Photo: Alan Light on flickr
The National Journal today addresses the Mother of All Middle Eastern issues: what happens if Saudi Arabia comes apart? The world’s energy community is meeting at the annual Cambridge Energy Research Associates meeting in Houston (TX) this week.
The prospect of Saudi Arabia unravelling is the only thing anyone is talking about, in advance of tomorrow’s “Day of Rage” in Saudi Arabia.
The National Journal report begins:
It probably won’t happen. But if Saudi Arabia faced the same turmoil as other Middle Eastern countries, it would be disastrous. And that’s what’s got people attending an international energy conference here talking.
“If Saudi Arabia were to become unhinged, the consequences are almost impossible to imagine—politically, economically, at every level,” said Ryan Crocker, who was the U.S. ambassador to Iraq until 2009. “But I don’t see it happening.” Crocker spoke to reporters after keynoting a morning speech on Wednesday during the 30th annual Cambridge Energy Research Associates conference.
Talk of Saudi Arabia and its integral role in the oil industry has surfaced this week as the small oil disruption from the Libyan unrest sparked fears in the market and spiked prices. The ultimate fear is that if turmoil erupts in Saudi Arabia, it would lead to disruptions in oil supply, even though that seems unlikely. It is the world’s largest oil exporter and home of the world’s largest reserves. It’s also the most influential country within the organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies 40 per cent of the world’s oil.
Anxiety about the country’s stability is mounting ahead of a massive protest planned for the nation’s capital, Riyadh, on Friday. Thousands of Saudis have signed onto groups on social networking sites like Facebook calling for the protest, known as a “Day of Rage.” Another one is planned for later this month.
Read the full report here.
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