The Middle East and US energy security

Authored by: Anas F. Alhajji

Handbook of US-Middle East Relations

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9781857434996
eBook ISBN: 9780203859377
Adobe ISBN:


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The quest for energy security is as natural as any other human behavior. When this search is politicized, however, it loses its natural character and takes on several meaningless, misguided, and contradictory qualities. US politicians, calling for eliminating dependence on petroleum to “improve energy security” yet at the same time wanting to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and offshore areas and increase the size of the US strategic petroleum reserve (SPR), ignore the contradictions in their proposals. They want to eliminate dependence on oil imports from the Middle East, but ignore the impact of such policies on the future of friendly governments in the Gulf region, including Iraq, and the effect on Israel should these governments collapse. They cite the impact that oil nationalism in oil-producing countries has on US energy security, but ignore the fact that talk about energy independence and elimination of dependence on Middle Eastern oil imports is yet another face of oil nationalism, one that could easily contribute to energy insecurity. They criticize oil-producing countries for refusing to give international oil companies (IOCs) access to oil reserves, but have banned IOCs from drilling in oil-rich areas of the US.

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