a formative piece of the peak oil picture? (or, "The Spice Must Flow")

Via The Huffington Post, Gerald Posner is about to release a book that, if credible, actually adds to our understanding of why the Saudi government has been able to stay in power, why the US hasn't ever thought about attacking them, and another reason why these scenarios created by our (and for that matter, the world's) oil dependency become intractable geopolitical nightmares. It also helps us understand that the Saudis understand the value of their oil, but that's no real surprise.

It's been about deterrence all along. Don't attack us, don't try to invade. You'll regret it. Scary stuff.

I'm still digesting how all of this fits together, and will post more on it tonight after I give my final and get some grading done.

My initial thought is that this news will have a lot to do with Saudi pricing power of oil sooner or later. As time passes, this little piece of the puzzle just gives the Saudis (and anyone else with oil who threatens scorched earth for that matter) choices on who to sell to and for how much if peak oil is an imminent reality...and as the gap between demand and supply grows, the more power they will have.

Here's some quotes from the Huffington Post piece:

"According to a new book exclusively obtained by the Huffington Post, Saudi Arabia has crafted a plan to protect itself from a possible invasion or internal attack. It includes the use of a series of explosives, including radioactive "dirty bombs," that would cripple Saudi Arabian oil production and distribution systems for decades.

Bestselling author Gerald Posner lays out this "doomsday scenario" in his forthcoming "Secrets of the Kingdom: The Inside Story of the Saudi-US Connection" (Random House).

According to the book, which will be released to the public on May 17, based on National Security Agency electronic intercepts, the Saudi Arabian government has in place a nationwide, self-destruction explosive system composed of conventional explosives and dirty bombs strategically placed at the Kingdom's key oil ports, pipelines, pumping stations, storage tanks, offshore platforms, and backup facilities. If activated, the bombs would destroy the infrastructure of the world's largest oil supplier, and leave the country a contaminated nuclear wasteland ensuring that the Kingdom's oil would be unusable to anyone. The NSA file is dubbed internally Petro SE, for petroleum scorched earth."

Well, this sure adds an interesting and colorful piece to the puzzle, eh?

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Whoa, the Sheriff Bart defense. Maybe they're all keyed to King Faud's heartbeat.

Well, in my opinion Posner is a crank.

I swear I thought of this first, but as the saying goes, it's a no-brainer... I figured that this plan, if it exists, would have been in place since the embargo at least, esp. since people were debating whether they should just invade and take it: http://harpers.org/SeizingArabOil.html

What was that Bond film where the villian was going to contaminate a vast area of the Persian gulf with Nukes he stole from a NATO bomber a la Thunderball? The best Bond film about oil IMO is The World is Not Enough, which provides keen insight regarding US policy in the Caspian.

Mike Klare has a new item out at http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0509-21.htm that distills much of the last few blogs.

I must say that I would do the same thing if I were a Saudi.

That reference to a James Bond film... confirm my impressions that the world is becoming with each passing day a bad copy of an action movie script...

What's next? Aliens? (please, if you do exist, the time is now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, I'll take you to our lider, oh no!!!!)

No - they already made an alien movie with an oil rig as the setting.

And let's not forget the movie where they drilled into a nest of dinosaur eggs at 20,000 feet and they were still alive... oooooooo! scary!

I was on a hike last week with friends, yakking away about peak oil, and it sort of popped out of my mouth that maybe Bush would grab Saudi Arabia. I said, "It would be easy, right? We're right there in Iraq, and it's not like they could stop us."

It doesn't surprise me a week later to hear that the Saudis might have taken out some insurance. Cheap at twice the price.

I call anything really bad a "disaster movie."

In a "disaster movie" scenario for peak oil, countries might try to take Saudi Arabia. And, like the old "MAD" strategy for nuclear war, maybe their deterrent (if people believe they have it) would keep the peace.

BTW, another thought is that under-investing in production could be a good strategy for them, given that (as we all know) the last country with oil wins ...

odo - Have you ever been to Saudi?

I am laughing, because outside of the royal family (highly inbred but very rich), they have nothing. Most citizens were not even born in the country, but are nationalized from elsewhere. Real Saudis are like hens teeth in the world population.

If they win, they still have nothing but sand and a lot of trash. Literally.

Their landfills are not dug below the hard limestone near surface. During any big sandstorm, your car gets pelted by anything from dessicated and used Pampers to Cheetos wrappers along with the sand.

But booby-trapping is a very old and regular technique for the area. Saddam torched what he wasn't allowed to keep in Kuwait. Salting wells of your enemies was a common practice only a hundred years ago in the area as well. If I were leading the invasion, you can bet it would be with SEAL teams to check everything out first...

No I've never been there ... but they wouldn't be getting kisses from the President of the Unitied States if they weren't already winning ;-)

true enough! But IMHO, King George is one of those who is prone to kissing anyone that will get him what he thinks he wants...and anyone around for good measure.

It would be bad for us, but so much worse for their one-note country.

and for the record, odo -

you missed nothing by not vacationing on the Saudi coast.

Hmmm, so why didn't Saddam do the same to his infrastructure?

Roland - I think he always thought three things: a) we were mostly bluffing, b) we would never catch him, and c) his Muslim neighbors would never stand for it. I doubt he ever once thought it was about oil; I think he always figured it was about unfinished Bush family business. And then again, we pretty much hauled ass into Baghdad, surprising even our own planners. MO, of course...