September 1991

Mazhar Al-Shereidah

The international system is changing so rapidly that it is difficult to adapt to the new realities. Just when everyone thought that there could be no humiliation worse than that which the Arab World in general and Iraq in particular were submitted to, the world has been surprised by the obedience and complacency shown by Gorbachov-Yeltsin to Prime Minister Major regarding such vital questions as strategic arms, defence expenditure, and the dismemberment of the USSR through the recognition of the Baltic Republics as independent states.

Meanwhile, the EC is sending massive food supplies as relief to the population of the one-time superpower that so many feared.

It is in these circumstances that OPEC is just about to celebrate its 31st Anniversary,so it is most relevant to try and understand both the Organization's objectives and its possibilities in a realistic way.

Regardless of what has been stated publicly recently by some of the leaders of its Member Countries, nobody can be fooled into forgetting that for more than a quarter of a century OPEC was be praised by some of its very same leaders as being the most capable and outstanding defender of the Third World’s rights.
It was only possible to raise the notions of “Third World”, “Non-Alignment”, and the search for a “New World Economic Order” in a world situation characterized by a United Nations where two blocs antagonized each other on almost every issue. Since the ‘fifties the Chinese-Soviet alliance, and later since the ‘sixties the Soviet Bloc, served as a shield allowing more than one hundred weak countries to raise their voices individually or collectively to demand their rights.
Although most of these developing countries shared none of the principles and ideology of Marxist-Leninism and were in their domestic, economic, and political life profoundly anti-communist, and did not even have good relations with Moscow, they found the US-USSR antagonism beneficial for their populist demagogy against multinational firms and “imperialism”.
Many of the OPEC countries nationalized the multinacional oil companies in the ‘seventies and even prohibited foreign banks from operating in their respective territories.
In the West, for the last twenty years or so, OPEC has been identified as an enemy: a ruthless, greedy and selfish group of rich countries, mainly Arabs, that exploit Western civilized societies through an irresponsible price policy, and who endanger those countries’ safety and security by capricious and discriminating supply practices.
Inflation, unemployment, recession, and of course increases in gasoline prices and energy bills were all attributed to an evil OPEC.
Now, that real - or imaginary - psychological protective force, the USSR, does not exist any more. Far from being capable of preventing the liberalisation of Eastern Europe, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, the desmemberment of the Warsaw Pact, it cannot even maintain its own ideology and single party system, nor can it sustain its unity in territorial and sovereignty terms. The USSR is falling apart.
In the Gulf region, definitely the richest on earth in oil the wills and wishes of an all-mighty Anglo-Saxon alliance is the law.
Now that the Washington-London axis is the real determinator of oil decisions in the six GCC countries and holds the keys to Iraq's oil future in its hands as well, the question is: why does OPEC still exist? That is to say, if OPEC where to have any objective that did not suit those of the USA and the UK or fit in with the international oil industry’s strategy it would long ago have been obliged to follow the example of the Warsaw Pact.
Just recently in Moscow a cameraman filmed an innocent black poodle lifting its leg and relieving itself over a white statue of Lenin thrown onto the grass just in front of the CPSU while an enthusiastic rock group went into ecstasy.
It is not that Viennese dogs are more polite than those of Moscow, but because their owners in Vienna share the opinion of the G7 and most importantly that of Bush-Major, that is to say: Lenin did harm, OPEC didn't, so OPEC is there to stay.
Even Russia could now join OPEC and thus the market would gain stability and investors could move more confidently.
So dogs are not expected at Oberedonaustrasse 93 where the celebration is due on September 14th , the feast can continue!

This entry was posted on 17 de febrero de 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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