A World Agreement on Oil?
This paper addresses ways to cope with potential instability in the world oil market, with a view to whether action by the L20 can do anything about it. It is often said that the major geographical source of oil, the "Middle East," is a highly turbulent and politically unstable area. In fact, there has been remarkable political stability in the region, at least as measured by the longevity of its political leaders and key decision-makers. King Hussein of Jordan came to the throne in 1952, and Asad became president of Syria in 1972. Both have been replaced smoothly in the last few years by their sons. Rulers of Libya, Oman, and the UAE have been around for over 30 years. Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq in 1979 and was a key decision-maker before then; his rule was ended by the United States in 2003. Mubarak became president of Egypt after Sadat's assassination in 1981, and was just re-elected. Fahd became king of Saudi Arabia in 1982, but as Crown Prince he had been effective ruler for seven years before then; the pattern was repeated when Abdullah became king on Fahd's death in 2005, after about a decade as effective ruler as Crown Prince. Even the Iranian revolution and its firmly ensconced clerical regime are now 26 years years old. Only Lebanon and the Palestinians have experienced continual turbulence during the past three decades, and neither is directly concerned with production of oil.