It's All About Crude: How Saudi Arabia Fell Into Washington's Oil Trap

© AFP 2023 / ALAIN JOCARD / Saudi Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud
Saudi Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud - Sputnik International
Saudi Arabia is walking directly into the trap US neocons set for it back in the 1990s, F. William Engdahl writes.

Riyadh may realize too late that it has fallen into Washington's trap and lost its oil war aimed at bankrupting the US shale oil industry, American author, geopolitical researcher and strategic risk consultant F. William Engdahl notes in his recent article for New Eastern Outlook.

"Poor Saudi Arabia. They don't realize it yet but they have lost their oil war. The war in its current phase began in September, 2014, when the dying King Abdullah and his Minister of Petroleum, Ali Al-Naimi, told US Secretary of State John Kerry they would gladly join Washington in plunging world oil prices," Engdahl remarks, adding "It became clear the main Saudi motive was to eliminate the new growing challenge to their control of world oil markets by forcing prices so low that the US shale oil industry would soon go bankrupt."

King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (2nd L) looks on a s US President Barack Obama (3rd L) speaks with Oman Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said (2nd L) during the family photo for the US-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Riyadh, on April 21, 2016 - Sputnik International
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US shale has turned out to be a hard nut to crack: Engdahl cites Suzanne Minter of S&P Global Platts, an independent provider of information for energy markets, who described extraordinary technological changes that have allowed US shale oil producers to survive the oil prices slump in her latest report.

Minter noted that "the prices needed to incentivize the US producer to complete their drilled but uncompleted wells may be much lower than global competitors believe or would like it to be."

"Texas alone could introduce 1.25 MMB/d of oil into the global market and can do so in a short space of time — on average just 30 days. That's more oil than the Saudis have threatened to flood the market with," she stressed.

Meanwhile, the Gulf kingdom is suffering severe economic losses, prompting it to consider the privatization of its most valuable asset, the Saudi Aramco. The king's son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced a new "Vision 2030" initiative aimed at diversifying the monarchy's oil-dependent economy.

However, experts predict that Riyadh may fail to accomplish this ambitious task and end up bankrupt.

Apparently, this is exactly what Washington policymakers want.

Engdahl refers to Dick Cheney's famous 1999 speech at the Institute of Petroleum in London. At the time, he was CEO of one of the world's largest oilfield services companies: Halliburton.

"By 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from?… While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East, with two thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies."

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Remarkably, the speech was delivered just four years before Washington's invasion of Iraq.

"Now let's follow that bouncing ball sometimes called Dick Cheney a bit further. In September 2000 Cheney signed his name, before his selection as George W. Bush's vice presidential running-mate, to an unusual think-tank report that became the de facto blueprint of US military and foreign policy to the present," Engdahl continues.

The think tank's name is Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which is backed by the omnipotent US military-industrial complex.

The PNAC report read: "The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

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Over the two past decades, Washington sought to maintain control over the Middle Eastern region, "where the prize ultimately lies," by unleashing wars and bolstering 'color revolutions,' the researcher points out.

Washington's agenda today in the Middle East has not varied one bit from that of the 1990s-early 2000s.

"It has expanded, but the aim is the same: full US military control of the heart of world oil flows, the Persian Gulf and beyond. As Henry Kissinger is alleged to have said during the first oil shock of the arly 1970's (which he was instrumental in making happen), 'If you control the oil, you control entire nations or groups of nations'," Engdahl stresses.

As for King Salman and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed, they may soon face an internal revolt led by angry Saudi royals, paving the way for Washington's further interference in Saudi affairs.

There is only one fly in Washington's soup: its shale oil bonanza is unlikely to last too long.

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