In the vast arid landscapes of Saudi Arabia, a metamorphosis is occurring. A country less than 100 years old is having a diverse effect on life around the world. The history of country is full of struggle and turmoil, two years before the country was officially founded an American geologist found oil reserves within the territory.
It was not until after the War had ended, that drilling would commence. The financial benefits to the country would prove a catalyst in building industry and infrastructure through the 1960's and 70's.
Saudi Arabia, is what is described as an absolute monarchy. Meaning they are ruled by royal line. Only in 1992, what is declared that the Monarchs' would be sully to Islamic Law.
In 1973 Saudi Arabia was producing such a vast amount of oil, they were able to put severe political pressure on America. During the Yom Kippur war, America made the decision to resupply Israel with arms. This led to an oil embargo by OAPEC, (organisation of arab petroleum exporting countries + Egypt, Syria and Tunisia) the embargo lasted about 5 months but was severe enough to change the world.
The resultant effect was OPEC members independently decided to use this leverage to boost their own incomes by adjusting the price of world oil. Today OPEC members produce about 42% of crude oil and trade about 58% of it. Saudi Arabia possesses about 25% of world petroleum reserves and 20% of oil.
Recent events such as the 9/11 incident, (where supposedly 15 of 19 hijackers where Saudi)
increased American support for Israel, the war on terror and the declaration that America will look to produce more resources at home have put a great strain on relations between the two countries.
Perhaps more importantly the emergence of India and China through this global recession. China is expected to take over as the worlds largest consumer of oil soon, unlike America they have a stand offish approach in acquiring it too. China are unlikely to provoke the Muslim world and if anything will become increasing trade partners (like wise India). Chinese influence in the area is highlighted dare i say it by the amount of new chinese restaurants opening in major cities. Indian influence is highlighted by the worlds' biggest oil refinery being build with Saudi money just on the Pakistan border.
Increased trade with China will be at the detriment of the US, who rely increasingly heavily on Chinese imports. If they can buy the quality refined stuff cheaper from India or Saudi Arabia cheaper, they will.
The recent Libyan crisis has had a big affect on oil. Libya produce some of the best grade oil in the world called extra light at 0.07 carbon emissions, this stuff is gold dust. The Saudi state owned company Aramco is now knocking out replacements at 0.5 still classified extra light.
Perhaps a bigger concern for Saudi Arabia is the on going division between Sh-ia and Sunni muslims. After deploying troops in Bahrain they have invoked the wrath of the Iranian government. An uprising within Saudi Arabia could halt oil production and send the whole world into turmoil.
Water is one thing, Saffron quite another but oil is black and dirty.