Saudi Crown Prince Amir Mohammed Bin Salman has, during an interview with US TV channel CBS, warned that unless the world's nations unite against Iran, oil prices will go unimaginably high. All the same, he went on to say that a political and peaceful solution to the issue was better than a military one. Following a drone attack allegedly by Yemen-based Houthis, which caused huge losses to the oil processing facility in Abqaiq, Saudi's national oil entity, Aramco had to slash oil production to nearly half resulting in a sudden and steep rise in global oil prices.
The initial shortfall in Saudi's oil production as a result of the drone attack was by 5.7 million barrels per day. By last Thursday Saudi was able to restore full level production, but in spite of that the oil price rise has been continuing globally. Although the finger of blame is pointed at the exploitation by oil companies, by past experience the worse the political situation gets, the greater the possibility of rise in oil prices. It is not the first time that turbulence and instability in West Asia - that supplies 30 per cent of the world's crude oil - is creating crisis in the oil market. It is too early to forget the previous instances of the same phenomenon during the Iraq attack on Iran, the later Kuwait annexation by Iraq followed by Nato's onslaught on Iraq and the second Gulf war all of which had caused steep rise in crude prices.
And now Saudi Crown prince gives the warning that unless there are strong and firm steps to stop Iran, the problem will worsen further and oil supply will be interrupted leading to another rise in oil price - words by all means to be heeded seriously by the UN and the big powers.
West Asia, that has been scene to myriad wars and occupation unfortunately does not look destined for peace and stability but heading to a scenario of war, bloody conflicts and mutual destruction. Neither the UN nor other international bodies are able to even mitigate the intensity of its extent and degree. There is also the fact that it is the vested interests of imperialist-zionist forces and political policies borne out of them that defeat all peace efforts.
There is no gainsaying the fact that behind the confrontation between Iran and its neighbours too is the interference or role of these. If inernational platforms like Organization of Petroleum Countries (OPEC) and Organization of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) are not able to patch up the pernicious rivalry between Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran – all members of both the bodies - there again can be seen the black hands of the big powers. The present state of affairs was however precipitated by the terrorist attacks by Yemen's Houthis belonging to Shias, and supported by Iran, to overturn the legitimate regime and capture power in Yeman.
When Houthi aerial attacks reached Saudi borders, Saudi and allied forces started counter-attacks in Yemen which caused loss of thousands of lives. What torments the world's conscience more is the killing of children that has been continuing since the start of Yemen's civil war in 2015. According to UNICEF, 6,000 children got killed in aerial attacks. And the estimted total deaths number around 91,600.
Reports also reveal that 31,54,572 were rendered homeless. Let alone any effective move to put an end to this brutal homicide, now the enmity between two countries is sharpening between the two countries to such an extent as to weaken the very economy of the entire world. In such a situation, when the Saudi Crown Prince says that he longs for a political solution rather than a military one, big powers including the US have to listen to that seriously. The goals at this juncture of President Donald Trump, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping should be to save West Asia and thereby the world, without proceeding on an agenda of destroying any country that it treats as enemy.
Given the situation in which a variety of Indian interests area at risk including mainly the availability of oil at affordable prices, prime minister Narendra Modi and countries with a stake in the issue should take the initiative for reconciliation. It cannot be forgotten either that it was succumbing to the US threat of embargo thereby denying itself Iranian crude oil - which it used to get at a fair price - that caused oil price in the country to shoot up.