Not talked about during this financial crisis is the role that OPEC has had in its creation. A year ago I purchased a Prius because gas was at $2.50 a gallon. Since then, gas in my neighborhood went up to as high as $4.75 a gallon (now is down to about $3.40). The point is that cause EVERYTHING to go out of whack. Beyond gasoline for your car and heating oil, it effected it effected those industries that rely on petroleum products, that would be…..EVERYTHING. Prices for everything went up, and people began to to have problems paying their mortgages and WHAMO, the DJIA is below 9,000.
Every time the Dow drops Obama’s poll numbers go up. The question becomes, was this OPEC greed or a conscious attempt to force a regime change in the United States?
In bypassing a narrow economic analysis of the ongoing crisis, we can detect clearly the connection between the dizzying ups in petrol pricing and the slowing of American buying capacity. Though we have to conclude that while it is due largely to both Wall Street’s corruption and politicians’ abuse of the system handed the tools of doom to the middle class, Main Street’s rapid disenfranchisement was manufactured overseas, thousands of miles away, at the hands of many of the members of OPEC, the oil-producing Cartel.
Indeed, as economic commentators tell us (including a strong accusation leveled by real estate tycoon Donald Trump on Fox News against OPEC), the oil powers are behind the instability that crumbled the will of millions of middle class Americans over the past three years.
If we go back in time, we can see that oil pricing by OPEC’s hard core shows clearly that US leadership wasn’t able to convince the top producers from the Gulf to give American oil consumers a chance. Most producing regimes replied that demand — mostly from China and India — was putting pressure on production. Pressed by Washington to produce more, the “regimes” alleged it would affect the selling price and thus minimize their profits, but promised they would try to “be understanding” of US needs in energy.
This attitude gave the producers discretion over price, while Jihadi propagandists roamed the media accusing Washington of putting unbearable pressure “on the region” to follow American injunctions in setting petrol’s prices. Was there a direct connection between the oil regimes and the Jihadi propagandist machine? We have no answer to that now, but clearly an oil strategy was in the works with a calculated impact on the US economy. This charge is still in its early stages, it will be challenged ferociously, but it will stand as long as convincing answers are not provided.
What adds to the inquiry into the OPEC destabilization factor are the many indicators that strategic political motives have appeared to be behind the pricing maneuvers. Over a period of half a decade, many voices heard on the region’s airwaves have intimated that the US economy will be made to pay for what America’s leadership is doing. Commentators, some funded by oil producers on several outlets including on al Jazeera, underlined that as long as average citizens in the United States (and eventually in the West) don’t feel financial pain, the war on terror and spreading of Democracy won’t be stopped.
Sheikh Yussuf al Qardawi, Muslim Brotherhood ideologue and mentor of the Qatari-funded channel, spoke openly of Silah al Naft, i.e, “the weapon of oil.” Indeed, it was called a weapon – as in a warfare situation — and most likely it was used as such. Of course, the producing “regimes” will deny the existence of a real strategy to bring the US to its knees by striking at its pumps. They will dismiss statements made by emirs and commentators in this regard. The “field Jihadists”, however, won’t deny the existence of such a battlefield.
For years now, Salafist web sites and al Qaeda spokespersons have loudly called for an “oil Jihad against infidel America and its lackeys.” Online material is still circulating. But more revealing are the official speeches by Osama Bin Laden and his deputy on the “absolute necessity to use that weapon.”
Ayman Zawahiri called expressly and repetitively on the public to sell their US dollars and buy gold instead (Be’u al dullar washtaru al zahab). These were stunning statements ignored by most analysts at the time but that are making sense today. He predicted a collapse in the infidels’ economy, starting from American markets. Was he a part of the lobbying effort in the OPEC game? Most likely not, but he seems to have been privy to the game, having insiders in the Wahhabi radical circles in the Peninsula: in the end there are too many political signs to dismiss and the analysis of price warfare is too evident to ignore.
OPEC’s manipulation of the markets did hit Americans hard in their pockets. Hundreds of millions of John and Jane Does were intimidated, terrorized really, into abandoning their lifelong dreams of owning properties because of the aggressive stance of petro-regimes towards the US and its campaign to spread democracy in the Greater Middle East. In historical terms, America was punished for daring to change the status quo in the Arab and Muslim world to the advantage of the weakest and the suppressed: Shia and Kurds in Iraq, Syrian reformers, Lebanese civil society, Africans in Darfur, Iranian women and students, artists and liberals across the Arabian Peninsula. In return, the U.S was submitted to economic destabilization, steady, gradual and by small doses.
Let’s not underestimate the power of the Jihadi-oil lobby in America: it has decades of influence and it has long arms into the system, and it has powerful political allies. It knows when Americans are messing up their own system, and it knows very well how to push them over the cliff, into the abyss of economic calamity.
A counterpoint to this thesis would vigorously argue that the alleged OPEC destabilization over the US economy is illogical, as many countries in the Gulf are experiencing a recession as a result of Wall Street’s crunch. In other words, they wouldn’t do it to themselves. Yet the ideological forces manning the oil weapon aren’t particularly concerned about economic stability. Their driving factor is Jihadism. We’ve heard their ideologues stating that even if they were to incur losses among their own societies in order to defeat the infidel powers, then let it be.
Ten percent losses in local companies and markets are a price that radicals would absorb if the final prize is an earth-shattering change in US policy in the region and a triumphant return to pre-9/11 status. I find the rationale of this policy very Jihadist: if a world economic crisis is needed to remove the US democratization efforts from the region and to end its post 9/11 campaigns, the end justifies the means. In addition, how intriguing to see that Saudi Arabia and other producers are among the very few who didn’t have to pump much cash into their markets yet (Per news Agencies, today).
What some oil regimes — or the ideological forces within — want to accomplish from this alleged interference in US economics is to provoke a “regime change” in Washington, D.C., so that regimes in their region are not challenged anymore. But another issue is also coming to the surface: pressures against America’s financial structures seem to have escalated in parallel to increasing US talk and commitment to achieving energy independence. Since last April, the American debate finally reached a dramatic conclusion: “We’re sending 700 Billion Dollars a year to regimes that dislike us;” agree most national leaders; “and furthermore some of that money is ending up in the hands or accounts of Terrorists” affirm some among them.
This revolutionary conclusion is a direct affront to the multi-decades-long dominance of petro-dollars in US politics. What America is readying itself to do is to achieve its most dramatic war of independence since 1776: ending the dependence on Middle East Oil. Therefore, let’s not be surprised that these gigantic interests would strike at the heart of this economic revolution, as I coined it in my latest book, The Confrontation.
Back to the ongoing crisis on these shores, we nevertheless must admit that the original sins are domestic first: financial drunkenness and economic recklessness. Without these plagues, outside forces wouldn’t have been able to shake up America’s stability. But assuming that most capitalist societies travel through rough patches, it is vital to realize that America’s economy is under attack by forces aiming to maintain US dependency on foreign energy, as a means to obstruct the rise of democracy.
Seven years after 9/11, Americans are paying the price of liberty from their own economic flesh.
Dr Walid Phares, author of Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against America, of The war of Ideas: Jihadism against democracy and of the forthcoming book, The Confrontation. He is also the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.