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19.10.2022 Author: Yuriy Zinin

The Decision of OPEC+, the Anger of the USA and the Reactions of the Media in the Middle East

The enthusiasm of some Americans to punish Saudi Arabia for voting in favor of the OPEC+ decision to cut oil production by 2 million barrels on October 5 in Vienna seems similar to the excitement associated with sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, according to the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

This is one of the opinions from a wave of reactions in the media and expert circles in the Middle East to the OPEC+ verdict and the reaction to it from US politicians, media, and their allies. They point to the threatening campaign against Saudi Arabia, the leader of the cartel, to the fact that some US congressmen have proposed to punish the kingdom by passing a law banning the sale of weapons and equipment to Riyadh. Such an interpretation of the actions of OPEC+, the accusation of intrigue in the markets, is rejected in the media of the region. Several commentators described it as an attempt to politicize the position of the organization’s member countries, to portray them as hostile to the West, and to play with Russia, including in the Ukraine dossier.

            Analysts in the Gulf reject the narrative of US politicians and media who accuse Riyadh of driving up prices, being the “cause of inflation” in America, and making common cause with Russia. The Saudis reject the initiative attributed to them for this decision, recalling that all members of OPEC+ unanimously supported it.

It should be noted that throughout its existence since 1960, the cartel has followed its line, taking into account the realities of the cost and profitability of oil production, as well as current and future needs, in order to achieve a stable balance between supply and demand in world markets.

According to experts, the increase in oil prices is similar to other products. For example, compare the price of the famous Big Mac, which cost 65 cents in the United States in the 1970s and now costs more than $6. This relationship also applies to the price per unit of gasoline.

Unlike others, some countries, first of all the United States, have permanently insisted on filling the world markets with oil flows in order to lower the price: whether it is higher or lower, neglecting the conditions of production, transportation and the whole costly production cycle.

The announced oil production cut reflects OPEC+’s desire to counteract the current high volatility of oil prices. These fluctuations hurt both oil and gas companies, which depend on the stability of the energy market for their operations, and other sectors of the economy.

Another motive for this decision in Vienna, according to the Emirati new outlet Al-Ain Al-Ekhbariya, is the reaction to the disproportionate development of the world economy, the decline in demand for oil. There are growing fears that some major economies will fall into recession next year, in addition, there is a threat of disruption of the supply chain due to Western sanctions against Russia in connection with the events in Ukraine.

The world economy is in the grip of recession on one side and inflation on the other. The crisis in Ukraine has sown concern, led to a deterioration of relations between the Russian Federation and the EU, whose members are dependent on energy sources from Russia, and consequently to a decline in activity in the industrial sector.

According to media reports, the OPEC+ alliance has confirmed the cohesion of its ranks with its election, despite strong pressure from all sides. The members of the alliance have found common ground with Russia, distancing themselves from the latter’s strained relations with the West and from Anglo-Saxon sanctions against Moscow that frustrate the principles of the market mechanism.

A number of observers in the Middle East have denounced the United States as a defender of market freedoms and a critic of Moscow for its alleged manipulation of hydrocarbon exports. At the same time, Washington is cynically cashing in on Europe by selling its liquefied natural gas to Europe at inflated prices while benefiting from an artificially created disruption in Russian gas supplies.

The Western propaganda machine is doing somersaults. Lately, it has been terrifying the world with threats of environmental catastrophe due to carbon dioxide emissions from oil use, calling for its replacement with other “clean sources” as part of the so-called “green agenda.” But now the rhetoric of this machinery has changed overnight: Now, on the contrary, they are pushing to increase the production and supply of this commodity.

In the current situation, the West is unlikely to abandon its goals and calculations, it will blackmail, exacerbate tensions in relations with countries that are repugnant to it, and defend their national interests and the right to fair prices in such an important area as hydrocarbons.

It is obvious that the media confrontation between the two parties in light of the recent decision OPEC+ not only will not stop, but will continue. The West, as history has shown, is capable of a variety of measures to influence and provoke, so the OPEC+ countries must remain on alert.

OPEC+ is saving itself from falling oil prices with its decision, the Egyptian newspaper concluded. It would not be wise for oil producers to sacrifice their advantages for the benefit of consumers under conditions of global economic upheaval. The world must take care of itself to avoid a crisis by relying on joint efforts and cooperation. First and foremost, it is a matter of ending a senseless war that harms everyone.

Yuri Zinin, senior researcher at the Center for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), exclusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook”.

 


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