• 3 hours LNG Glut To Continue Into 2020s, IEA Says
  • 5 hours Oil Nears $52 With Record OPEC Deal Compliance
  • 8 hours Saudi Aramco CEO Affirms IPO On Track For H2 2018
  • 10 hours Canadia Ltd. Returns To Sudan For First Time Since Oil Price Crash
  • 11 hours Syrian Rebel Group Takes Over Oil Field From IS
  • 3 days PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 3 days Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 3 days Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 3 days Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 3 days Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 3 days Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 3 days Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 3 days New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 3 days Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 3 days Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 4 days Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 4 days British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 4 days Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 4 days Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 4 days Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 4 days OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 4 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 4 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 4 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 5 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 5 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 5 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 5 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 5 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 5 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 6 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 6 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 6 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 6 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 6 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 6 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 6 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 6 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 6 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 7 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls

Breaking News:

LNG Glut To Continue Into 2020s, IEA Says

Alt Text

Kurdistan Accuses Baghdad Of Planning Oil Field Seizure

Kurdistan authorities have accused the…

Alt Text

Trump Just Made Iran A Wildcard

The impact of Trump’s decision…

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

Oil Money Supports Middle East Uprising

Oil Money Supports Middle East Uprising

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the Mideast’s enigmatic paradoxes. It is a country made up of many contradictions, from laws touching upon social norms where the government, through the religious police – the mutawaa’ – dictates dress codes and other social behaviors – to the country’s foreign policy that is now directly involved in trying to oust a sitting president. Of course nothing that Saudi does today would have been possible without the impressive revenue the country rakes in from the 11.2 million barrels of oil it produces daily.

Thought to espouse ultraconservative religious and political ideas – in many Muslim countries the religion and politics often intermingle –the Saudis as such have for decades professed a policy of no changes, no waves, and no public show of interference in other countries’ affairs. At least officially. Unofficially it was another story altogether.

Saudi Arabia has long played a major role in the region’s politics, supporting or opposing factions and politicians from Beirut to Yemen, projecting the conservative beliefs of the Saudi royal family, using the leverage of their oil and their clout within the Arab world and OPEC when needed.

And when politics, and religion failed to produce the desired outcome, as in Syria, they play the terrorist card and try and drag the United States into the conflict, or yet, they were suspected  of “buying stability” from a number of groups and organizations, much as one used to purchase protection from the mob. And it nearly backfired at one point.

But of late the usually discreet Saudis have gone public with their views of the battle taking place in Syria as opposition forces made up of an amalgam of parties, tribes, factions, families, clans and religious mercenaries have descended upon the Syrian front lines, attracted to the action of the civil war now raging in the country much like flies are attracted to sweet and often not so sweet droppings.

It is therefore no accident or sheer coincidence to learn that just this last Sunday the Syrian government, the very ones Saudi Arabia is tying to oust, has declared Saudi as its number one enemy and accuses it of trying to destroy the country by arming jihadists and other rebels fighting to depose President Bashar al-Assad.

The oil-rich Gulf monarchies have sided with the opposition from the start of Syria's conflict in March 2011, with Riyadh leading calls for the fall of Assad.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad told AFP this week that Saudi Arabia was providing unfettered support for "terrorist groups" in Syria, while other nations had reviewed their positions. Last week former CIA chief Michael Hayden said that perhaps the US had backed the wrong side in supporting the rebels and that at the end of the day the regime may be the lesser of two evils.

"I think that all those who supported these terrorist groups have the feeling now that they have made big mistakes," Muqdad said in an interview on Thursday, referring to the rebels seeking to topple Assad.

"The only party who is declaring the full support to the terrorist groups, to al-Qaida, is Saudi Arabia," he said.

Another irony is that the rebels which Saudi Arabia is supporting are the very same ones which it has fought on its home turf after the September 11, 2001 attacks when al-Qaida was actively trying to oust the royal family.

The Syrian minister said that if the world wanted to avoid another September 11, it should stop supporting the rebels.

Earlier this month, Assad's government urged the United Nations to take a stand against Saudi support for Islamist groups whose influence has grown on the battlefield.

"We call on the UN Security Council to take the necessary measures to put an end to the unprecedented actions of the Saudi regime, which is supporting takfiri (Sunni extremist) terrorism tied to Al-Qaida," the foreign ministry said in a message to UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

It was the first time the Syrian government has appealed to the international body to take action against Riyadh.

"Saudi Arabia is not content to merely send weapons and to finance but also mobilizes extremist terrorists and sends them to kill the Syrian people," the Syrian message said.

Saudi Arabia’s relations with Syria have never been the smoothest, with Riyadh taking a very negative view of the Assad regime’s treatment of Sunnis, with whom Saudis identify and regret the manner in which some are often mistreated under the Alawite rule.

Saudi Arabia’s relations with Damascus began to go south soon after the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, who had very close ties with the Saudis.

To date more that 126,000 people have died in the brutal war. But as the war progressed relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia worsened.

Earlier this month a film depicting the Saudi royal family in an unflattering light was screened at the Damascus opera house.

"Al-Qaida didn't come from Mars but from Saudi Arabia, from the Wahhabi, extremist way of thinking," Anzour told AFP.

If Saudi Arabia is being accused of trying dirty tricks on Syria, just wait until the Syrians start launching their tricks on SAUDE Arabia.

Yes, Saudi Arabia is indeed a paradox if there ever was one.  

By. Claude Salhani

Claude Salhani is a political analyst and senior editor at Trend News Agency in Baku, Azerbaijan. You can follow him on Twitter @claudesalhani.com.




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Luís on January 10 2014 said:
    Very good article. The turmoil in North Africa and the Near East are one and sole conflict, fueled by NATO's random support to each side.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News