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Political Science
POLI 341
Julie Norman

Feb 7, 2013 POLI 341 Oil Boom - Oil was a factor to some degree in Western interests, mostly for Britain - Oil production doesn’t become a major player until the late 50’s - Saudi Arabia and Iran as highest producers o Both have different political and policy interests though OPEC - Established in 1960 with just 5 founding members (still the big producers we still now – Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela) o Not a regional organization; not isolated to middle east - Why did these states have incentive for creating OPEC at this time? o Served as an economic cartel o Seek sovereignty over resources and moderate production & prices o Most of production before this had been regulated by external actors  7 sisters  7 major oil producers (Gulf, Texaco, Shell, Esso, etc)  Dominated by middle east and Arab states with a global influence - Now includes: Algeria, Libya, Qatar, UAE, Ecuador o The largest oil capacity (65%) are still within the Middle East o Middle East production is less than its capacity  Necessity for states to check themselves  OPEC does this and states to check each other - Coordinates oil production, policies and prices o Economic cartel o Oil not a competitive industry - How political is oil re: state policy? o 1973 Oil embargo after Yom-Kippur war where you did see the oil states as a whole limit the production and cause a spike in prices o This was not nearly to the extent that it could have been. Saudi Arabia was very cautious with this  didn’t want to cut off the world supply to oil, it was merely used as a bargaining chip but not much of a political tool o This is the furthest oil has gone to have been used as a political tool - It is important to recognize where oil is important, but also where it is limited in being a political tool or driver Gulf States and the GCC - Established in 1981 - Rationale for creation? o Economic integration o Security alliance/balance-of-threat theory  Protection from external threat vs. domestic unrest - It has evolved to be a unit for economic cooperation, whereas when it was first established it seemed to be more of a security alliance against Iran - Uprisings in Bahrain o Largely because of GCC ties, Saudi Arabia has been active in assisting the Bahrain government and trying to maintain the status quo for GCC states - Changes in Gulf States? o S. Arabia  slow, notable reforms happening internally. o Bahrain  unrest and uprisings o Qatar  changing as actor, new media base (host of Al Jazeera), active in the Arab league with regards to Syria, instrumental in facilitating Hamas relations. Using leverage from the GCC strength to position itself at this time. Inter-Arab Relations Oil Rich: - New states (independence in early 70’s) - Small states - Monarchies (don’t need legitimacy because of social dependency on rent) - Religious regime - Allocation/Rentier Oil Poor: - Historic states - Large states - Republics - Secular regime - Pro
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