Tuesday, March 14, 2017

From the Damned If You Do and Damned If You Don't Files

Saudi Arabia's effort to bankrupt American oil producers is failing. Will this really help defund jihadis?

I don't know whether Saudi motives for reducing oil prices prioritized harming Iran or American frackers, but the latter target is doing okay. So Saudi Arabia is losing money:

The twilight of Saudi oil dominance has arrived, a point underscored by the announcement of a giant onshore oil find in Alaska. ...

[The] frackers may have bankrupted the Sunni Jihad. But in doing so, the oilmen have created a potential power vacuum even bigger than which resulted from the Arab Spring. Technology often creates new power relationships which officials only belatedly respond to. The consequences of American oil power have not yet been fully assimilated by the political system. Turmoil in the Kingdom and the Gulf might trigger a tragedy that would make events in Syria and Libya seem trivial by comparison. [emphasis added]

There could very well be turmoil in Saudi Arabia as the government scales back spending to cope with a drop in income. But I don't think that hurts the jihad. Bankrolling jihadis isn't nearly as expensive as paying for a massive and generous welfare state and advanced weapons.

And the jihadi bankrolling comes from private individuals rather than the state. Yes, Saudi Arabia subsidizes the most aggressive form of Islam around the world. But that is cheap by comparison, too.

And if government payments to individuals are cut back, pointing to support for "pure" Islam abroad might be the natural response of the government to retain legitimacy.

Further, as I've asked before, if Islamists rail against the West for "stealing" Arab oil, what will the Islamists do when the West buys less of that oil?

Buy their oil and we're hated. Stop buying their oil and we'll be hated. Oil is not the reason jihadis hate us. As I ask repeatedly, what doesn't anger jihadis?