15.11.2023 Author: Seth Ferris

Is a 1973 OPEC-styled Oil Embargo and Massive Sanctions over Gaza an OPTION for Bringing Lasting Peace?

Is a 1973 OPEC-styled Oil Embargo and Massive Sanctions over Gaza an OPTION for Bringing Lasting Peace?

It is a hard question to answer, and it is more than just conjecture, at least depending upon on how long the carnage and destruction continues before our very eyes. There is much too riding on it; a real power struggle between blocs is going on in the region. Who emerges victorious will redefine the world into new centers of control.  The World Order as we have come to know it is on the verge of collapse, and Israel may now also be as unprepared as it was at the start of the Yom Kippur War.

It is worth mentioning that back in 1973, they said we’d run out of oil by 2017. Oil and geopolitics are more often than not one and the same. That is why it is often necessary to fight fire-with-fire and learn to hit where it hurts the most, as now Western efforts, especially those of the US and Europe, to diversify its energy supplies and guarantee the continuity of oil supplies are not living up to their billing.

It is not as if the West does not itself use the energy weapon against enemies and allies alike, usually with dismal results, at least for the vast majority of Europeans and the average consumer in the US.

When all said and done, what is happening in Palestine and the region is closely related to energy supplies.  As the Bloomberg News Agency so accurately writes, like Middle East wars of the past, the conflict between Israel and Hamas has the potential to disrupt the world economy — and even tip it into recession if more countries are drawn in.

This explains, in large measure, why the US is compromising its erstwhile moral high ground for the sake of energy security, and is willing to turn a blind eye to its ally’s war crimes for short term political damage control.

It is clear that what is happening now is worse than the events of 1973, and Israel has over responded with crimes against humanity—how much death and destruction of Palestinians does Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu need?

Not only victims are claiming that Netanyahu should be facing war crime charges in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity—and sanctions or a collective embargo may be appropriate.

This brings us to ways for those who now realize the US is not the friend of fairness in the region, or anywhere else, including important friends in Saudi Arabia and other regional players, all of whom see the US as being equally responsible for what is happening.

It is clear what will happen, the awful consequences, as when Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN recently criticized Canada’s amendment to the UNGA resolution on Gaza, saying that “when you push a people into a corner, they will respond,” and it is clear why the problem is what it is today.

“They can’t face the truth… they can’t face the fact that the crime has originated with the Israelis.” Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, criticised Canada’s amendment to the UNGA resolution on Gaza, saying they do not “feel the need for the equity and balance and fairness” to name Israel for killing over 7,000 Palestinians.

Facing the consequences

Prior to the Biden Administration and their sudden shift in sourcing polices, The United States was becoming a major oil producer and was less reliant on imported oil, however, with Joe Biden in office, it is now just the opposite.

The 1973 oil embargo had a significant impact on global oil markets and geopolitics, primarily because of the unique circumstances at the time, and now current circumstances are even more problematic, and growing all the more complicated. Other alternative sources of oil are not looking only to the US as a main buyer, but looking to substitute the US as their main export market.

As the WSJ reports, “there’s no embargo today, but America is again surrendering its energy independence”, or least putting it in jeopardy. If Iran and other countries are drawn into the conflict with a sharper escalation, where Iran is already a supplier of arms and money to Hamas, it could bring substantial financial fallout.

In that scenario, Bloomberg Economics estimates oil prices could soar to $150 a barrel and global economic growth drop to 1.7% — a reduction that takes about $1 trillion off world output. But more than that is involved, it is also a matter of reputation, and the Jewish State and its staunch supporters are soiling theirs, possibly beyond redemption.

A 1973-style oil embargo is possible in theory, but much more is needed. A paradigm shift is required. Jews need to go back to their own religious roots, teachings, and place in the world as seekers of justice.

Israel and worldwide Jewry have lost control of the leadership of the very country that represents their survival and rebirth.  Political rhetoric and conflict resolution in the traditional sense are no longer viable.

This brings us to the fact that there is no end in sight as long as Israel has a plan to cleanse Gaza, and [perhaps] the other occupied territory, the West Bank, of the indigenous Palestinians as if they were American Indians. It seems that for both Israel and the US, the “Only Good Indian is a dead Indian”. Now may be the perfect time for appropriate measures, which might now be far more effective, the level of energy diversification, the current flaws in the global oil market, and the dismal lack of “viable alternative sources” of oil from traditional sources, Venezuela, with  the largest proven oil reserves in South America, Russian Federation, and the Middle East.

A successful embargo would provide not only economic shock therapy for the US and the West, but it would bring about a geopolitical attitude adjustment, one on the scale of the 1973 Embargo, and act as a game changer in today’s instable and contradictory geopolitical, moral and economic landscape.

As one energy policy advisor shared:

I think it worked better in 73 as there was more supply coming from the Middle East. Now there are significant supplies in other areas such as S America, N America, Africa etc. The big concern with an escalation of war would be shipping oil out from the Middle East could slow or get curtailed.

One which would be most successful if Russia, Iran, and all OPEC countries (including the regions above) would join hands and not make a step back, until the original British Mandate and UN vision for peaceful co-existence was realised, and the many unfulfilled UN resolutions were fulfilled, and for the two-State Solution to be put into effect.

It would also be necessary for the Golan Heights to be returned to Syria as a condition for any final settlement, and Jerusalem to become an international city open to all faiths and without Israeli occupation.

There is still hope for this approach to bear fruit, but if the world fails to act, there may only be ruins to argue over in the Holy Land.


Seth Ferris, investigative journalist and political scientist, expert on Middle Eastern affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Related articles: