Former Saudi Oil Minister Sheikh Zaki Yamani, the “face” of the 1973 oil embargo that brought the West to its knees, has died in London at the age of 91, according to a report in the Saudi newspaper Okaz today.
Yamani, who did not belong to the Sudanese royal family but had been ousted by King Faisal, embodied the rise of Arab oil power. In 1975, along with other oil ministers, he was abducted during an OPEC meeting in Vienna by the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal.
Months later, Yamani was on King Faisal’s side in Riyadh welcoming a visiting delegation when a disgruntled Saudi prince pulled out a revolver and killed the king.
Known for his elegant manners and beard that had become something of a trademark, Yamani was a global celebrity in the 1970s and during the inflationary “oil shocks”, as he managed the country’s oil affairs for 24 years. is the largest oil exporter in the world.
His role ended with his sudden expulsion in 1986, after a costly attempt to boost crude prices, a failed strategy that overshadowed Saudi oil policy.
Yamani will be buried in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Okaz added.
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