The Guardian discusses our latest report "Deploying the Saudi Oil Weapon".
"Neil Barnett of the Centre for Policy Studies says there is a way of doing this: persuade Saudi Arabia to do the dirty work.
There is a precedent. Angered by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the Saudis turned on the oil taps, driving down the global price of crude until it reached $20 a barrel (in today's prices) in the mid-1980s. It would take a much smaller drop in the cost of oil – from $107 a barrel currently to somewhere south of $90 a barrel – to cause Russia severe financial and economic damage.
Saudi Arabia is the only producer with the potential to drive down prices in this way and, with much deeper pockets than the Russians, could afford to do so. Barnett believes the Saudis might be up for such a move – which would also boost global growth – in order to punish Putin over his support for the Assad regime in Syria. Has Washington floated this idea with Riyadh? It would be a surprise if it hasn't."
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