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Det er blitt standard å hevde at USA holder det saudiarabiske kongedømmet oppe. Men i virkeligheten er det USA som er den svake part. USA er mer avhengig av saudiarabisk olje enn noensinne.

…like it or not, the United States is more dependent than ever on Saudi Arabia.

«The Saudis are in a great position today,» said Jean-François Seznec, a professor at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute. «We cannot be enemies with everybody. We need their oil desperately.»

Indeed, the alternatives to Saudi Arabia are fewer today than seemed to be the case just three years ago. Predictions of a boom in Iraqi oil have been proved wrong; Iran, OPEC’s second-largest oil producer, is locked on a collision course with the West; Venezuela is following an erratic path; and Russia’s commitment to market reforms and foreign investments seems increasingly unreliable.

All this has added to Saudi Arabia’s already impressive clout. What is more, other powers – 2_kommentarly from Asia – seek greater access to its resources and have been increasingly courting the Saudis. «They can play the United States against other buyers, like China,» Mr. Seznec said. «And why wouldn’t they?»

911 var en brutal oppvåkning for amerikanerne, og forholdet vil aldri bli det samme igjen. Amerikanerne trakk soldatene ut av Saudi-Arabia og la hovedkvarteret i regionen til Qatar. Man trodde endatil at Iraks produksjon ville rokke ved Saudia-Arabias posisjon.

In some hawkish circles in Washington, it was thought that a free Iraq would eventually undercut OPEC’s power and marginalize Saudi Arabia.

«All the countries we thought we could diversify our production away from Saudi Arabia haven’t lived up to our expectations,» said Amy Myers Jaffe, the associate director of Rice University’s energy program in Houston. «We are definitely more dependent on the Saudis, absolutely, than we were before 9/11.»

Questions still surround Saudi Arabia, fanning doubt over the country’s ability to meet the world’s growing demand for oil. These revolve around the true extent of its huge oil reserves, the rate at which its fields are depleting, and the output at Ghawar, the world’s largest oil field, which accounts for half the nation’s output.

Faktisk er avhengigheten av olje en av de største hemskoer for arbeidet med å demokratisere Midtøsten. Det er klare grenser for hvor langt USA kan gå i forhold til Saudi-Arabia.

Slik sett hersker fortsatt en del av den gamle realpolitikken, men det er ut fra tvingende nødvendighet. Olje-avhengigheten truer Vestens selvstendighet og handlefrihet.

For Norge er det verdt å merke seg at Russland får så dårlig karakter for sitt investorklima. De motforestillingene slipper nesten ikke til i Norge.

Why America Is More Dependent Than Ever on Saudi Arabia