Yamani: Kissinger wanted 1973 oil price hike not OPEC

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Mazhar Al-Shereidah

It is very enlightening to hear what Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani had to say about the 1973 hiking of oil prices and just who was making the decisions.

According to The Observer in January 2001, “He believes that increasing the price could worsen the economic situation in the US – with knock-on effects in the Far East and Europe – to the long-term detriment of producers, as industrialized nations seek other sources of oil, and of power.

In this, he has remained consistent for 30 years: in the Seventies he was not persuaded of the benefits to OPEC of hiking crude prices by the 400 per cent that came about in 1973. The importance of North Sea oil and the fall in OPEC’s contribution to global production, from 70 per cent to less than 30 per cent, are testimony to his wisdom.

His voice quickens further when he reminisces about the era of great oil diplomacy in the seventies and his contemporary, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
At this point he makes an extraordinary claim:

“I am 100 per cent sure that the Americans were behind the increase in the price of oil. The oil companies were in in real trouble at that time, they had borrowed a lot of money and they needed a high oil price to save them.”

He says he was convinced of this by the attitude of the Shah of Iran, who in one crucial day in 1974 moved from the Saudi view, that a hike would be dangerous to OPEC because it would alienate the US, to advocate higher prices.

“King Faisal sent me to the Shah of Iran, who said: ‘Why are you against the increase in the price of oil? That is what they want? Ask Henry Kissinger – he is the one who wants a higher price’.”

Yamani contends that proof of his long-held belief has recently emerged in the minutes of a secret meeting on a Swedish island, where UK and US officials determined to orchestrate a 400 per cent increase in the oil price.” (1)

In May 1973, with the dramatic fall of the dollar still vivid, a group of 84 of the world’s top financial and political insiders met at Saltsjöbaden, Sweden, the secluded island resort of the Swedish Wallenberg banking family. This gathering of Prince Bernhard’s Bilderberg group heard an American participant, Walter Levy, outline a ‘scenario’ for an imminent 400 per cent increase in OPEC petroleum revenues.

The purpose of the secret Saltsjöbaden meeting was not to prevent the expected oil price shock, but rather to plan how to manage the about-to-be created flood of oil dollars, a process US Secretary of State Kissinger later called ‘recycling the petrodollar flows.’


(1) “Saudi dove in the oil slick”. The Observer, 14th January 2001.
(2) ENGDAHL, W. (1992) “A Century of War”. London, page 130

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