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Oil as a political weapon

            When the oil weapon was first unsheathed in 1973, it had a dramatic and lasting effect on the world economy and Western states. As a weapon of economic embargo, no one can deny its success, quadrupling the price of the world's major commodity in the space of a few days. However, its political effectiveness is less than clear-cut. United States tends not to be susceptible to quick changes in policy through economic cajoling. Most of the Arab demands in 1973 with regards to the Palestinians and Israel remained unfulfilled, although an amicable cease-fire was brokered by the United States. Today in the Middle East it is widely accepted that, - "Economics.has taken priority over politics, co-operation has replaced confrontation". The Middle East is not in the position it was in 1973 with regards to oil exports, and with natural gas and new oil finds outside the Middle East coming into play it does not have the kind of monopoly on energy that it once had. However it would be foolish to write off the oil "weapon", even if conventional wisdom tells us that it will not be used again. It is worth remembering that firstly 67% of the worlds known oil resources reside in the region, and secondly, - "the principle developments in world oil over the past two decades have come largely as surprises, and many of these have run directly counter to conventional wisdom among policy-makers, analysts, and scholars". The Gulf Crisis of 1991 was essentially about oil, the world fearing a shock on the scale of 1973, assembled the greatest concentration of military might since the end of the Second World War. The control and manipulation of oil will continue not only to dominate the Middle East, but the entire world.
             The reason for the split in OPEC in the mid 1970s was due in part from the fact that the economies of OPEC countries were now more than ever before in their history, integrated in the world community.

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