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Jeddah Energy Summit: Breaking Bad Habits - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The energy summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this past week was urgently convened to bring together the most important oil producers and consumers in a historic attempt to confront the frenzied rise of the price of oil. While economic analysts and industry experts have failed to discover the source of the rise in prices, some extremist Western analysts, such as Thomas Friedman, have oversimplified the matter in holding oil producing companies responsible.

However, the responsibility truly lies with cunning politicians, who fail to calculate the consequences of their iniquitous and inane policies and statements. The most prominent example is US President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s repeated statements about Iran.

The objective observer of price fluctuations over the past year will have noticed the time correlation between Bush’s statements about Iran’s alleged nuclear program and the doubling of oil prices in record time. Moreover, Olmert’s threats to Iran have clearly contributed to price rises. International efforts are required to ease the price increases, especially in terms of reducing oil taxes and tariffs. The ban on building more oil refineries must also be reviewed, as they are sorely needed, particularly in North America’s markets.

Price rises do not specifically concern oil producing countries and therefore solutions must not come from them or be imposed upon them. The solution must be composed with fair and balanced partnership to avoid disadvantaging any particular party. The Jeddah energy summit was a vital initiative that employed a cooperative approach to highlight the essential fact that impairments to the oil industry affect all involved parties. This new sentiment may signal a new beginning, different from the unproductive competition that has defined the oil industry in the past.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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