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Can Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies afford the political price of cutting oil production after Sept. 11, 2001, to keep oil prices within OPEC’s price band ($22 to $28/bbl)? Can they afford a further smearing of their reputation by the U.S. media because of an output cut? On the other hand, can they afford lower oil revenues, negative economic growth, and higher unemployment? Can they afford public anger over covert cooperation with the U.S. against terrorism, while the West Bank / Gaza situation deteriorates by the minute?
The answer is no, they cannot afford any of that, and they will have to walk the fine line between hell and misery. Therefore, the message that is sent to the U.S. is very clear: Do not push it and let me walk that line! This message came with guarantees of plentiful oil supplies, stronger ties and a joint effort to fight terrorism.
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