The Middle East

All of the recent talk about a civil war in Iraq made me wonder: Other than our being in the middle of the conflagration, why do we really care if one 7th century sect wants to fight another one?

I am far from a middle eastern scholar; I am a casual observer. But then I read this piece, and thought maybe I'm not so far off after all:

Imagine: Sunni Saudi Arabia vs. Shiite Iran -- and nary an American soldier ordered to pull his PC punches in the crossfire. But there's more. Obaid continues: King Abdullah might also "decide to strangle Iranian funding of the (Shiite) militias through oil policy. If Saudi Arabia boosted production and cut the price of oil in half, the kingdom could still finance its current spending. But it would be devastating to Iran, which is facing economic difficulties .... The result would be to limit Tehran's ability to continue funneling hundreds of millions each year to Shiite militias in Iraq and elsewhere."


free thought said...

Of course, a broad scale war would ensue, and every oil field would be on fire.

WolfPack said...

With the number of US servicemen in the area, Iran would be put down inside of 3 days and we would have no duty to put them back together again if it was done as an immediate reaction to their attack on Saudi Arabia. We are the best at annihilating a country especially when we have half our military on their border; it’s holding the peace that’s a work in progress. Why so negative Free Thought? It sounded like a plausible idea to me, similar to the way the Soviet Union was eventually made friendlier (military spending that couldn’t be supported by their economic collapse).

GeeGuy said...

They wouldn't be fighting for long without oil revenue, would they?

free thought said...

I cannot respond in comment length, so I'll post response.

Anonymous said...


A few fundamental problems with that idea.

First, you assume that SA can afford to halve the price of oil and maintain current spending. I don't know that that is a legitimate assumption.

I submit to you that the House of Saud only continues to exist by buying off Arabian subjects that would otherwise overthrow a corrupt regime.

Since the cost of production down there is pretty close to bubkis (I think a kitchen funnel thrust into the sand will come up with black stuff), halving the price of oil about halves the nations income. That also halves the amount of money that the house of Saud can funnel to its cronies throughout the country.

You assume SA to be a stable state. I don't think that assumption to be legitimate.

Also, if Iran gets its way and ends up with at worst an ally and at best a satellite state in Iraq, Tehran will control just about as much oil as does SA. I don't think that SA has as much control over the price of oil as you suggest.

A nice idea, but I don't think it makes it to step 2.