Also blogged at Jihad Watch:
"We can get by without the petrol, and return to our days of yore. We will make do with milk and dates. We will drink the milk of our camels, and eat the dates from our palm trees. King Faysal said this when there was a threat to Arab honor."
-- from Al-Qaradawi statement yesterday
As J. B. Kelly showed in "Arabia, the Gulf, and the West," the blague of Faysal was simply part of the smoke-and-mirrors about a nonexistent "oil weapon." Had the Arabs and Muslims managed to create modern economies, after having received the largest transfer of wealth -- every bit of it entirely unmerited -- in human history, then perhaps they would be in a position to tell the West to go to hell as suggested above. But they didn't. They failed everywhere to develop more than Disneyworld economies, with giant towers in Dubai, and private palaces, each one more disgustingly decadent than the next (see the American television cameras allowed inside Prince Talal's modest garconnniere, the one with the nine separate restaurants). Saudis despise work. Arabs have traditionally despised certain occupations, including farming. Looting was considered so honorable to Muslims, that in the Persian poet Hafiz there is a description of the Feast of Plunder, a banquet which the guests had earned, but which they swooped down on horseback to enjoy, because only if they had it as a result of plundering could they truly enjoy it. There is no work ethic in Islam. There is the right to exploit the non-Muslims, whose contributions -- from Christians, Jews, Hindus, Zoroastrians -- helped support the Muslim state, as did whatever loot or slaves could be seized on constant raids within dar al-Harb. And today Muslims within Europe regard the support supplied by the Infidel taxpayers to be theirs as of right, and so too are they permitted to help themselves to Infidel-owned property and women, as long as they don't get caught or harm the image of Islam which, after all, must always be protected and promoted.
There never was an oil weapon, because every Arab and Muslim regime is desperate to sell as much as they can. And they now realize that the Western world, a little late -- some thirty years late -- has come to its senses or at least appears to do so (so far, in the United States, it is all rhetoric, and one will have to see if Congress can stiffen the spine of the Administration, and its True Believers in letting the Free Market do its stuff -- thank god FDR did not wait for the Free Market to develop atomic weapons during World War II).
During the Yom Kippur War, the Arabs huffed and puffed, but as Kelly shows, that was all cover for the price rise. The United States and the Netherlands, both relatively pro-Israel, actually received more oil from the Arabs than did Britain and France, both falling all over themselves in pro-Arab statements and policies.
Today, what would or could the Arabs do? They have assets all over the Western world. Those assets can be seized, and sold, just as the assets of enemy aliens were promptly seized during World War II. It is not only real estate that is illiquid, though there are plenty of private apartments owned by the princes and princelings and princelettes that could be taken. There are also bank accounts.
And what would it mean to the Arab and Muslim world if they could not buy Western technology? Western armaments? Western consumer goods? If they could not, or at least the ruling classes could not, travel to Europe and American combination brother-cum-funfair that the Lands of the Infidels have become? Who, in his right mind, would condemn himself to the solitary confinement of Dar al-Islam for the rest of his life? Al-Qaradawi maybe (though his children are studying in the West -- perhaps it's time to send them home, and thereby make a point?), Ahmadinejad certainly.
But all those worldly, wealthy, corrupt Saudis, or others from the Gulf statelets? Do you think, with their apartments in Belgravia, or the Avenue Foch, or in McLean, Virginia, they are quite so willing to never again see the world of the Infidels, so wonderful, so seductive, and so -- well, just so Infidel.
Of course not.
But I like Al-Qaradawi's idea. I like that camel-and-dates notion. Return to the thrilling days of yore, with raids on that oasis over there, and camel races over here. Go ahead. Leave us alone. And we promise to do everything we can to reduce our need for your oil, so that your dream can come true. A dream we can all share.