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1967 Oil Embargo: Map

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The 1967 Oil Embargo began on June 6, 1967, one day after the beginning of the Six-Day War, with a joint Arab decision to deter any countries from supporting Israelmarker militarily. Several Middle Eastern countries eventually limited their oil shipments, some embargoing only the United Statesmarker and the United Kingdommarker, while others placed a total ban on oil exports. The Oil Embargo did not significantly decrease the amount of oil available in the United Statesmarker or any affected European countries due mainly to a lack of solidarity and uniformity in embargoing specific countries. The embargo was effectively ended on September 1 with the issuance of the Khartoum Resolution.

Oil Ministers' Conference

During the June 9-18 Oil Ministers' Conference in Baghdadmarker several Arab countries issued a communiqué that two resolutions were unanimously passed:

  1. "Arab oil shall be denied to and shall not be allowed to reach directly or indirectly countries committing aggression or participating in aggression on sovereignty of any Arab state or its territories or its territorial waters, particularly the Gulf of Aqabamarker"
  2. "The involvement of any country, directly or indirectly in armed aggression against Arab states will make assets of its companies and nationals inside the territories of Arab countries subject to the laws of war. This includes the assets of oil companies."


Invitees included the United Arab Republic, Syriamarker, Kuwaitmarker, Libyamarker, Saudi Arabiamarker, Algeriamarker, Bahrainmarker, Abu Dhabimarker, and Qatarmarker. Iraqmarker sent copies of the Council resolution to the Embassies of Iranmarker and Indonesiamarker, and sought the support of Venezuelamarker.

Oil Embargo

The Baghdad Resolution is important because Egyptmarker broadcast claims of USmarker aircraft support on June 6. Iraqmarker was the first country to limit their oil shipments, embargoing the United Statesmarker and the United Kingdommarker on June 6. Iraqmarker, Kuwaitmarker, Algeriamarker, Bahrainmarker eventually embargoed the United Statesmarker and the United Kingdommarker. Syriamarker stopped all oil exports, rather than just embargoing specific countries in order to avoid declaring specific nations as aggressors.

The United Statesmarker advocated emergency measures in OECD meetings and supported the establishment of an International Industry Advisory Board. The Advisory Board was critical in efficiently apportioning limited tanker resources and managing the distribution of the limited oil resources. This was an effective measure to negate the oil embargo as there was no consensus on what countries to embargo, and more importantly, oil shipped to a European country could then be shipped to any of the embargoed countries. Some Arab countries encouraged the oil companies to circumvent the embargo, as the Amir of Kuwaitmarker even proposed to the USmarker ambassador that companies simply tamper with shipping manifests to allow shipment of oil to prohibited countries.

The 1967 Oil Embargo is interesting because oil was clearly used as a political weapon against the United Statesmarker and Europe. However, it was also used as a regional political weapon. Egypt sought to bend not only international political policy but also the policies of more moderate governments. Egyptmarker sought to export the socialist revolution to neighboring moderate (i.e. conservative) countries and many heads of Middle Eastern states felt a real pressure from the masses for Arab solidarity during the oil embargo. Nasser effectively limited moderate countries' political options lest they risk a revolution.

Khartoum Resolution

The Khartoum Resolution issued on September 1 allowed the moderate oil producing nations (Kuwaitmarker, Saudi Arabiamarker, and Libyamarker) to resume oil exports and regain this critical source of revenue without risking disquiet or even overthrow from their more radical citizens. In exchange, they agreed to give annual aid to "victims of Zionist aggression" namely Egyptmarker and Jordanmarker ($266 million and $112 million respectively). A full discussion as well as the text is available in the Khartoum Resolution article.

The oil embargo was the main reason for the formation of OAPEC which would provide a forum for the discussion of using oil politically.

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