OPEC Enacted an Oil Embargo in Response to US Aid to Israel in the Yom Kippur War. Was it a Planned Crisis to Raise Oil Prices by Henry Kissinger?

The fake US Oil Crisis?: The OPEC oil embargo was a response to American involvement in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Six days after Egypt and Syria launched a surprise military campaign against Israel to regain territories lost in the June 1967 Six-Day War, the US supplied Israel with arms. In response to this, OAPEC announced an oil embargo against Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the US. Kissinger, knowing at least 2 days prior aided by the NSA (also discussed in May Bilderberg meeting), withheld the info from Nixon and Israel as part of a scheme to increase oil prices.

Some “peak oil” writers have opined that the crisis of 1972-73 was a kind of “rehearsal” for what is supposedly in our very near future. It is startling to consider, in light of this, the evidence that that crisis was likely a completely contrived affair.

In “A Century of War — Anglo American Oil Politics and the New World Order” (1992), petroleum industry expert and economist F. William Engdahl presents evidence that the 1973 OPEC “oil shock” and the accompanying oil “shortage” were secretly planned by the highest levels of the US and British elites, with Henry Kissinger playing a key role:

Corroboration of Engdahl’s account was provided a few years ago by Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, who was Saudi Arabia’s OPEC minister at the time:

I am 100 per cent sure that the Americans were behind the increase in the price of oil. The oil companies were in in real trouble at that time, they had borrowed a lot of money and they needed a high oil price to save them.”  He says he was convinced of this by the attitude of the Shah of Iran, who in one crucial day in 1974 moved from the Saudi view, that a hike would be dangerous to Opec because it would alienate the US, to advocating higher prices.

“King Faisal sent me to the Shah of Iran, who said: ‘Why are you against the increase in the price of oil? That is what they want? Ask Henry Kissinger – he is the one who wants a higher price’.”

Yamani contends that proof of his long-held belief has recently emerged in the minutes of a secret meeting on a Swedish island, where UK and US officials determined to orchestrate a 400 percent increase in the oil price.

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Interview w/William Engdahl (Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order)

Total NYMEX open interest in crude is 1.4 m contracts or about 1.4 billion barrels of crude. Daily volume of crude traded on NYMEX is over 1 billion barrels per day. Total daily global demand is only 83 million barrels per day. The amount traded on one single exchange is more than 10 times total daily consumption. It’s a giant casino with prices being driven up by speculators and consumers having to pay more and more.“ 

“I wrote back in the 2008 period, when oil briefly spiked-up to $ 147 per barrel and Goldman Sachs was issuing client-advisories that it was going quickly to $ 200, and when JP Morgan was advising the Chinese government that China ‘buy all the physical crude you can get your hands on because it is going to $ 200,‘ at that point I wrote that roughly 60-70% of the price of oil was pure speculation, manipulated by the GSCI, the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index. It’s a perfect scenario that they have created on Wall Street to control the oil price irrespective of supply and demand. I would just add that the crucial ingredient these days is not the NYMEX for the global oil price benchmark, but the ICE Futures in London.

Why do I say that? Because the ICE Futures is a daughter company of the International Commodity Exchange of Atlanta in Georgia, owned by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase etc. the big oil banks that benefit enormously from the inside. There is absolutely no serious regulation of the ICE Futures. The British keep their hands off it, and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the CFTC, since 2006 under the “Commodity Modernization Act of 2000“ allows ICE Futures to trade energy futures without disclosure to CFTC in the U.S. market through London. So, in fact, it has deregulated and taken away from any government supervisory role the entire trade in energy futures, especially oil.

This is a rigged game. All you need now is a plausible event like this madman Gaddafi going berserk, or even a CNN perception of such, to then kick-off a snowball effect in the futures markets. These games are not sustainable over a ten year time, of course. Eventually it has to come back to supply and demand on some level, but the reality is that this is pure price and perception manipulation right now.

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With the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War on October 6, 1973, Kissinger “centered control of the crisis in his own hands.” After the Israelis informed the White House that the attack on them had taken place, Kissinger did not consult Nixon or even inform him on anything for three hours, who was at his retreat in Florida. After talking to Nixon hours later, Kissinger told him that, “we are on top of it here,” and “the president left matters in Kissinger’s hands.” Alexander Haig, Kissinger’s former second in command in the National Security Council, then Chief of Staff to Nixon, was with the President on that morning. Haig told Kissinger “that Nixon was considering returning to Washington, [but] Kissinger discouraged it—part of a recurring pattern to keep Nixon out of the process.” For three days, it was Kissinger who “oversaw the diplomatic exchanges with the Israelis and Soviets about the war. Israeli prime minister Golda Meir’s requests for military supplies, which were beginning to run low, came not to Nixon but to Kissinger.” On October 11, the British Prime Minister called asking to speak to Nixon, to which Kissinger responded, “Can we tell them no? When I talked to the President he was loaded,” but the British were told, “the prime minister could speak to Kissinger.”

On October 12, the major American oil companies sent a letter to Nixon suggesting the Arab countries “should receive some price increase,” and Nixon, following Kissinger’s advice, sent arms to Israel, which precipitated the Arab OPEC countries to announce a 70% increase in the price of oil on October 16th, and announce an oil embargo against the US on the 17th.[42]

The Bilderberg meeting five months prior involved participants planning “how to manage the about-to-be-created flood of oil dollars.” At the meeting, an OPEC Middle East oil revenue rise of over 400% was predicted. A Bilderberg document from the meeting stated that, “The task of improving relations between energy importing countries should begin with consultations between Europe, the US and Japan. These three regions, which represented about 60 per cent of world energy consumption, accounted for an even greater proportion of world trade in energy products, as they absorbed 80 per cent of world energy exports.” The same document also stated that “an energy crisis or an increase in energy costs could irremediably jeopardize the economic expansion of developing countries which had no resources of their own,” and the “misuse or inadequate control of the financial resources of the oil producing countries could completely disorganize and undermine the world monetary system.”As economist F. William Engdahl noted in his book, A Century of War, “One enormous consequence of the ensuing 400 per cent rise in OPEC oil prices was that investments of hundreds of millions of dollars by British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell [both present at Bilderberg] and other Anglo-American petroleum concerns in the risky North Sea could produce oil at a profit,” as “the profitability of these new North Sea oilfields was not at all secure until after the OPEC price rises.”[44] In 2001, the former Saudi representative to OPEC, Sheik Ahmed Yamani, said, “’I am 100 per cent sure that the Americans were behind the increase in the price of oil. The oil companies were in real trouble at that time, they had borrowed a lot of money and they needed a high oil price to save them.” When he was sent by King Faisal to the Shah of Iran in 1974, the Shah said that it was Henry Kissinger who wanted a higher price for oil.

An article in Foreign Policy, the journal published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, concluded from exhaustive research, that, “Since 1971, the United States has encouraged Middle East oil-producing states to raise the price of oil and keep it up.” This conclusion was based upon State Department documents, congressional testimony and interviews with former policy-makers.[46] At the Eighth Petroleum Congress of the League of Arab States (Arab League) in 1972, James Akins, head of the fuel and energy section of the State Department, gave a speech in which he said that oil prices were “expected to go up sharply due to lack of short-term alternatives to Arab oil,” and that this was, “an unavoidable trend.” A Western observer at the meeting said Akins’ speech was essentially, “advocating that Arabs raise the price of oil to $5 per barrel.” The oil industry itself was also becoming more unified in their position. The National Petroleum Council (NPC), “a government advisory body representing oil industry interests, waited until Nixon was safely re-elected before publishing a voluminous series of studies calling for a doubling of U.S. oil and gas prices.”[47]

The summer before the Yom Kippur War, in 1973, James Akins was made U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He also happened to be a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[48] Saudi Arabian minister for petroleum and representative to OPEC, Sheik Ahmed Yamani, stated in February of 1973, that, “it is in the interests of the oil companies that prices be raised,” as “their profits are collected from the production stage.” It was also in the interests of the US, as OPEC will have a massive increase in revenues to be invested, likely in the US, itself.[49]

The oil companies themselves were also fearful of having their business facilities in OPEC countries nationalized, so they “were anxious to engage OPEC countries in the oil business in the United States, in order to give them an interest in maintaining the status quo.” Weeks before war broke out, the National Security Council, headed by Kissinger, issued a statement saying that military intervention in the event of a war in the Middle East was “ruled out of order.”[50]

U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, James Akins, later testified in congress on the fact that when, in 1975, the Saudis went to Iran to try to get the Shah to roll back the price of oil, they were told that Kissinger told the Iranians that, “the United States understood Iran’s desire for higher oil prices.”[51] Akins was removed from Saudi Arabia in 1975, “following policy disputes with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.”[52]

The OPEC oil price increases resulted in the “removal of some withholding taxes on foreign investment” in the United States, “unchecked arms sales, which cannot be handled without U.S. support personnel, to Iran and Saudi Arabia,” as well as an “attempt to suppress publication of data on volume of OPEC funds on deposit with U.S. banks.”[53] Ultimately, the price increases “would be of competitive advantage to the United States because the economic damage would be greater to Europe and Japan.” Interestingly, “Programs for sopping up petrodollars have themselves become justifications for the continued flow of U.S. and foreign funds to pay for higher priced oil. In fact, a lobby of investors, businessmen, and exporters [was] growing in the United States to favor giving the OPEC countries their way.” Outside the United States, it is “widely believed” that the high-priced oil policy was aimed at hurting Europe, Japan, and the developing world.[54] There was also “input from the oil industry” which went “into the formulation of U.S. international oil policy.”[55]

In 1974, when a White House official suggested to the Treasury to force OPEC to lower the price of oil, his idea was swept under, and he later stated that, “It was the banking leaders who swept aside this advice and pressed for a ‘recycling’ program to accommodate to higher oil prices.” In 1975, a Wall Street investment banker was sent to Saudi Arabia to be the main investment adviser to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), and “he was to guide the Saudi petrodollar investments to the correct banks, naturally in London and New York.”[56]

In 1974, another OPEC oil price increase of more than 100 percent was undertaken, following a meeting in Tehran, Iran. This initiative was undertaken by the Shah of Iran, who just months before was opposed to the earlier price increases. Sheikh Yamani, the Saudi oil minister, was sent to meet with the Shah of Iran following his surprise decision to raise prices, as Yamani was sent by Saudi King Faisal, who was worried that higher prices would alienate the US, to which the Shah said to Yamani, “Why are you against the increase in the price of oil? That is what they want? Ask Henry Kissinger – he is the one who wants a higher price.”[57]

As Peter Gowan stated in The Globalization Gamble, “the oil price rises were the result of US influence on the oil states and they were arranged in part as an exercise in economic statecraft directed against America’s ‘allies’ in Western Europe and Japan. And another dimension of the Nixon administration’s policy on oil price rises was to give a new role, through them, to the US private banks in international financial relations.” He explained that the Nixon administration was pursuing a higher oil price policy two years before the Yom Kippur War, and “as early as 1972 the Nixon administration planned for the US private banks to recycle the petrodollars when OPEC finally did take US advice and jack up oil prices.”[58] Ultimately, the price rises had devastating impacts on Western Europe and Japan, which were quickly growing economies, but which were heavily dependent upon Middle eastern oil. This is an example of how the US, while championing a liberal international economic order, acted in a mercantilist fashion, depriving competitors through improving its own power and influence.

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After the sanctions, the price of gasoline increased by 37 percent. But more than that, its supply became severely limited. Rationing and long lines for gas were common at stations. Thievery abounded; stations began locking their pumps and drivers began sealing their gas caps. In the United States, the retail price of a gallon of gasoline rose from a national average of 38.5 cents in May 1973 to 55.1 cents in June 1974. President Richard M. Nixon requested gasoline stations to voluntarily not sell gasoline on Saturday nights or Sundays — 90% of owners complied, which resulted in the now-infamous gas lines on weekdays.

The following color photo gallery captures scenes from the crisis courtesy of the U.S. National Archive’s Documerica project.

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