• 3 minutes e-car sales collapse
  • 6 minutes America Is Exceptional in Its Political Divide
  • 11 minutes Perovskites, a ‘dirt cheap’ alternative to silicon, just got a lot more efficient
  • 6 days The United States produced more crude oil than any nation, at any time.
  • 5 days How Far Have We Really Gotten With Alternative Energy
  • 9 hours e-truck insanity
  • 4 days Bad news for e-cars keeps coming
  • 5 days China deletes leaked stats showing plunging birth rate for 2023
  • 7 days The European Union is exceptional in its political divide. Examples are apparent in Hungary, Slovakia, Sweden, Netherlands, Belarus, Ireland, etc.
Claude Salhani

Claude Salhani

Claude Salhani is the senior editor with Trend News Agency and is a journalist, author and political analyst based in Baku, specializing in the Middle…

More Info

Premium Content

Islamic State’s Ultimate Goal: Saudi Arabia’s Oil Wells

Islamic State’s Ultimate Goal: Saudi Arabia’s Oil Wells

For the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, Syria and Iraq were a good place to start their campaign, but in order to survive and prosper it knew from the outset that it had no choice but to set its sights on the ultimate prize: the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.

It is in that direction that the battle for control of the world’s largest oil fields is currently heading.

Islamic State -- which has its origins in al-Qaeda – knows fully well that in order to sustain itself as a viable and lasting religious, political, economic and military entity in the region, it has to follow the same objectives established by al-Qaeda when Osama bin Laden broke off his relations with the Saudi monarchy and vowed to bring down the House of Saud.

Bin Laden’s ire at the Saudi monarchy stemmed from the fact that Saudi King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud invited the American military to use Saudi Arabia as a staging area to build up forces to take on the then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein after Iraqi troops occupied Kuwait in August of 1990. Bin Laden objected to the presence of “infidels” in the land of the two holy mosques, and asked the king to allow his outfit to tackle Saddam Hussein’s troops.

Similarly, IS knows that it will only feel secure once Saudi Arabia is part of the Caliphate, and its oil fields are under IS control -- which is why the group has two logical next steps.

First, to capture and secure the most important country in the Muslim world: Saudi Arabia.

If the battle for Syria and Iraq attracted tens of hundreds, (some say tens of thousands) of young Muslims, the battle for control of Islam’s two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, are very likely to attract many more fighters into the ranks of the Islamic State.

And second, to take on the United States -- the one remaining superpower that could stop its march on the oilfields of Saudi Arabia, and ultimately the rest of the Gulf.

After much hesitation, it now appears that the Obama administration has come around to realizing the true danger posed by IS. Washington, along with some of its NATO allies, is now formulating a plan to defeat IS.

However, it may be wise to point out that Washington’s track record in dealing with Middle East problems has not been something to crow about. As a point of reference, one need only mention Iraq and Afghanistan -- both prime examples of how not to do things.

Even if the U.S. can defeat IS militarily, any victory would only be temporary since eventually, U.S. troops will pull out and the remnants of IS would emerge from their respective hiding places, as they did after Saddam Hussein’s capture and death. Indeed, a U.S. intervention -- through its massive air campaign -- will foment even greater animosity toward the West in general, and the United States, in particular. It’s all déjà vu.

The one power that can effectively move against IS in a manner that would appear legitimate to other Muslims is Saudi Arabia, as Nawaf Obaid, a fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Saud al-Sarhan, research director at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies pointed out in a joint opinion piece published Sept. 9 in the New York Times.

The authors dispute the widely believed notion that Saudi Arabia created IS and is funding it. “Saudi Arabia is not the source of ISIS -- it’s the group’s primary target,” they write.

As Obaid and al-Sarhan put it, “The Saudi leadership has a unique form of religious credibility and legitimacy, which will make it far more effective than other governments at delegitimizing ISIS’s monstrous terrorist ideology.”


What makes IS powerful today is the fact that they laid out their military strategy based on where oil fields are located. The fact that they went after northeast Syria and northern Iraq is not coincidental by any means. Islamic State may be ruthless and brutal, but it is first and foremost a terrorist organization with an astute business plan.

The capture of oil wells in Syria and Iraq has made the group financially self-sufficient. Now it’s all or nothing.

By Claude Salhani of Oilprice.com

Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • DaShui on September 09 2014 said:
    How come the USA is not bombing the oilfields Isis already has? Hmmmmm, could it be that we want a Sunni state in between Iran, Syria, and Iraq, to counter Russia?
  • Alex on September 10 2014 said:
    It is clear, "U.S. is superpower"!
    Lets speak about the reasons of the destabilisation of Iraq and Syria!
    Remember, Collin Powel lied at the Security Council meeting, talking about the weapon of mass distruction in Iraq! U.S. military used the false "proofs" for the excuse to invade to Iraq and to kill Saddam Hussein. The result of this invasion we can see now!
    You know, the art of the Great Warrior is not to win the war but to avoid it! U.S. are not the Great Power, they are armed robbers! Remember Afghanistan, Lybia, Serbia, Iraq.
  • G Harrell on September 10 2014 said:
    If they can accomplish getting Saudi Arabia and its wealth, the sky is the limit on the arsenal they can acquire. With a well armed military, what will be their first target? Looks like the ultimate goal will be a all out assault on their most hated neighbor, Israel. When the bombs start flying The U.S. will come with bigger bombs and the rest world will join in with their bombs.
    I think I read about this story when I was a kid in Sunday school. Why does the good book continue be so right?
  • Philip Branton on September 10 2014 said:
    Dear Claude Silhani......

    We know you obviously write for OILPRICE but we really think you need to sit back and think about what you have written.

    History will reveal the trap that ISIS finds itself in. Just stop to think how you can go to your bank or the very laptop you are reading this comment on and look at every transaction in your bank account in "real time". Do you not think that Saudi Arabia or Brussels or Norfolk can not do the same..?

    You state that..... "The capture of oil wells in Syria and Iraq has made the (ISIS) group financially self-sufficient. Now it’s all or nothing...."

    You do know that that OIL is bought and SOLD and SHipped and refined....do you not..!?

    So Claude....before you send an ARMY to defeat ISIS. Who would YOU have a talk with..? WHO Would you kill...? An ISIS fighter or his "trucker"..?

    Ya know Claude......"A man never won a war dyeing for his country ...he won it by making the other dumb poor youth educated about the Facts of where a Mullah and Imam do their banking and "public deeds"..!! If a Mullah or Imam are shepherds of the Muslim flock, then they obviously know how to thin their herds for a healthy pasture. How do wolves solve the problem of herd management without a Mullah ever having to get out of OIL BED...?

    The Pope is no wiser than a "Shah".....but what about the flocks of taxpayers being fleeced.

    Claude ....we luv ya....keep smiling..!
  • juninho on September 11 2014 said:
    Another stupid article. He doesn't even mention that the oilfields of Saudi Arabia are located in Eastern Province, thousands of miles away from Mecca and Medina.

    And to conquer Eastern province, ISIS first have to conquer all of Mesopotamia including the Shia-held bastion of Southern Iraq and then Kuwait to get to the oil fields.

    Like Iran, Saudi Arabia, or the US would let that happen. It amazes how many commentators on World Affairs don't know basic geography.
  • claude salhani on September 12 2014 said:
    Dear Juninho,

    thank you for your comments, and opinion. however, if you think it worth insulting someone have the courage to use your real name. having said that, fyi, i am very familiar with the region's geography having traveled from Istanbul to Salala and back by every possible road since 1970. ISIS would indeed have to conquer all of Mesopotamia and the predominantly Shiaa Eastern Province, if they are thinking, as you do in conventional terms, which we know they dont. they dont need to conquer those lands if they manage to have elements loyal to them foment coups. they would then have people in the epicenter and on the periphery.

    claude salhani
  • rs on September 14 2014 said:
    the ultimate goal of the arab spring, Obama, ISIS, etc., is the establishment of an Islamic super-power(oil funded)..Assad must go,so in comes Obama/USA to help the Syrian opposition. the truth is sad. gl
  • juninho milton dos santos sawaya on September 18 2014 said:
    OK, apologies for the insult cause most writers in the English press have ever traveled to the region nor know the difference between Sunni, Shia, Alawite, Druze, Yezidi, Marsh Arab, Bedouin, etc. You get the point.

    As a Brazilian of partial Syro-Lebanese extraction who has worked extensively in the oilfields of Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, I know first-hand how the Saudi gov't maintains a vice-like grip on the Shia majority of that region from a security standpoint.

    Even if ISIS was successful in overthrowing the Saudi gov't in Riyadh and the Hejaz as you hypothesize, they would then need to conquer the Shia bastions of Southern Mesopotamia and Saudi Eastern Province to enjoy the spoils of anything more than worthless desert.

    This would result in the strangest alliance of all: The US, Iran, and Sunni GCC states (UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait) to prevent a takeover of the most strategic oil resources on the planet around the Persian Gulf. Dr. Strangelove indeed.

    I am using my real name too.

    Juninho Milton dos Santos Sawaya
  • Nino Olsen on February 25 2016 said:
    In my opinion, KSA,Qatar, USA,Israel,EU, are all involved in an oil game in the middle east.

    Saudi Arabia has the people and enough respect in the arab world that what they say is law. I know this from first hand experience. They have been running mosks all over Europe, radicalizing yuong muslims. Wich are easy preys due to theyr feelings of not belonging in Europe and the wests recent history of smashing the middle east.

    America (Israel) and Saudi Arabia have a long history of good relations, they are now picking off theyr (easy to take) enemies in the middle east. So that Sunnies dominate and makes the rules. This way Iran is left With the Whole world of muslims being ageinst them. Saudi Arabias Sunni minions are controlling the Levant wich makes a continous breeding ground for salafists willing to sacrifice themselfe to bring Down Iran. They ofcourse learn that Iran must og before Israel.
    This makes cheap oil wich is made contango and shared amongst the countries who have been helping the rebels.

    The aftermath:

    -The state of Israel have only Iran left as real enemy in middle east.
    - Oil is being storaged for later use.
    - Saudi Arabia fulfills theyr dream of an Arabic Khalifate.
    -US and Israel gets to send muslims from the Levant to kill Iran withouth themself doing the fighting.
    - Europe is flooded by Immigrants, wich are mostly brainwashed after theyr time as war prisoners of ISIS. This leads to terrorism and splitting of People of europe on the immigrant crisis.
    - Turkey gets to see the Kurdish People disapeir, and EU now loves Turkey.
    - Instability in the Levant spreads towards Russias muslims regions, Also Asia will have to deal with muslim terrorist Groups, ment for destabilizing Asia to keep China busy.

    The west is proudly backing rebels in Syria and elsewhere wich are known for killing civillians and even beheading and eating people...FSA and all the other rebel groups are a bunch of Salafists wich have no respect for other people.

Leave a comment

EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News