Title: Oil and Policy in the Arabic Gulf. (1989-1997)

Fahad M Alsultan

Abstract


Security and stability in the Arabic Gulf region are essential for the whole world. Purely, because two thirds of world crude oil reserves are located in the region. Saudi Arabia and Iran are the biggest and the most influential countries in the region. Currently, Saudi Arabia, the World largest oil producer, supplies the world with approximately 15% of its oil needs and its share in world supply is increasing. Therefore, it is the main OPEC member. Iran is one of OPEC key members and one of the world main oil and gas producer. Hence, it is critical to investigate how OPEC affect the two countries relations and ultimately affect the Arabic Gulf policy at large.

Regional Competition, Ideology, Iran Nuclear Program, Terrorism and OPEC (Oil) are among the key factors that affect the Arabic Gulf policy and the two countries relations. This paper is to study why and how oil has affected the two countries bilateral relations and eventually had an impact on the Gulf Policy.

The paper will begin with a quick review of the Gulf region policy and then it will delve into the two countries competition over oil price prior to 1989. It will then highlight the major crises in the 1990s, analysing their impact on oil price and the reaction of Riyadh and Tehran. At the end, the paper could conclude that the oil issue is likely to appear when there is a political disagreement between the main players in the Gulf. However, at a time of accommodation between the two countries, disagreement on oil price is less likely to rise.


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