Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Zaki Yamani, the Saudi sheikh who “knelt” the West


If there is one man who went down in history for trying to bring the West (and Israel) to its knees with the power of oil, it is undoubtedly Zaki Yamani. The Saudi sheikh who died today in London at the age of 91.

Yamani may not have belonged to the royal family, but he inextricably linked his name to both the 1967 “Six Day War” (when he tried unsuccessfully to impose an embargo on all countries cooperating with Israel) and The Yom Kippur War and the Great Depression of 1973. In the latter case, it finally achieved its goal, prompting historians and economists to speak of a crisis that marked a turning point in post-war history and its roots. Of all the serious upheavals that Western-style capitalism has experienced since then.

Yamani embodied, in his own way, the wave of nationalism that swept through the Arab and Muslim world in the 1950s and especially the 1960s, bringing to power movements and leaders such as Baath in Syria and Iraq, Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya – even the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. Taking advantage of the power represented by the vast amounts of oil, which was the driving force of Western economies, he wanted to upgrade the role of the Arabs and make Saudi Arabia their leading power.

Indelible seal

That is why in 1960 he starred in the establishment of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the well-known OPEC. For the same reason he worked tirelessly to free his kingdom’s oil industry from suffocating American control – which eventually led to the nationalization of the industry and the founding of the “giant” Saudi Aramco in 1976.

“The time has come. “We are the masters of our own wealth,” said Yamani, “even though he was the one who later tried to negotiate with the United States, but in 1986 he was ousted after the collapse of black prices.” gold “in international markets.

Even up to that point, however, Yamani was not loved by all and had fanatical enemies – both personally and because of the position of power he held.

In 1975, for this reason, along with other oil ministers, he was abducted during an OPEC meeting in Vienna by the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal, who announced that he had been sentenced to death for betraying the Palestinians. Months later, too, while on King Faisal’s side in Riyadh welcoming a visiting delegation, a disgruntled Saudi prince pulled out a revolver and killed the king.

Undoubtedly, Yamani wrote history not only in Saudi Arabia, but all over the world.

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