Financial rationality made OPEC the scapegoat

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Mazhar Al-Shereidah

People are perhaps more prepared to associate conspiracy with the mystery of the Orient rather than with the rationality of the West. After all, be it the Seven Veils, Salome, John the Baptist, or Cleopatra, Sinbad, Aladdin, the Wondelamp, Ali Baba, Thousand and One Nights, Scheherazade, the Sheikh, Rudolph Valentino, or Casablanca… the West has little to offer but facts.

Take for instance the Orient Express, the Berlin-Baghdad-Basrah (BBB) railway. This was designed by Germany to have access to the Gulf. From there, the maritime route to India was short. It would also have offered Berlin a say in whatever future of Eurasia and Afghanistan. London, Moscow, and Paris could not tolerate such a Prussian intermission in what they considered as a vast territory under their de facto rule. Not even President Wilson was ready to watch passively Germany’s penetration in this Drang nach Osten. There was too much at stake.

With time, the pound sterling had to cede and the dollar became king, but not for too long. By 1970 it became clear that Washington had overestimated its financial power.

The fact that in OPEC some were aware that it was not in their interest to continue with the US dollar as the only currency on which to base the price of their oil sales, would have rocked the dollar’s credibility and ended its stability.

Something BIG had to be done. A conspiracy. But a scapegoat was needed: OPEC.

Public opinion still believes that OPEC is an Arab Club; and that Iran is an Arab country; Venezuela’s role as the most active player in that organization’s formation is ignored.

Thus, if prices soar irrationally, it is attributed to greedy Arabs who hate Westerners, their values and their heritage. Thus, let us encourage people to believe that it is OPEC that originated hostility. A revolution by OPEC that was, and still is, music to populist leaders who reinforce their legitimacy under the slogan of combating Empires.

The stage was set, and puppets -mainly the Sha – were used, and papers still have “history” for its innocent victims.

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