Socialist Worker

US threats to Middle East oil producers backfire on Bush

Issue No. 2103

Seemingly unabashed by his disaster in Lebanon, George Bush sauntered around the Egyptian resort of Sharm el‑Sheikh for the World Economic Forum on the Middle East demanding that Arab countries “mend their ways”.

Top of his list was the demand that Opec – the cartel of oil producing countries – should hold an emergency session and agree to pump out more oil.

Bush is hopeful that this could reduce the spiralling cost of fuel, which is currently $130 a barrel.

Some experts are warning that oil prices could hit $200 a barrel by the end of the year, creating a panic among US economists who believe that high prices could drag the US economy further into recession.

Fuel prices have risen by 400 percent since Bush launched his “war on terror” in 2001.

So far Saudi Arabia has refused to raise production and much to the fury of the US president, has sided with Iran in agreeing to delay any Opec meeting until September.

On his visit to Saudi Arabia last week, Bush told his allies to “take into account the economic health of their customers who pay these prices”.

Saudi oil minister Ali al‑Nuaimi dismissed Bush’s request saying, “Supply and demand are in balance today. The fundamentals are sound. How much more can we do?”

The Iranians agreed. Their oil minister announced, “I believe there is no need for an emergency Opec meeting. Why should there be this meeting when oil prices go up?”

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