long-term impact on America energy policy. Cars slowly became more efficient, using less gasoline and a concerted effort began to try to wean America from Mid East oil.


OPEC Oil Embargo, Its Causes, and the Effects of the Crisis

The OPEC oil embargo was a decision to stop exporting oil to the United States. On October 19, 1973, the 12 OPEC members agreed to the embargo. Over the next six months, oil prices quadrupled. Prices remained at higher levels even after the embargo ended in March 1974.  

A review of the history of oil prices reveals they've never been the same since. The chart below tracks both nominal and inflation-adjusted oil prices since 1946. During the OPEC oil embargo, inflation-adjusted oil prices went up from $25.97 per barrel (bbl) in 1973 to $46.35 per barrel (bbl) in 1974.

Since the embargo, OPEC has continued to use its influence to manage oil prices. Today, OPEC controls about 42% of the world's oil supply. It also controls 60% of oil exports and 72% of proven oil reserves.    

Key Takeaways

  • The OPEC oil embargo was an event where the 12 countries that made up OPEC stopped selling oil to the United States.
  • The embargo sent gas prices through the roof. Between 1973-1974, prices more than quadrupled.
  • The embargo contributed to stagflation.
  • In response to the oil crisis, the United States took steps to become increasingly energy independent.

America Almost Invaded Saudi Arabia To Stop the 1973 Oil Embargo

The best solution then is still the best solution today: find another energy source that doesn’t rely on foreign oil.

Here's What You Need to Remember: In the end, just like Iraq, the question would have remained: What do you do with the territory after you’ve taken it? A permanent occupation that would have turned the Saudi oil fields into another Guantánamo Bay enclave? Or do you return the oil fields only if OPEC lowered prices, which would have left embittered relations between the world and its biggest oil producers?

Thirty years before America invaded Iraq, it almost invaded Saudi Arabia.

The last months of 1973 were a desperate time. The Arab oil-producing states had embargoed the United States in October, ostensibly in retaliation for U.S. military aid to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. By the time the embargo ended in March 1974, the damage had been done. World oil prices had quadrupled, triggering years of recession and inflation. No American who lived through the seventies will ever forget the long lines at gas stations that flew red or green flags to signal whether they had fuel in their pumps. With today’s oil market glutted and gas prices plummeting, it’s hard to remember that there was a time when Americans could only buy gas on certain days, depending on whether their license plates had odd or even numbers.

The world had been turned upside down. From being mere resource producers at the mercy of Western states and big oil companies, the oil-rich nations became global kingpins overnight, flush with so much cash that they could barely spend it all, and armed with the most expensive weapons, which they barely knew how to use. The world trembled before the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), whose mostly Middle Eastern members controlled the lifeblood of the global economy.

Like the rest of the world, the United States tamely paid the inflated oil prices. But rather than forking over the money, what if America had chosen to take the oil by force? In 2004, declassified British government documents revealed that the United States had considered a military seizure of Middle Eastern oil.

Though no explicit military plan was mentioned, the documents do show that British leaders were worried by a conversation between U.S. Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger and Lord Cromer, the British ambassador to the United States.

Schlesinger told Cromer that “it was no longer obvious to him that the US could not use force. An interesting outcome of the Middle East crisis was that the notion of the industrialized nations being continuously submitted to whims of the underpopulated under-developed countries, particularly of the Middle East, might well change public perceptions about the use of the power that was available to the U.S. and the Alliance.”

British Prime Minister Edward Heath was worried enough by Schlesinger’s tough talk, as well as hints of military action from Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, to order a British intelligence estimate of U.S. intentions. The report concluded that the United States “might consider it could not tolerate a situation in which the US and its allies were at the mercy of a small group of unreasonable countries. We believe the American preference would be for a rapid operation conducted by themselves to seize oilfields. . . The force required for the initial operation would be of the order of two brigades, one for Saudi operation, one for Kuwait and possibly a third for Abu Dhabi.

“The build-up would require the presence of a substantial US naval force in the Indian Ocean, considerably more than the present force. After the initial assaults. . . two [extra] divisions could be flown in from the USA.”

Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee calculated that seizing oil fields totaling twenty-eight billion tons in reserves would have been sufficient to supply the United States and its allies. However, the report warned that “the American occupation would need to last 10 years as the West developed alternative energy sources, and would result in the ‘total alienation’ of the Arabs and much of the rest of the Third World.” British analysts also worried about the Soviet reaction, though they concluded that Moscow would be more likely to respond with propaganda than force.

America could have seized the oil fields with little problem. With the U.S. military now out of Vietnam, a couple of divisions could have been spared for the Middle East while still maintaining a force to guard against Soviet attack in Europe. In 1973, the Saudis lacked all those high-tech American and European weapons, such as F-15s and AWACS, that the oil windfall would buy them a few years later. Even now, there are grave doubts about the ability of the Saudi military to use sophisticated arms. As for Kuwait’s military, it couldn’t stop Saddam Hussein in 1990, and wouldn’t have stopped the U.S. Marines in 1973.

Had this been the British Empire in the nineteenth century, or Teddy Roosevelt’s "gunboat diplomacy," force would almost certainly have been used. But in the end, the United States and the world did nothing but pay more at the pump (those who want to see how a military operation might have fared are advised to find a copy of the 1975 paper war game Oil War).

The fact was that the oil embargo came at the worse possible time. U.S. oil production had been declining since 1970, inflation was soaring, President Nixon was embroiled in the Watergate scandal, America had just withdrawn from Vietnam, the U.S. military was in a shambles and the last thing the American public wanted was another war. A long-term occupation of the Middle East might have required the reintroduction of the draft, which would have brought back the draft riots of the sixties.

If the United States had occupied the Arabian oil fields, it would probably have done so alone. The British clearly had no appetite for it. NATO’s reaction can be gauged by the fact that America’s allies, except for Portugal, denied overflight and refueling rights to U.S. transport aircraft engaged in airlifting supplies to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The Third World, still emerging from its anticolonial liberation struggles, could hardly have endorsed it. Ironically, the one nation that might not have been unfavorable was Iran, America’s major ally in the Persian Gulf at the time.

Ultimately, the test case for a 1973 invasion of Saudi Arabia came thirty years later, with the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The conditions were far different: Saudi Arabia had a much smaller population than Iraq, and the U.S. goal would have been occupation of natural resources rather than regime change. Yet what might have ensued was an early version of the War on Terror. There was no Al Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden was just a spoiled Saudi rich kid. But in the early 1970s, there was Arab nationalism, Pan-Arabism, Arab leftists who still believed in Communism, and a plethora of terrorist groups in the Middle East, Europe and Japan just looking for a cause to fight for. Instead of suicide bombers, there would have been guerilla warfare, terrorism and perhaps even a pre–bin Laden surge in Islamic fundamentalism.

In the end, just like Iraq, the question would have remained: What do you do with the territory after you’ve taken it? A permanent occupation that would have turned the Saudi oil fields into another Guantánamo Bay enclave? Or do you return the oil fields only if OPEC lowered prices, which would have left embittered relations between the world and its biggest oil producers?

The best solution then is still the best solution today: find another energy source that doesn’t rely on foreign oil.

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

This first appeared in 2014 and is being reposted due to reader interest.


Contents

Early history (recognition) Edit

Although King Abdulaziz Al Saud, Ibn Saud as an appellation, the founder of Saudi Arabia in 1901, had an excellent relationship with the British who defended Saudi Arabia from the Turks, he eventually developed even closer ties with the United States. After unifying his country, on September 28, 1928, Bin Saud set about gaining international recognition for Saudi Arabia. The United Kingdom was the first country to recognize Saudi Arabia as an independent state, as the British had provided protection of Saudi territories from the Turks for many years. [13] Ibn Saud also hoped to be recognized by the U.S., which at that time had no interest in Saudi Arabia. Initially, his efforts were rebuffed, but Washington eventually came around, promoted by the fact that Al Saud had obtained recognition from many nations. In May 1931 the U.S. officially recognized Saudi Arabia by extending full diplomatic recognition. [14] [15] At the same time Ibn Saud granted a concession to the U.S. company, Standard Oil of California, allowing them to explore for oil in the country's Eastern Province, al-Hasa. [15] The company gave the Saudi government £35,000 and also paid assorted rental fees and royalty payments.

In November 1931, a treaty was signed by both nations which included favored nation status. The relationship was still weak, however, as America did not have an interest in establishing missions in Saudi Arabia: at the time, Saudi affairs were handled by the U.S. delegation in Cairo, Egypt, and did not send a resident ambassador to the country until 1943. [14]

The relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America was economically strengthened in 1933, when Standard Oil of California was given a concession to explore the Saudi Arabian lands for oil. The subsidiary of this company, regarded as California Arabian Standard Oil Company, later dubbed Saudi Aramco carries out a fruitful exploration in 1938, finding oil for the first time. The relationship between the two nations strengthened throughout the next decade, establishing a full diplomatic relationship through a symbolic acceptance of an American envoy in Saudi Arabia.

World War II Edit

As the U.S.–Saudi relationship was growing slowly, World War II was beginning its first phase, with Saudi Arabia remaining neutral. The U.S. was deeply involved in World War II, and as a result, U.S.–Saudi relations were put on the 'back burner'. This negligence left Saudi Arabia vulnerable to attack. Italy, an Axis power, bombed a CASOC oil installation in Dhahran crippling Saudi Arabia's oil production. [14] This attack left Bin Saud scrambling for to find an external power that would protect the country, fearing further attacks that would most likely cease the country's oil production and the flow of pilgrims coming into Mecca to perform Hajj, the base of the Saudi power and economy at that time. [13]

CASOC Struck oil near Dhahran, but production over the next several years remained low—only about 42.5 million barrels between 1941 and 1945 less than 1% of the output in the United States over the same time period. CASOC was later renamed the Arabian-American Oil Company (Aramco).

However, as World War II progressed, the United States began to believe that Saudi oil was of strategic importance. As a result, in the interest of national security, the U.S. began to push for greater control over the CASOC concession. On 16 February 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that "the defense of Saudi Arabia is vital to the defense of the United States", thereby making possible the extension of the Lend-Lease program to the kingdom. Later that year, the president approved the creation of the state-owned Petroleum Reserves Corporation, with the intent that it purchase all the stock of CASOC and thus gain control of Saudi oil reserves in the region. However, the plan was met with opposition and ultimately failed. Roosevelt continued to court the government, however—on 14 February 1945, he met with King Ibn Saud aboard the USS Quincy, discussing topics such as the countries' security relationship and the creation of a Jewish country in the Mandate of Palestine.

Bin Saud approved the U.S.'s request to allow the U.S. air force to fly over and construct airfields in Saudi Arabia. The oil installations were rebuilt and protected by the U.S., [14] the pilgrims' routes were protected, [13] and the U.S. gained a much needed direct route for military aircraft heading to Iran and the Soviet Union. [14] The first American consulate was opened in Dhahran in 1944. [16]

With 2001, the US and Saudi Arabia began working together against a common enemy that the Saudis had already been fighting for years: Violent Islamist extremists. Saudi intelligence services had agents throughout the Muslim world sniffing out jihadist threats to the Kingdom the US was under-resourced in these countries and badly needed help, which the Saudis were happy to provide. The global war on terror, as George W. Bush termed it, in many ways repeated the grand US-Saudi strategic alliance against the Soviet Union. [17]

After World War II Edit

In 1945, after World War II, Saudi citizens began to feel uncomfortable with U.S. forces still operating in Dhahran. In contrast, Saudi government and officials saw the U.S. forces as a major component of the Saudi military defense strategy. [18] As a result, Ibn Saud balanced the two conflicts by increasing the demands on U.S. forces in Dhahran when the region was highly threatened and lowering it when the danger declined. [ citation needed ] At this time, due to the start of the Cold War, the U.S. was greatly concerned about Soviet communism and devised a strategy of 'containing' the spread of communism within Arabian Peninsula, putting Saudi security at the top of Washington's list of priorities. [19] Harry S. Truman's administration also promised Bin Saud that he would protect Saudi Arabia from Soviet influence. Therefore, the U.S. increased its presence in the region to protect its interest and its allies. [18] The security relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. was therefore greatly strengthened at the start of the 'cold war'. [19]

Foundation of Aramco Edit

The United States of America and Saudi Arabian trade relationship has long revolved around two central concepts: security and oil. Throughout the next two decades, the 50s and 60s, relations between the two nations grew significantly stronger. In 1950, Aramco and Saudi Arabia agreed on a 50/50 profit distribution of the oil discovered in Saudi Arabia. In 1951 the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement was put into action, which allowed for the U.S. arms trade to Saudi Arabia, along with a United States military training mission to be centered in the Saudi Land. [20]

King Saud comes to power (1953) Edit

In the late 1950s, King Saud, the eldest son of Ibn Saud, came to power after his father's death. During King Saud's time the U.S.–Saudi relations had faced many obstacles concerning the anti-communism strategy. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's new anti-Soviet alliance combined most of "the kingdom's regional rivals and foes", which heightened Saudi suspicions. [14] For this reason, in October 1955, Saud had joined the pro-Soviet strategy with Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. [18] Furthermore, Saud dismissed the U.S. forces and replaced them by Egyptian forces. Thus, this act had sparked and innovated a new and a large conflict in the relationship. But in 1956, during the Suez crisis, Saud began to cooperate with the U.S. again after Eisenhower's opposition of the Israeli, British, and French plan to seize the canal. Eisenhower opposed the plan because of anti-Soviet purposes, but King Saud had admired the act and decided to start cooperating with the U.S. [18] As a result, Egyptian power greatly declined while U.S.–Saudi relations were simultaneously improving.

Cold War and Soviet containment Edit

In 1957, Saud decided to renew the U.S. base in Dhahran. In less than a year, after the Egyptian–Syrian unification in 1958, Egypt's pro-Soviet strategy had returned to power. Saud had once again joined their alliance, which declined the U.S.–Saudi relationship to a fairly low point especially after he announced in 1961 that he changed his mind on renewing the U.S. base. [21] In 1962, however, Egypt attacked Saudi Arabia from bases in Yemen during the 1962 Yemeni revolution because of Saudi Arabia's Anti-revolution propaganda, which made Saud seek the U.S. support. President John F. Kennedy immediately responded to Saud's request by sending U.S. warplanes in July 1963 to the war zone to stop the attack which was putting U.S. interests at risk. [18] At the end of the war, shortly before Prince Faisal became king, the relationship rebuilt itself to become healthy again. [21]

As the United Kingdom withdrew from the Persian Gulf region in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the U.S. was reluctant to take on new security commitments. Instead, the Nixon administration sought to rely on local allies to "police" American interests (see Nixon Doctrine). In the Persian Gulf region, this meant relying on Saudi Arabia and Iran as "twin pillars" of regional security. Whereas in 1970 the U.S. provided less than $16 million to Saudi Arabia in military aid, that number increased to $312 million by 1972. [22] : 22 As part of the "twin pillars" strategy, the U.S. also attempted to improve relations between the Saudis and the Iranians, such as by persuading Iran to remove its territorial claim to Bahrain. [22] : 21

Oil embargo and energy crises Edit

In November 1964, Faisal became the new king after the conflicts he had with his brother Saud, the erstwhile king. The U.S., on the other hand, was not sure about the outcome of such unplanned change in the Saudi monarchy. Faisal, however, continued the cooperation with the U.S. until October 20, 1973. Then came the low point of the relationship before 9/11, as Faisal decided to contribute in an oil embargo against the U.S. and Europe in favor of the Arab position during the Yom Kippur War. That caused an energy crisis in the U.S.

"America's complete Israel support against the Arabs makes it extremely difficult for us to continue to supply the United States with oil, or even remain friends with the United States," said Faisal in an interview with international media. [18]

Despite the tensions caused by the oil embargo, the U.S. wished to resume relations with the Saudis. Indeed, the great oil wealth accumulated as a result of price increases allowed the Saudis to purchase large sums of American military technology. The embargo was lifted in March 1974 after the U.S. pressured Israel into negotiating with Syria over the Golan Heights. Three months later, "Washington and Riyadh signed a wide-ranging agreement on expanded economic and military cooperation." In the 1975 fiscal year, the two countries signed $2 billion worth of military contracts, including an agreement to send Saudi Arabia 60 fighter jets. [22] : 31 The Saudis also argued (partially on behalf of American desires) to keep OPEC price increases in the mid-1970s lower than Iraq and Iran initially wanted. [22] : 22

The Saudis' increase of oil production to stabilize the oil price and the support of anti-communism have all contributed to closer relations with the U.S. [21] In January 1979, the U.S. sent F-15 fighters to Saudi Arabia for further protection from communism. [21] Furthermore, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia were both supporting anti-communist groups in Afghanistan and struggling countries, one of those groups later became known as the Al-Qaida terrorist organization. [23]

Government purchases Edit

After the Cold War, U.S.–Saudi relations were improving. The U.S. and U.S. companies were actively engaged and paid handsomely for preparing and administrating the rebuilding of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia transferred $100 billion to the United States for administration, construction, weapons, and in the 1970s and 1980s higher education scholarships to the U.S. [24] During that era the U.S. built and administrated numerous military academies, navy ports, and Air Force military airbases. Many of these military facilities were influenced by the U.S., with the needs of cold war aircraft and deployment strategies in mind. Also, the Saudis purchased a great deal of weapons that varied from F-15 war planes to M1 Abrams main battle tanks that later proved useful during the Gulf War. [24] The U.S. pursued a policy of building up and training the Saudi military as a counterweight to Shiite extremism and revolution following the revolution in Iran. The U.S. provided top of the line equipment and training, and consulted the Saudi government frequently, acknowledging them as the most important Islamic leader in that part of the world, and a key player in the U.S. security strategy.

The Gulf War Edit

Relations between the two nations solidified even further past the point of the oil embargo, whereas the United States of America sent nearly 500,000 soldiers to Saudi Arabia in attempt to aid in protection against Iraq. [25] Following Operation Desert Shield, which was a response by President George H. W. Bush to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, America kept 5,000 troops in Saudi Arabia in order to maintain their protection and trade relations. [26]

Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 led to the Gulf War, during which the security relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia was greatly strengthened. Concurrently with the U.S. invasion, King Fahd declared war against Iraq. The U.S. was concerned about the safety of Saudi Arabia against Saddam's intention to invade and control the oil reserves in the region. As a result, after King Fahd's approval, President Bush deployed a significant amount of American military forces (up to 543,000 ground troops by the end of the operation) to protect Saudi Arabia from a possible Iraqi invasion this operation was called Desert Shield. Furthermore, the U.S. sent additional troops in operation Desert Storm with nearly 100,000 Saudi troops sent by Fahd to form a U.S.–Saudi army alliance, along with troops from other allied countries, to attack Iraqi troops in Kuwait and to stop further invasion. [27] During the ground campaign of Operation Desert Storm Iraqi troops were defeated within four days, causing the Iraqis to retreat back to Iraq.

Operation Southern Watch Edit

Since the Gulf War, the U.S. had a continued presence of 5,000 troops stationed in Saudi Arabia—a figure that rose to 10,000 during the 2003 conflict in Iraq. [28] Operation Southern Watch enforced the no-fly zones over southern Iraq set up after 1991, and the country's oil exports through the shipping lanes of the Persian Gulf are protected by the U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain.

The continued presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia was one of the stated motivations behind the September 11 attacks, [28] as well as for the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996. [29] In 2003, the U.S. withdrew most of its troops from Saudi Arabia, though one unit still remains.

2010 U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia Edit

On 20 October 2010, U.S. State Department notified Congress of its intention to make the biggest arms sale in American history—an estimated $60.5 billion purchase by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The package represents a considerable improvement in the offensive capability of the Saudi armed forces. [30]

The U.S. was keen to point out that the arms transfer would increase "interoperability" with U.S. forces. In the 1990–1991 Gulf War, having U.S.-trained Saudi forces, along with military installations built to U.S. specifications, allowed the American armed forces to deploy in a comfortable and familiar battle environment. This new deal would increase these capabilities, as an advanced American military infrastructure is about to be built. [31]

Foreign policy Edit

Upon becoming regent in 2005, King Abdullah's first foreign trip was to China. In 2012, a Saudi–Chinese agreement to cooperate in the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes was signed. Abdullah also welcomed Russian president Vladimir Putin to Riyadh in 2007, awarding him the kingdom's highest honor, the King Abdulaziz Medal. Russia and Saudi Arabia concluded a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and LUKOIL to develop new Saudi gas fields. [32]

2013 rift Edit

Alwaleed bin Talal warned several Saudi ministers in May 2013 that shale gas production in the U.S. would eventually pose a threat to the kingdom's oil-dependent economy. Despite this, the two countries still maintained a positive relationship. [33]

In October 2013, Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan suggested a distancing of Saudi Arabia–United States relations as a result of differences between the two countries over the Syrian civil war and diplomatic overtures between Iran and the Obama administration. [34] The Saudis rejected a rotating seat on the UN Security Council that month (despite previously campaigning for such a seat), in protest of American policy over those issues. [35]

Saudi Arabia was cautiously supportive of a Western-negotiated interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. President Obama called King Abdullah to brief him about the agreement, and the White House said the leaders agreed to "consult regularly" about the U.S.'s negotiations with Iran. [36]

Khashoggi assassination Edit

In October 2018, the Jamal Khashoggi case [37] put the U.S. into a difficult situation as Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, share a strong personal and official bond with Mohammad bin Salman. During an interview, Trump vowed to get to the bottom of the case and that there would be "severe punishment" if the Saudi kingdom is found to be involved in the disappearance or assassination of the journalist. [38] A vexed reply came from the Saudi Foreign Ministry saying if Saudi Arabia "receives any action, it will respond with greater action," citing the oil-rich kingdom's "influential and vital role in the global economy." [39]

After weeks of denial, Saudi Arabia accepted that Khashoggi died at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul during a "fistfight." Adel al-Jubeir described the journalist's death as a "murder" and a "tremendous mistake." But he denied the knowledge of whereabouts of the body. [40] Following the case, the U.S. promised to revoke the visas of Saudi nationals responsible for Khashoggi's death. [41]

In November 2018, Trump defended Saudi Arabia, despite the country's involvement in the killing of Khashoggi. Experts said it is impossible for Mohammad bin Salman to visit Washington or have a direct relationship with the Trump administration. [42]

However, in November 2018, relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia re-strengthened when Trump nominated John Abizaid, a retired U.S. army general who spoke Arabic as U.S. ambassador to the country. [43] Saudi Arabia also brought a fresh face on board, appointing their first female ambassador, Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, to help calm relations in the wake of Khashoggi's death. [44]

On 12 December 2018, United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved a resolution to suspend Yemen conflict-related sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia and impose sanctions on people obstructing humanitarian access in Yemen. Senator Lindsey Graham said, "This sends a global message that just because you're an ally of the United States, you can't kill with impunity. The relationship with Saudi Arabia is not working for America. It is more of a burden than an asset." [45]

On 8 April 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that 16 Saudi nationals involved in Khashoggi's murder, including Mohammed bin Salman's close aid Saud al-Qahtani, have been barred from entering the U.S. [46] [47]

Armenian genocide recognition Edit

In 2019, the United States Congress issued official recognition of the Armenian genocide, which was the first time the United States has officially acknowledged the genocide, having previously only unofficially or partially recognized the genocide. [48] [49] Turkey, which has traditionally denied such genocide to exist, accused the United States of inflaming tensions. Donald Trump has rejected the resolution by the Congress, citing that his administration's stance on the issue had not changed. [50] Despite Trump's denial, the resolution was sponsored by Trump's ally Saudi Arabia, highlighting increasing disdains and distrust toward Turkey from both Saudi Arabia and the United States. [51]

First conflict Edit

While the U.S.–Saudi relationship was growing, their first conflict began when the disorder broke between the Jews and Arabs in April 1936 in the British-administrated Palestine mandate. The U.S. favored the establishment of an independent Israeli state, but Saudi Arabia on the other hand, the leading nation in the Islamic and Arab world were supporting the Arab position which sparked up their first conflict. In other words, the U.S. oil interest in Saudi Arabia could be held hostage depending on the circumstances of the conflict. [14] U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt sent the king a letter indicating that it is true that the U.S. supports the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, but it is not in any way responsible for the establishment. [ citation needed ] Ibn Saud was convinced by the message that the U.S.–Saudi relations had begun to run smooth again. Moreover, in March 1938, CASCO made a big oil discovery in Saudi Arabia booming the oil industry in the country and coincidentally the U.S. became more interested in Saudi oil. As a result, on 4 February 1940, as the World War II was approaching, the U.S. had established a diplomatic presence in Saudi Arabia to have closer relations with the Saudis and to protect it from enemy hand Bert Fish, former ambassador in Egypt was elected as the U.S. ambassador in Jeddah. [19]

Petrodollar power Edit

The United States dollar is the de facto world currency. [52] The petrodollar system originated in the early 1970s in the wake of the Bretton Woods collapse. President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, feared that the abandonment of the international gold standard under the Bretton Woods arrangement (combined with a growing U.S. trade deficit, and massive debt associated with the ongoing Vietnam War) would cause a decline in the relative global demand of the U.S. dollar. In a series of meetings, the United States and the Saudi royal family made an agreement. The United States would offer military protection for Saudi Arabia's oil fields, and in return the Saudi's would price their oil sales exclusively in United States dollars (in other words, the Saudis were to refuse all other currencies, except the U.S. dollar, as payment for their oil exports). [53] [54]

September 11 attacks Edit

On 11 September 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. and in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania by four hijacked airplanes killed 2,977 victims and cost an estimated $150 billion in property and infrastructure damage and economic impact, exceeding the death toll and damage caused by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 60 years earlier. [55] 15 of the 19 hijackers in the attacks came from Saudi Arabia, as did the leader of the hijackers' organization, (Osama bin Laden). In the U.S., there followed considerable negative publicity for, and scrutiny of, Saudi Arabia and its teaching of Islam, [56] and a reassessing of the "oil-for-security" alliance with the Al Saud. [57] [58] A 2002 Council on Foreign Relations Terrorist Financing Task Force report found that "for years, individuals and charities based in Saudi Arabia have been the most important source of funds for al-Qaeda. And for years, Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem." [59]

In the backlash against Saudi Arabia and Wahhabism, the Saudi government was portrayed in the media, Senate hearings, and elsewhere as

a sort of oily heart of darkness, the wellspring of a bleak, hostile value system that is the very antithesis of our own. America's seventy-year alliance with the kingdom has been reappraised as a ghastly mistake, a selling of the soul, a gas-addicted alliance with death. [60]

There was even a proposal at the Defense Policy Board, (an arm of Department of Defense) to consider 'taking Saudi out of Arabia' by forcibly seizing control of the oil fields, giving the Hijaz back to the Hashemites, and delegating control of Medina and Mecca to a multinational committee of moderate, non-Wahhabi Muslims. [61]

In Saudi Arabia itself, anti-American sentiment was described as "intense" [62] and "at an all-time high". [63]

A survey taken by the Saudi intelligence service of "educated Saudis between the ages of 25 and 41" taken shortly after the 9/11 attacks "concluded that 95 percent" of those surveyed supported Bin Laden's cause. [64] (Support for Bin Laden reportedly waned by 2006 and by then, the Saudi population become considerably more pro-American, after Al-Qaeda linked groups staged attacks inside Saudi Arabia. [65] ) The proposal at the Defense Policy Board to "take Saudi out of Arabia" was spread as the secret U.S. plan for the kingdom. [66]

In October 2001, The Wall Street Journal reported that Crown Prince Abdullah sent a critical letter to U.S. President George W. Bush on 29 August: "A time comes when peoples and nations part. We are at a crossroads. It is time for the United States and Saudi Arabia to look at their separate interests. Those governments that don't feel the pulse of their people and respond to it will suffer the fate of the Shah of Iran." [15]

For over a year after 9/11 Saudi Minister of the Interior (a powerful post whose jurisdiction included domestic intelligence gathering), Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, insisted that the Saudi hijackers were dupes in a Zionist plot. In December 2002, a Saudi government spokesman declared that his country was the victim of unwarranted American intolerance bordering on hate. [67]

In 2003, several terror attacks targeted U.S. compounds, the Saudi ministry of interior, and several other places occurred inside Saudi Arabia. As a result of these attacks, the U.S. decided to redevelop Saudi law enforcement agencies by providing them with anti-terrorism education, the latest technologies, and by giving them a chance to interact with U.S. law enforcement agencies to gain efficient knowledge and power needed to handle terrorist cases and to enforce anti-terrorist laws. [18]

American politicians and media have accused the Saudi government of supporting terrorism and tolerating a jihadist culture, [68] noting that Osama bin Laden and fifteen out of the nineteen (or 78 percent of) 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. [69]

Although some analysts have speculated that Osama bin Laden, who in 1994 had his Saudi nationality revoked and expelled from Saudi Arabia, had chosen 15 Saudi hijackers on purpose to break up the U.S.–Saudi relations, as the U.S. was still suspicious of Saudi Arabia. [70] The Saudi's decided to cooperate with the U.S. on the war on terror. "Terrorism does not belong to any culture, or religion, or political system", said King Abdullah as the opening address of the Counter-terrorism International Conference (CTIC) held in Riyadh in 2005. The cooperation grew broader covering financial, educational, technological aspects both in Saudi Arabia and Muslim-like countries to prevent pro-Al-Qaeda terrorists' activities and ideologies. "It is a high time for the Ulma (Muslim Scholars), and all thinkers, intellectuals, and academics, to shoulder their responsibilities towards the enlightenment of the people, especially the young people, and protect them from deviant ideas" said Sheikh Saleh bin Abdulaziz Alsheikh, Minister of Islamic Affairs, in the CTIC. [ citation needed ]

Almost all members of the CTIC agreed that Al-Qaeda target less educated Muslims by convincing them that they are warriors of God, but they really convince them to only accomplish their political goals. Three years after the Saudi Serious and active role on anti-terrorist, Al-Qaeda began launching multiple attacks targeting Saudi government buildings and U.S. compounds in Saudi grounds. [71] Their attacks exhibit their revenge against Saudi Arabia's cooperation with the U.S. trying to stop further U.S.–Saudi anti-terrorist movements and trying to corrode the U.S.–Saudi relationship and to annihilate it. [ citation needed ]

After these changes, the Saudi government was more equipped in preventing terrorist activities. They caught a large number of Saudi terrorists and terrorists from other countries (some of them American) that had connections with al-Qaeda in one way or another. [72] Some of these criminals held high rank in terrorist society, which helped diffuse many terrorist cells. [ citation needed ] In a matter of months, Saudi law enforcement officials were successfully able to stop and prevent terrorist activities. Also, they were successful in finding the source of terrorist financing. [ citation needed ]

In March 2018, a U.S. judge formally allowed a suit to move forward against Saudi Arabia government brought by 9/11 survivors and victim's families. [73]

In May 2021, 22 federal lawmakers from New York and New Jersey pressured US President Joe Biden to release the classified FBI documents that cite the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 terror attacks. [74] The lawmakers Ione Republican Nicole Malliotakis and NY Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, in their letter to the US Attorney General Merrick Garland challenged the “state secrets privilege” that was invoked by former US Presidents to restrict the classified FBI report from releasing. [75] The evidence of Saudi Arabian involvement in the September 11 attacks first surfaced in a 2012 FBI memo during Operation Encore investigation. [76] [77]

Child abduction Edit

The international abduction of American children to Saudi Arabia provoked sustained criticism and resulted in a Congressional hearing in 2002 where parents of children held in Saudi Arabia gave impassioned testimony related to the abduction of their children. Washington-based Insight ran a series of articles on international abduction during the same period highlighting Saudi Arabia a number of times. [78] [79] [80] [81]

Allegations of funding terrorism Edit

According to a 2009 U.S. State Department communication by Hillary Clinton, United States Secretary of State, (disclosed as part of the Wikileaks U.S. 'cables leaks' controversy in 2010) "donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide". [82] Part of this funding arises through the zakat (an act of charity dictated by Islam) paid by all Saudis to charities, and amounting to at least 2.5% of their income. Although many charities are genuine, others allegedly serve as fronts for money laundering and terrorist financing operations. While many Saudis contribute to those charities in good faith believing their money goes toward good causes, it has been alleged that others know full well the terrorist purposes to which their money will be applied. [83]

In September 2016, the Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act that would allow relatives of victims of the September 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for its government's alleged role in the attacks. [84] [85] [86] [73]

Saudi Arabia was involved in the CIA-led Timber Sycamore covert operation to train and arm Syrian rebels. Some American officials worried that Syrian rebels being supported had ties to al-Qaeda. [87] [88] In October 2015, Saudi Arabia delivered 500 U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles to anti-Assad rebels. [89] Reports indicate that some TOW missiles have ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda in Syria and the Islamic State. [90] [91]

2017 arms deal and war in Yemen Edit

Significant numbers of Americans have criticized the conduct of Saudi Arabia in its ongoing intervention in the Yemeni Civil War, including alleged war crimes such as bombing of hospitals, gas stations, water infrastructure, marketplaces and other groups of civilians, and archaeological monuments declaring the entire Saada Governorate a military target use of cluster bombs and enforcing a blockade of food and medical supplies that has triggered a famine. Critics oppose U.S. support of Saudi Arabia for this operation, which they say does not benefit the national security interests of the United States, and they object to the United States selling arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. [9]

The approval of the 2017 arms deal was opposed by various lawmakers, including GOP Senators Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Todd Young and Dean Heller along with most Democrat Senators who voted to advance the measure in order to block the sale, citing the human rights violations by Saudi Arabia in the Yemeni Civil War. [92] [93] Among the senators who voted against moving the measure to block the sale were Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly, Claire McCaskill, Bill Nelson, Joe Manchin and Mark Warner along with top Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Bob Corker and John McCain. [94]

Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic Representative from Hawaii, criticized the move, saying that Saudi Arabia is "a country with a devastating record of human rights violations at home and abroad, and a long history of providing support to terrorist organizations that threaten the American people". [95] [96] Rand Paul introduced a bill to try to block the plan calling it a "travesty". [97] [98] [99]

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy accused the United States of complicity in Yemen's humanitarian crisis, saying: "Thousands and thousands inside Yemen today are dying. . This horror is caused in part by our decision to facilitate a bombing campaign that is murdering children and to endorse a Saudi strategy inside Yemen that is deliberately using disease and starvation and the withdrawal of humanitarian support as a tactic." [100]

Khashoggi killing Edit

In October 2018, serious allegations were put on Saudi for murdering a Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Saudi Arabia to "support a thorough investigation" regarding the disappearance and "to be transparent about the results." [101] Trump said, "We cannot let this happen to reporters, to anybody. We're demanding everything. We want to see what's going on there." [102]

Lindsey Graham, a senior Republican senator's reaction was stern, as he said "there would be hell to pay" if Saudi is involved in the murder of Khashoggi. He further added, "If they're this brazen it shows contempt. Contempt for everything we stand for, contempt for the relationship." [103]

Freedom of religion Edit

Ambassador at Large Sam Brownback condemned the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its religious freedom abuses, on the release of 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom by the State Department. Brownback called Saudi as "one of the worst actors in the world on religious persecution" and hoped to see “actions take place in a positive direction”. The report details discrimination against and maltreatment of Shiite Muslims in Saudi Arabia that includes the mass execution of 34 individuals in April 2019, out of which a majority were Shiite Muslims. [104]

2019 arms legislation Edit

In the wake of a declining human rights record, on 17 July 2019, lawmakers in Washington backed a resolution to block the sale of precision-guided munitions to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. [105] The measure would have denied billions of dollars of weapon sale to the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen where thousands have been killed in the 4-year long war. [106] [107] President Trump vetoed three such resolutions, and there was not a two-thirds majority in the Senate to override. [108]

On 3 August 2020, Democrats in Congress issued subpoenas in probe of the U.S. Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Democrats demanded the State Department officials to testify as part of investigation of 2019 arms sale and the dismissal of the State Department's inspector general, Steve Linick, by President Donald Trump in May on Pompeo's advice. [109]

On 11 August 2020, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was cleared of charges of wrongdoing in a disputed arms sale to Saudi Arabia and UAE. He had been accused of abuse of power after he used an obscure emergency procedure to bypass congressional refusal to approve an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan in May 2019. [110]

2016 U.S. presidential election Edit

In August 2016, Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with an envoy representing Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman, and Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The envoy offered help to the Trump presidential campaign, [111] which would be illegal under U.S. law. The meeting included Lebanese-American lobbyist George Nader, Joel Zamel, an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation, and Blackwater founder Erik Prince. [111] [112]

Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated the Trump campaign's possible ties to Saudi Arabia. [113] Lebanese-American businessman Ahmad Khawaja claimed that Saudi Arabia and UAE illegally funnelled millions of dollars into the Trump's campaign. [114]

In April 2017, U.S. President Donald J. Trump attempted to repair the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia by having the U.S. Defense Secretary visit Saudi Arabia. Trump has stated that he aims to help and assist Saudi Arabia in terms of military protection in order to receive beneficial economic compensation for the United States in return. [20]

Pensacola shooting Edit

On December 6, 2019, an aviation student from Saudi Arabia Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani shot three people dead and injured eight others at U.S. Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. [115] This attack is concluded as a terrorist attack by FBI following the investigation. Alshamrani himself is a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force who was participating in a training program sponsored by the Pentagon as part of a security cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia. Later, the Navy suspended flight training for all Saudi military aviation students pending the results of the FBI investigation. [116]

Florida governor Ron DeSantis placed a large amount of blame and need for compensation on the Saudi government, stating "They [Saudi Arabia] are going to owe a debt here given that this is one of their individuals." [117]

Coronavirus outbreak Edit

On 3 July, 2020, it was reported that dozens of American diplomats will be leaving Saudi Arabia, along with their families due to the kingdom's failure at containing the coronavirus outbreak, even as its economy reopens. Some of the diplomats believe that the government of Saudi Arabia may be underreporting the number of coronavirus cases by thousands. [118]

President-elect Joe Biden Edit

Following Democratic candidate Joe Biden's victory in the U.S. presidential elections of 2020, the Arab states raced to congratulate him, but Mohammed bin Salman remained silent for hours. It was believed that Prince Salman refrained from sending wishes to Biden, as the rights records against which he received a vital buffer during Donald Trump's presidency would be lost. [119] Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wished Biden and Kamala Harris, a day after their victory. [120]

Saudi Arabia engaged the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm of Patton Boggs as registered foreign agents in the wake of the public relations disaster when knowledge of the identities of suspected hijackers became known. They also hired the PR and lobbying firm Qorvis for $14 million a year. Qorvis engaged in a PR frenzy that publicized the "9/11 Commission finding that there was 'no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded [Al Qaeda]'—while omitting the report's conclusion that 'Saudi Arabia has been a problematic ally in combating Islamic extremism.'" [121] [122]

According to at least one journalist (John R. Bradley), the ruling Saudi family was caught between depending for military defense on the United States, while also depending for domestic support on the Wahhabi religious establishment, which as a matter of religious doctrine "ultimately seeks the West's destruction", including that of its ruler's purported ally—the U.S. [123] During the Iraq War, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, criticized the U.S.-led invasion as a "colonial adventure" aimed only at gaining control of Iraq's natural resources. [124] But at the same time, Bradley writes, the Saudi government secretly allowed the U.S. military to "essentially" manage its air campaign and launch special operations against Iraq from inside Saudi borders, using "at least three" Saudi air bases. [125]

The two nations cooperate and share information about al-Qaeda [ citation needed ] and leaders from both countries continue to meet to discuss their mutual interests and bilateral relations. [126]

Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are strategic allies, [3] [127] and since President Obama took office in 2009, the U.S. has sold $110 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia. [128] [129] The National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 began cooperating with the Saudi Ministry of Interior in an effort to help ensure "regime continuity". An April 2013 top secret memo shows the agency's program of providing "direct analytic and technical support" to the Saudis on "internal security" matters. The CIA had already been gathering intelligence for the regime long before. [130]

In January 2015, after the death of King Abdullah, the White House and President Obama praised him as a leader and mentioned "the importance of the U.S.–Saudi relationship as a force for stability and security in the Middle East and beyond." [131]

In March 2015, President Barack Obama declared that he had authorized U.S. forces to provide logistical and intelligence support to the Saudis in their military intervention in Yemen, establishing a "Joint Planning Cell" with Saudi Arabia. [133] U.S. government lawyers have considered whether the United States is legally a "co-belligerent" in the conflict. Such a finding would oblige the U.S. to investigate allegations of war crimes by the Saudi coalition, and U.S. military personnel could be subject to prosecution. [134] [135]

American journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote in October 2016: "From the start of the hideous Saudi bombing campaign against Yemen 18 months ago, two countries have played active, vital roles in enabling the carnage: the U.S. and U.K. The atrocities committed by the Saudis would have been impossible without their steadfast, aggressive support." [136]

In September 2016, Senators Rand Paul and Chris Murphy worked to prevent the proposed sale of $1.15 billion in arms from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia. [137] The U.S. Senate voted 71 to 27 against the Murphy–Paul resolution to block the U.S.–Saudi arms deal. [138]

While the trade based relationship between the United States of America and Saudi Arabia is one that is vastly affected by political disagreements and positions, the trade has yet to cease since its conception. Relations between the two nations have never come to a complete halt throughout history due to the economic advantages both nations gain from one another. Statistically, the trade balance, using 2016 as a benchmark year, has declined to a deficit of 2.5 billion dollars over the 2017 year, popular opinion is that this exemplifies strong future relations between the two nations through the political and militaristic common grounds the United States has been developing with Saudi Arabia. [139] Many experts believe the United States of America and Saudi Arabia are almost 'perfect' for trade due to oil being an essential commodity to the American people and the overall economy of the United States.

In January 2017, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis "reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.–Saudi Arabia strategic relationship". [140] Mattis has voiced support for a Saudi Arabian-led military campaign against Yemen's Shiite rebels. [141] [142] He asked the President to remove restrictions on U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia. [143] On 10 February 2017, CIA director Mike Pompeo awarded the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef with the CIA's "George Tenet" Medal. [144]

Energy and oil Edit

Saudi Arabia has been an enticing trade partner with the United States from the early 20th century. The biggest commodity traded between the two nations is oil. The strength of the relationship is notoriously attributed to the United States' demand on oil throughout the post modern era, approximately 10,000 barrels of petroleum are imported daily to United States since 2012 ("U.S. Total Crude Oil and Products Imports"). [145] Saudi Arabia has consistently been in need of weapons, reinforcement, and arms due to the consistent rising tensions throughout the Middle East during the late 20th century and early 21st century. Post 2016, the United States of America has continued to trade with Saudi Arabia mainly for their oil related goods. The top exports of Saudi Arabia are Crude Petroleum ($96.1B), Refined Petroleum ($13B), Ethylene Polymers($10.1B), Propylene Polymers ($4.93B) and Ethers ($3.6B), using the 1992 revision of the HS (Harmonized System) classification. [139] Its top imports are Cars ($11.8B), Planes, Helicopters, and/or Spacecraft ($3.48B), Packaged Medicaments ($3.34B), Broadcasting Equipment ($3.27B) and Aircraft Parts ($2.18B)". [146]

On 9 August 2020, Saudi Arabia announced that it would cut down on oil supply to the U.S. for the third time in one year, in an attempt to suppress stockpiles in the global oil market to rebalance the demand and supply. However, experts claim that the strategy worked in 2017 when the demand for oil was high and may bear challenges and risks at the present time, due to the impact of the ongoing coronavirus crisis on oil demand. [147]

Recent years Edit

In the year 2017, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the United States of America's 20th ranked export market across the globe and ranked 21st in import markets. [139] The most prominent goods set forth as exports to Saudi Arabia in the designated year (2017) were "aircraft ($3.6 billion), vehicles ($2.6 billion), machinery ($2.2 billion), electrical machinery ($1.6 billion), and arms and ammunition ($1.4 billion). [148] In terms of statistics, the United States - Saudi Arabian trade declined approximately nine percent in U.S. exports in 2017 compared to the year prior however, 2017 exemplified great reparation of the relationship through a 57% increase of exports from 2007. [148] Imports between the two nations increased approximately 11 percent from 2017 to 2018, which is an overall decline of 47% since the year fiscal 2007. [148] The entities that the United States of America seeks to import from Saudi Arabia has hardly changed over the years: "The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2017 were: mineral fuels ($18 billion), organic chemicals ($303 million), special other (returns) ($247 million), aluminum ($164 million), and fertilizers ($148 million)". [148]

Controversies Edit

Saudi Arabia and the United States of America have never fully eliminated their trading agreements however the relationship has experience consistent disagreements through its history from its conception. In the height of the Syrian Civil War, which started in March 2011, Saudi Arabia expressed disapproval of the United States lack of action in eradicating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. [149] The United States' has consistently expressed disapproval of the treatment of Saudi Arabian women within the confines of the Kingdom. The famous criticisms of the early 21st century behind the relationship between the two countries is due to the mix of the disregard of the aforementioned issues and the public knowledge that trade between Saudi Arabia and the United States has trended upwards in the post 9/11 world. In recent years, the imports and exports of U.S- Saudi trades have not shown a percentage increase each year, where it topped out around 2012 and has been in slight fluctuation since, but the overall trend of trade has shown a positive slope. [139] In 2001: U.S. exports were at $5,957.60 and imports were at $13,272.20 (in millions of U.S. dollars) whereas, controversially as it is believed, in 2012 the United States witnessed $17,961.20 in exports and $55,667.00 in imports. [139]

The most damaging occurrence to ever affect the trade relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. occurred on September 11, 2001 due to Saudi Arabia's believed involvement in the 9/11 attacks that occurred in multiple cities throughout the United States. Tensions also rose between the two nations throughout Barack Obama's presidency due to the United States agreement in the Iran, when the U.S. removed oil sanctions on Iran and allowed them to sell their oil to the U.S. The relationship was also hindered by the oil market crash of 2014, propelled by increased shale oil production in the United States, which in turn caused Saudi Arabian exports of oil to decrease by nearly fifty percent. [20] Oil went from around $110 a barrel prior to the 2014 crash, to about $27 a barrel by the beginning of 2016. [20] This relationship worsened after the U.S. legislation passed a bill of a that allowed victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue the Saudi Arabian government for their losses in 2016. [150]

Saudi Arabia does not have an extradition treaty with the United States. [151] The Saudi government has on numerous occasions been actively involved with helping Saudi citizens flee the United States after they have committed serious crimes. [151] In 2019, U.S. federal law enforcement officials launched an investigation into cases involving the disappearance of Saudi Arabian students from Oregon and other parts of the country, while they faced charges in the U.S. Amidst the investigation, it has been speculated that the Saudi government helped the students in escaping from the U.S. [152] [153] In October 2019, the U.S. Senate passed a bill by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, requiring the FBI to declassify any information regarding Saudi Arabia's possible role. Oregon officials demand extradition of these suspects by Saudi Arabia since they were involved in violent crimes causing bodily harm and death. [154]

On 25 September 2020, the government of Saudi Arabia offered a bond worth $500,000 as cashier's check to the Tulsa County Sheriff Office from the Saudi Arabian consulate in Houston, Texas to bail out Omar Ba-Abbad, an Uber driver charged with the first-degree murder of a passenger in June 2020. Ba-Abbad was driving for a cab service provider, Uber, in June when he got into a fight with a passenger, Jeremy Shadrick. Ba-Abbad ran over Shadrick in the fight, killing him as a result. Ba-Abbad has claimed in his defense that his act was out of self-defense. However, the District Attorney contradicted his claim with video evidence proving otherwise. [155] [156]

After President George W. Bush's two visits to Saudi Arabia in 2008—which was the first time a U.S. president visited a foreign country twice in less than four months—and King Abdullah's three visits to the U.S.—2002, 2005 and 2008—the relations have surely reached their peak. [ citation needed ] The two nations have expanded their relationship beyond oil and counter terrorism efforts. For example, King Abdullah has allocated funds for young Saudis to study in the United States. [157] One of the most important reasons that King Abdullah has given full scholarships to young Saudis is to give them western perspective and to impart a positive impression of Saudi Arabia on the American people. [ citation needed ] On the other hand, President Bush discussed the world economic crisis and what the U.S.–Saudi relationship can do about it. [158] During meetings with the Saudis, the Bush Administration took the Saudi policies very seriously because of their prevalent economic and defensive presence in the region and its great media influence on the Islamic world. [159] By and large, the two leaders have made many decisions that deal with security, economics, and business aspects of the relationship, making it in the top of its fame. [ citation needed ]

In early 2018, the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman visited the United States where he met with many top politicians, business people and Hollywood stars, including President Donald Trump, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and George W. Bush. [160] [161]


The Arab Oil Embargo

In the 1950s and 1960s, oil supply was not a problem in the United States. As a nation, the U.S. acted as though there was an endless amount of cheap oil and gasoline. Emblematic of this attitude was America’s love affair with high-powered, high-performance, tricked-out, gas guzzling automobiles (“muscle cars”) that generated a whole genre of pop music (“hot rod rock”).

Regarding automobiles, a whole section of this book could be devoted to the impact of the automobile on 20 th century American history and culture. America has had a love affair with the automobile and there are many songs that reflect it. Perhaps another author would like to do the research on this and/or other topics inside the 20th century that are not included here. Some popular songs about automobiles are listed below but, I am not including the lyrics because, unlike the other songs in this collection, these are not really about lyrics rather, they describe mood and attitude:

  • “Little Duece Coop, by the Beach Boys (1963). A deuce coop is a 1932 Ford. (https://youtu.be/NwgGuadsqyo)
  • “409, by the Beach Boys (1962). The cubic inch measurement, 409, refers to the size of the engine found in many muscle cars. (https://youtu.be/frtVqCZub-0)
  • “Little G.T.O., by Ronny and the Daytonas. The GTO was a Pontiac muscle car. (https://youtu.be/o_FSicQWimU)
  • “Hey, Little Cobra, by the Rip Chords (1963), refers to a British sports car with a Ford high-performance engine. (https://youtu.be/oc6FmZCT0Zc)
  • “Drag City, by Jan and Dean, (1963). Drag racing was the ultimate test for a muscle car. ( https://youtu.be/c2GwDGjiV4k)
  • “Dead Man’s Curve, By Jan and Dean (1964). Although fun for teenagers, drag racing was very dangerous. (https://youtu.be/ukunx21UHCA)

The age of muscle cars, and America’s oil independence, did not last long into the 1970s due to geo-political developments in the Middle East, particularly those related to Israel.

The United States had been the ally and primary supporter of the State of Israel since its founding in the late 1940s. The State of Israel was carved out of land at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea—the Levant—that was known as Palestine since biblical times. The Jewish people considered this territory their ancient home land. However, Palestinian Arabs also lived in the area during the biblical era and considered it their home land as well.

Conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs was inevitable. Several wars erupted between the two groups in the decades after the creation of Israel: the War of Independence (1948), The 1956 War, The Six-day War (1967) and The Yom-Kippur War (1973-1974). There was also another war between the two groups in the early 1980s. The United States’ backing of Israel in these conflicts caused hostility on the part of the Palestinians and their Arab neighbors.

Until the early 1970s, America was able to produce all of the gasoline its car-oriented society wanted. Thus, it was able to control the domestic price that was kept artificially low. However, the early 1970s saw a growing need to import oil and gas from the Arab countries, which controlled 60 percent of the oil reserves in the non-communist world. The United States imported a third of its oil from Arab nations Western Europe imported 72 percent from the Middle East and Japan, 82 percent. The Arab oil-producing countries, with a few other countries from outside the region, established a cartel for purposes of controlling and leveraging their oil supplies. The name of the cartel was Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC).

In 1973-1974, OPEC decided to punish U.S. support of Israel in the Yom Kippur war by cutting oil production and instituting an embargo against the U.S. (Jennings and Brewster, pp. 429-430.) This resulted in an oil crisis in the United States: prices for a barrel of oil went up 387 percent, gas stations ran out of gas, consumers queued up in miles long lines and waited hours for gas, gas was rationed by license plate numbers (even numbers one day, odd numbers the next), and speed limits were lowered to 55 miles per hour. (Id.)

The oil crisis brought an end to an era of cheap energy. Americans had to learn to live with smaller, less powerful cars, less heating and air conditioning in their homes. For millions of Americans the lessons were painful to learn. American drivers started purchasing smaller, better-engineered, fuel-efficient cars from Japan and Europe. By 1982, Japanese cars had captured 30 percent of the U.S. market. This “energy crisis” did have a positive side effect. It increased public consciousness about the environment and stimulated awareness of the importance of conservation. (Id.)

As a result of the increased fuel costs and the restricted speeds, over-the-road truckers formed ad hoc convoys as they traveled across the country in order to stymie the new 55 mph speed limit. A new technology, the Citizen’s Band (CB) radio, made this type of activity possible. Truckers adopted coded “handles” (pseudonyms) to identify themselves and talk back and forth over the air. They developed jargon to mask their communication from law enforcement. The “front door” (lead truck in a convoy) for instance, would scout the highway ahead for “bears” (state highway patrol, so called because of their hats, evocative of Smokey Bear) and relay sightings to fellow convoy members to alert them to speed traps and other potential dangers of the road. Even if caught by surprise by a lurking “bear,” convoy logic reasoned that the state trooper could only stop one truck while the rest of the convoy “put the hammer down” (accelerated) and escaped the scene.

In 1976, C.W. McCall sang “Convoy. The lyrics were written by Boxcar Willie and the song is a fictional account of a truck convoy that runs toll booths from California to New Jersey. It became the number one hit on both the pop and country charts. (https://youtu.be/tPTWZQv0liY)

Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June
In a Kenworth pullin’ logs
Cab-over Pete with a reefer on
And a Jimmy haulin’ hogs
We is headin’ for bear on I-one-oh
‘Bout a mile outta Shaky Town
I says, “Pig Pen, this here’s the Rubber Duck.
“And I’m about to put the hammer down.”

‘Cause we got a little ol’ convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a little ol’ convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
‘Cross the U-S-A.
Convoy!

By the time we got into Tulsa Town,
We had eighty-five trucks in all.
But they’s a roadblock up on the cloverleaf,
And them bears was wall-to-wall.
Yeah, them smokies is thick as bugs on a bumper
They even had a bear in the air!
I says, “Callin’ all trucks, this here’s the Duck.
“We about to go a-huntin’ bear.”

‘Cause we got a great big convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a great big convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
‘Cross the U-S-A.
Convoy!

Well, we rolled up Interstate 44
Like a rocket sled on rails.
We tore up all of our swindle sheets,
And left ’em settin’ on the scales.
By the time we hit that Chi-town,
Them bears was a-gettin’ smart:
They’d brought up some reinforcements
From the Illinois National Guard.
There’s armored cars, and tanks, and jeeps,
And rigs of ev’ry size.
Yeah, them chicken coops was full’a bears
And choppers filled the skies.
Well, we shot the line and we went for broke
With a thousand screamin’ trucks
An’ eleven long-haired Friends a’ Jesus
In a chartreuse micro-bus.

Well, we laid a strip for the Jersey Shore
Prepared to cross the line
I could see the bridge was lined with bears
But I didn’t have a dog-gone dime.
I says, “Pig Pen, this here’s the Rubber Duck.
“We just ain’t a-gonna pay no toll.”
So we crashed the gate doing ninety-eight
I says “Let them truckers roll, 10-4.”

‘Cause we got a mighty convoy
Rockin’ through the night.
Yeah, we got a mighty convoy,
Ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy
‘Cross the U-S-A.
Convoy! Convoy! Convoy! Convoy!


March 18, 1974: Arab Oil Embargo

On March 18, 1974, the so called Arab Oil Embargo came to an end, but any celebrations were certainly premature!

Digging Deeper

Digging deeper, we find two major factors involved in making this crisis as important as it was and still is.

The first factor was that it had appeared US production of oil had peaked and the world believed that from about 1970 onward it would continue to decline more or less on a constant basis.

The other issue at hand was and still is the Arab-Israeli conflict. The US is pledged to guaranty the continuation of Israel as an independent state and most Arab (and other Muslim countries) countries are determined to see Israel either eradicated or reduced to an even tinier size.

With this background, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel in October of 1973 during the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.

The Soviet Union poured war materiel into those countries and against demands by Arab countries the US poured war materiel into Israel.

In retaliation against the US support of Israel, OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) declared a reduction in oil production, an increase in oil prices, and an embargo against imports to the US and any countries supporting Israel. Oil prices tripled over the next few months and in an economic situation already tumbling toward recession the economy of the US and industrialized nations was rocked. Gasoline in the US went from about 35 cents a gallon to over 50 cents a gallon and temporary shortages plagued the country. For the first time, fuel efficiency became an issue and people waited for hours in lines to get their cars gassed up.

Although the crisis appeared to last only a few months, the ramifications of it are still going on today! For 13 years the US had imposed a 55 miles per hour speed limit on cars and trucks designed to cruise much faster on roads designed for much higher speeds. Gasoline taxes on national and state levels went up and are today ten times what they were! Emboldened by the success of raising oil prices oil producing countries have continued to keep prices high, about $100 a barrel compared to $3 a barrel when the crisis started!

Although the 55 mph limit has been rescinded (it only saved about 1% of gasoline consumption) government mandated requirements for improved fuel efficiency has transformed the US roadscape from huge gas guzzling cars to smaller more economical ones, and ones often made by companies from outside the US. Trucks have almost completely made the transition to diesel engines and airlines have shrunk the size of seats in airliners to carry more people.

New relaxed environmental rules have allowed the US to massively increase its production of oil and natural gas, reducing the impact of future problems, such as the 1979 oil crisis precipitated by the Iranian revolution. The economic crash of 2008 was greatly aggravated by a temporary increase in oil prices to almost $150 a barrel!

Only time will tell if the industrialized world will conquer its addiction to oil and reap the benefits of security and an improved economic future. Question for students (and subscribers): What do youthink will happen? Will technology take the oil gun from our head? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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How Saudi Arabia’s oil policy triggered the collapse of the USSR

The price for extracting oil has always been, and still is, very low in the countries that are members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran among them. So, some members of OPEC have always had the option of cutting or increasing the prices of their petroleum products on world markets to influence the global economy. Saudi Arabia, as the undisputed leader of petroleum extraction, has already exercised this option in the past &ndash and on one occasion that policy helped bring down the Soviet Union.

The 1973 oil crisis

Israeli soldiers plug their ears as they fire shells from a French-made 155mm Howitzer gun at the Syrian lines on the Syrian Golan Heights, two weeks after the beginning of the Yom Kippur War, 17 October 1973.

The current drop in oil prices is still nothing compared to the drop of 1973. On October 17th that year, the whole Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), backed by Egypt and Syria, stopped selling petroleum to countries that supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War against Egypt and Syria. These countries were Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The embargo was accompanied by gradual monthly production cuts &ndash by December 1973, OAPEC&rsquos production was a quarter of September 1973 levels.

In 1973, US oil production was just 16.5% of global output the country was a major importer of oil. Although the US and other countries targeted by OAPEC&rsquos decisions were serious customers, the low costs of extraction for OAPEC countries allowed them to preserve their balance of payments even without selling to the US, UK, and others. OAPEC&rsquos 1973 decision triggered a global recession and economic crisis. By the end of the embargo in 1974, the price of oil had risen from $3 barrel to $12 barrel, and in the US, it was even higher.

SAUDI ARABIA Industry Flaming gas on oil field.

The Saudi sheiks prospered and quickly gained enormous wealth. This situation was also highly beneficial for the USSR, which increased its oil and natural gas extraction and quickly became one of the world&rsquos leading oil and gas producers: oil and gas income now made up more than half of the national income.

Meanwhile, in the US, unemployment rates doubled, and GDP dropped by 6%. But the United States was preparing a counter move by persuading Saudia Arabia to act in US interests.

How the US won the Cold War

CIA Director William Casey walks past a Capitol Hill policeman on Friday, Nov. 21, 1986.

The 1973 crisis had long-term consequences. Japanese automobiles that could do double the number of miles on a single tank of gas became market leaders, while the US and other Western countries started looking for new oil deposits and improved extraction techniques. Meanwhile, the USSR was still making huge profits, selling its oil.

In 1979, the Islamic Revolution in Iran caused a severe cut in oil production there. This led to a further rise in global oil prices. The Iran&ndashIraq War that began in September 1980 only exacerbated the situation. But by the beginning of the 1980s, the joint efforts of the US and other &lsquofirst-world&rsquo countries had paid off: oil prices started dropping because of overproduction. In 1981, the US administration dropped the state price control for oil and oil products, at the same time lowering taxes. The prices dropped continuously from 1980 onward.

Abadan, Iran: A view of oil pipelines destroyed by Iraqi bombings during the Iran-Iraq war, in Abadan, south Iran, 1981.

In such conditions, all countries, including the USSR, started working on alternative energy sources, including nuclear power. In 1986, the Chernobyl disaster happened. It is still disputed whether the reason behind the disaster was the demand of the USSR administration to increase the plant&rsquos power output, but the disaster delivered a strong blow to the USSR&rsquos economy, international image, and energy industry.

Shortly after that in 1986, William Casey, then Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, went to Saudi Arabia. According to Ronald Reagan&rsquos national security adviser Richard Allen, Casey negotiated with King Fahd what was to occur next. For the six previous years, the Saudi government has been restraining oil prices, sharply decreasing their petroleum extraction but after Casey returned, in September 1985, Saudi Arabia started rapidly increasing its extraction &ndash even though the prices were still low!

Swift drop

An unidentified group of ministers of Arab oil nations opens a conference in Kuwait on Oct. 17, 1973. The Arab oil nations, joined by Egypt and Syria, met to discuss the use of oil as a weapon against the United States in the Middle East war.

In four months, Saudi extraction rose from two million to 10 million barrels a day, and prices plummeted from $32 a barrel to $10. For the USSR&rsquos economy - already accustomed to exorbitant incomes from its oil, this was a death blow. in 1986 alone, the USSR lost more than $20 billion (approximately 7.5% of the USSR&rsquos annual income), and it already had a budget deficit.

But Saudi Arabia&rsquos economy was also punished because of the low prices! Why did they do it? Allen&rsquos opinion is that Casey offered the sheiks financial reparations in exchange for the move this opinion is backed up by the fact that in 1986, 80% of Saudi oil was sold through Exxon, Mobil, Texaco, and Chevron &ndash all American companies.

The Soviet Union plunged into recession following the 1985-1986 oil crisis. It was enough for the already unhealthy, command-style Soviet economy to crumble. In 1986, USSR&rsquos external loans were about $30 billion by 1989 they had reached $50 billion.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev stresses a point on the second day of the extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet in Moscow on August 27, 1991. Gorbachev threatened to resign if the republics refused to sign a Union Treaty to hold the Soviet Union together.

Saudi Arabian oil prices gradually recovered until the early 2000s when they finally reached profitability again, but the Saudi government didn&rsquot seem to care much, as they likely had massive sovereign funds saved from the hyper profitable 1970s. The US predictably profited: in 1986, American gas stations even gave away free petrol for advertising.

The oil crisis significantly helped the US win the Cold War against the USSR: the economic recession led Mikhail Gorbachev to make hugely unpopular political decisions. An attempt to reform the governmental system (known as Perestroika) was largely hopeless due to the lack of funds. Gorbachev&rsquos populist rhetoric didn&rsquot play well with an impoverished population. They demanded responsibility for the government&rsquos short-sighted actions, and that&rsquos when Boris Yeltsin came in with his harsh critique of the Soviet system at large. By the end of the 1980s, the collapse of the Soviet Union was all but inevitable.

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Select the correct answer. The Arab oll embargo forced the United States to produce more oil domestically. How did this incident affect Oklahoma's economy? ОА. Oklahoma's economy slowed because the embargo increased the price of oil and sales fell. B. Oklahoma's economy grew because many investors put money into the state's oil industry. Oc. Oklahoma's economy remained unaffected because it had a successful oil industry before the embargo, D. Oklahoma's economy slowed because the state depended on oil for several economic activities.

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The 1973 Arab Oil Embargo: The Old Rules No Longer Apply

On Dec. 23, 1973, cars formed a double line at a gas station in New York City. The Arab oil embargo caused gas shortages nationwide and shaped U.S. foreign policy to this day. Marty Lederhandler/AP hide caption

On Dec. 23, 1973, cars formed a double line at a gas station in New York City. The Arab oil embargo caused gas shortages nationwide and shaped U.S. foreign policy to this day.

Forty years ago this week, the U.S. was hit by an oil shock that reverberates until this day.

Arab oil producers cut off exports to the U.S. to protest American military support for Israel in its 1973 war with Egypt and Syria. This brought soaring gas prices and long lines at filling stations, and it contributed to a major economic downturn in the U.S.

The embargo made the U.S. feel heavily dependent on Middle Eastern oil, which in turn led the U.S. to focus on instability in that region, which has since included multiple wars and other U.S. military interventions.

"The oil crisis set off an upheaval in global politics and the world economy. It also challenged America's position in the world, polarized its politics at home and shook the country's confidence," author and oil analyst Daniel Yergin wrote in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

While these concerns linger, the world energy market has changed dramatically over the past four decades. U.S. energy production is rising. Less than 10 percent of U.S. oil comes from the Middle East. Global prices are relatively stable.

All this has spurred debate about whether the U.S. is too focused on the Middle East and its oil when it does not appear to pose much of an economic threat to America. We won't try to answer that question today, but we did want to point out things that were very different back in the fall of 1973:

Leon Mill spray-paints a sign outside his Phillips 66 station in Perkasie, Pa., in 1973 to let his customers know he's out of gas. An oil crisis was the culprit, squeezing U.S. businesses and consumers who were forced to line up for hours at gas stations. AP hide caption

Leon Mill spray-paints a sign outside his Phillips 66 station in Perkasie, Pa., in 1973 to let his customers know he's out of gas. An oil crisis was the culprit, squeezing U.S. businesses and consumers who were forced to line up for hours at gas stations.

Saudi Arabia was a leading proponent of the 1973 embargo. For many Americans, Saudi Arabia was the symbol of the wealthy Arab monarchies that were inflicting so much pain on the U.S. Yet today, Saudi Arabia is one of the closest U.S. allies in the region and is currently pumping oil at high levels to keep world markets stable and offset lower production in places like Iraq, Iran and Nigeria.

Iran and the U.S. were allies. Under the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran kept on producing and exporting throughout the six-month embargo that lasted until March 1974. After the shah was overthrown in 1979, the U.S. and Iran became sworn rivals, a confrontation that has lasted more than three decades. Iran is now the target of Western sanctions that took effect last year and have cut the Islamic Republic's oil exports by half, from 2.5 million barrels a day to around 1.2 million.

In response to the oil shock, Congress passed fuel economy standards. That 1975 measure required automakers to raise mileage from 13.5 miles per gallon to 27 mpg. Last year, the standards were again doubled, and vehicles must average 54 mpg by 2025. As a result, Americans are driving more without increasing the amount of gas they are using.

Soaring oil prices remade the global energy industry. As oil prices skyrocketed in the 1970s, producers were willing to travel to more remote and difficult places to drill, including Alaska, the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Canadian oil sands. World oil production today is 50 percent higher than it was in 1973. Also, the crisis prompted efforts to find and develop other power sources, from natural gas to wind to solar.

Related NPR Stories

Where Does America Get Oil? You May Be Surprised

The U.S. is less dependent on the Middle East today. In the years that followed the 1973 embargo, a cutoff of Middle Eastern oil was regarded as a grave national threat.

Here's President Jimmy Carter in his 1980 State of the Union address:

World

U.S. Rethinks Security As Mideast Oil Imports Drop

"An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America. Such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

In reality, Middle Eastern oil has never been a huge part of the overall U.S. supply. Imports from the Middle East never accounted for more than 15 percent of the U.S. oil supply and now they account for only about 9 percent.

The U.S. now imports more oil from Canada than anywhere else. Saudi Arabia is the only Middle Eastern nation among the top five nations sending oil to America.

By limiting supply, OPEC was able to cause oil price spikes in the 1970s and '80s. But it has much less power today, and a number of top producers, such as Saudi Arabia, work to stabilize prices rather than disrupt the market.

"For the last four decades, Washington's energy policy has been based on the faulty conclusion that the country could solve all its energy woes by reducing its reliance on Middle Eastern oil," Gal Luft and Anne Korin write in Foreign Affairs.

"The crux of the United States' energy vulnerability was its inability to keep the price of oil under control, given the Arab oil kingdoms' stranglehold on the global petroleum supply," the authors write.

So the oil industry is a very different place. But not everything has changed:

The Israelis and the Arabs are still feuding. The 1973 Middle East war was essentially a draw, and Israel and Egypt then made peace before the decade was over. Israel also has a peace treaty with Jordan, but it is still at odds with its other immediate neighbors, the Palestinians, Lebanon and Syria. And Israel considers its biggest threat to be Iran, arguing that Tehran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, which Iran denies.


Watch the video: Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 (January 2022).