Todd Bennington | Kingdom Exploration Media
Dr. Cyril Widdershoven writes in a recent article at Oilprice.com that the liberalizing reforms and anti-corruption push of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), as well as potential Arab conflict with Iran and its proxies such as Hezbollah, may very well cause a dramatic and sustained increase in oil prices. That is certainly true, but at what cost?
Widdershoven is dismissive of investors around the world who have expressed fears that MBS has “overplayed his hand, causing instability in the country and the region” through his arrest of various prominent Saudi royals and businessmen. Widdershoven goes on to laud MBS for “being unafraid to make dramatic changes to outdated social structures within the kingdom.”
It seems more likely that investors’ fears are well-founded. MBS has made far more enemies than friends among the Saudi establishment through his brash moves. Neither is it clear that Saudi society is destined to keep moving along a trajectory of Western-style reform without significant pushback.
MBS also represents a serious potential liability for the United States. With U.S. support first given by the Obama administration, the Saudis are currently presiding over a blockade of the impoverished country of Yemen in an effort to punish the Houthi rebels who have taken control of much of that country. But, of course, it’s children, the elderly, and the infirm who are bearing the brunt of the imposed shortage of food and medical supplies, and the situation is developing into a politically embarrassing humanitarian disaster.
Likewise, with less than half the population of Iran, the Saudis would likely need U.S. backing to prevail in any prolonged military engagement. After Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, it’s questionable whether at this juncture that’s something that the U.S. would be willing to commit itself to.
Widdershoven’s article can be found at: https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/Saudi-Corruption-Crackdown-Could-Permanently-Boost-Oil-Prices.html