Mend Hostages 2006

Photo: 2006 Port Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria.  Movement for the Emacipation of the Niger Delta take oil industry employees hostage.  Photo credit International Relations and Security Network.

Terrorist Threat to Oil and Energy Infrastructure 

“You steal our wealth and oil at paltry prices because of your international influence and military threats. This theft is indeed the biggest theft ever witnessed by mankind in the history of the world. God, the almighty, legislates the permission and option to avenge this oppression. Thus, if we are attacked, then we have the right to strike back. If people steal our oil and wealth, then we have the right to destroy their economy.”

Osama Bin Laden, leader of the Al-Qaeda (2002)

OIl Drill Before the US and allied forces struck Iraq in February 2003, many in the Western world, especially in the US, expected big economic dividends from the war, among other things.  Rupert Murdoch, the Australian-born American media magnate explained the payoff: “The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil.” But the Al-Qaeda led global campaign against the US and its allies had other plans. In May 2004, crude oil prices rose above US $40 a barrel, the highest in more than 13 years, threatening global growth and economic stability. The hike was largely triggered by violence in Saudi Arabia in which oil installations and personnel working therein came under the assault of terrorists. In a statement released by the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Abdul Aziz Al Muqrin, after the attack on the eastern oil city of Khobar, the perpetrators- the Saudi branch of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed that the hit on “American companies . . . specialized in oil” was designed to heighten concern on world markets about (oil) supply security in the Middle East.    Photo: Oil Drill 2008, location unknown.

For More on Economic Terrorism and Extortion

Iraq and Saudi Arabia

Saudi ArabiaFor past few years, the oil and energy industry is being stalked by the specter of terror that could cause economic panic worldwide. With a series of attacks against Iraq’s oil infrastructure, the only indigenous source to fund reconstruction in that country, the terrorists managed to delay the recovery of Iraqi oil production and exports to its pre-war level. However, the biggest threat to the oil and energy sector has emerged in Saudi Arabia with targeted attacks against the personnel working in the oil industry, most of whom are foreigners. In a systematic campaign of sorts, the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) under the leadership of Abdul Aziz Al Muqrin, dedicated to the overthrow of the Saudi royal family, attacked the mainstay of Saudi economy with gross implications for the regime stability in Saudi Arabia. The intention behind the attacks, which was carried out at the behest of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was to disrupt oil exports sufficiently to have a major impact on global oil prices, which would harm significantly Western interests, including that of the US,. Attacks against oil infrastructure and installations have also emerged as the core of strategies of groups such as Al-Qaeda, who have often claimed to be fighting an “economic battle” against the Western powers.  Photo: A man rides his motorcycle in Riyadh February 21, 2011, while wearing a T-shirt with an image of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz to celebrate his return.

For More on Anti-Western Sentiment and The Politics of Radical Islamization and Globalization

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