An Energy Pearl Harbor?

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

Gal Luft contends that the recent attack on a Saudi oil facility was an attempt at An Energy Pearl Harbor:

Osama bin Laden’s strategy is based on the conviction that the way to bring down a superpower is to weaken its economy. We ‘bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw [from Afghanistan] in defeat,’ bin Laden boasted in his October 2004 videotape. ‘We are continuing in the same policy to make America bleed profusely to the point of bankruptcy.’ His logic, feasibility aside, is simple: Bring the United States to a point where it can no longer afford to preserve both its military and economic dominance. Then, as the United States loses standing in the Middle East, the jihadists can gain ground and topple regimes they view as corrupt and illegitimate, while defeating other infidels who inhabit the land of Islam.

Striking oil, which jihadists call ‘the provision line and the feeding to the artery of the life of the crusader’s nation,’ is relatively easy and effective. Terrorists no longer need to come to the United States to wreak havoc here. They can hit our energy supply near the source, where they enjoy strong support on the ground.

Politically motivated attacks on oil pipelines in Iraq have kept more than 1 million barrels per day off the global oil market. Had this oil been in the market, the price per barrel would have been $10 to $15 lower, according to most energy analysts. For the United States, an importer of more than 11 million barrels a day, the terrorist premium alone costs $40 billion to $60 billion a year.

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