マーク・アーモンド: Oil will force us to turn a blind eye to world's evils

セレナとビーナスウィリアムズは、批評家チョイスアワードでリチャード王のキャストに加わったときに、シルバーのヴェルサーチガウンと一致する魅力を提供します セレナとビーナス・ウィリアムズは、彼らがouを踏んだとき、素晴らしく見えました。 81 people in a mass execution but the West’s need for oil as it tries to ratchet up the pressure on Russia will force it to turn a blind eye to world’s evils, writes MARK ALMOND

今週中に, ボリス・ジョンソン is rumoured to be flying to サウジアラビア for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, nicknamed ‘MBS’.

The Prime Minister is desperate to strike a deal on oil with Riyadh as the West strives to break its reliance on Russian petrochemicals amid the horrifying carnage in Ukraine.

But his mission has just been thrown into jeopardy.

Boris Johnson is rumoured to be flying to Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman later this week

Boris Johnson is rumoured to be flying to Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman later this week

土曜日, in a sickening development, the Saudis executed 81 people on charges of ‘terrorism’, murder and other crimes including ‘holding deviant beliefs’ and ‘following the footsteps of Satan’.

So much for the ‘modernising’ desert kingdom promised by MBS: this was the biggest mass execution for decades.

Under normal circumstances, we might have expected Britain to condemn this grisly event – just as our government did back in 2018 when the brave Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, his body dissolved in acid – almost certainly on the personal orders of MBS himself.

But this time government criticism has so far been much more muted.

The truth is that, as the free world tries to ratchet up the pressure on Russia – forcing an end to the Ukrainian bloodshed – Britain and the West need to cement ties with some dodgy allies, however distasteful that might be.

Wartime forces nations to make appalling moral compromises: witness how, during the Second World War, the Allies struck a deal with mass murderer Stalin in the shared fight against Hitler.

Despite the savagery of Saudi Arabia’s most recent mass execution, Boris and President Joe Biden have no choice other than to cosy up to MBS.

For one thing, surging oil prices are causing domestic inflation and the worst cost-of-living crisis for decades. It’s troubling news for Boris and a serious problem for Biden in particular, who faces mid-term elections this year.

Despite the savagery of Saudi Arabia’s most recent mass execution, Boris and President Joe Biden have no choice other than to cosy up to MBS

Despite the savagery of Saudi Arabia’s most recent mass execution, Boris and President Joe Biden have no choice other than to cosy up to MBS

For another, the West’s imports of Russian oil and gas are of course helping to pay for Putin’s war. That’s why we are increasingly looking to other oil exporters – especially the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates – to raise production and drive down the price.

Mrs Thatcher and President Reagan successfully pursued the same approach in the 1980s, after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

But today it’s not so straightforward. The Saudis have other markets for their oil nowadays, and need the West less than they did 40 数年前.

確かに, when the White House attempted to open negotiations on the oil price last week, MBS refused to take Biden’s call. Boris Johnson might have some extra leverage – because the Saudis buy a lot of armaments from the UK and our RAF and Army train their forces.

The Crown Prince and his cronies also have a great deal of wealth invested here, while MBS owns the company that runs Newcastle United. (In a dark coincidence, Newcastle were yesterday playing Chelsea, owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich – in what some have dubbed the ‘Game of Shame’.) それにもかかわらず, many will question whether Britain should be striking oil deals with the Saudis, given their appalling human rights record.

結局, the regime’s stomach-churning fondness for public executions – often beheading by sword – is only the start. For seven years, Saudi’s proxy war against Iran in Yemen has created a humanitarian disaster, including mass starvation and the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Embarrassed by the number of children killed in this war, MBS persuaded the United Nations to recall its human rights observers – so that the world could not learn about their suffering.

If Saudi Arabia does refuse to increase oil production – or its human rights abuses make a deal politically impossible – where else can we look to buy oil from?

There are no good short-term options. Iran has plenty of ‘black gold’, but its own human rights record is no less appalling. In addition to its ongoing imprisonment of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe on trumped-up charges, there is currently a worldwide embargo on Iranian oil because of Tehran’s nuclear programme.

そのうえ, the Israelis and the Saudis would be furious at any attempts by the West to rehabilitate Iran.

Another option is Venezuela – also an oil-rich pariah currently subject to international sanctions. Britain and America refuse to recognise the regime of authoritarian Nicolas Maduro, accusing him of usurping power through election fraud in 2018 and rigging local elections last year.

Yet already there are signs that the U.S. position on Venezuela is softening, with talks of lifting sanctions. And since the Bank of England holds Venezuela’s national gold reserves, while currently denying them access to this wealth, we may well have some leverage over Maduro.

But Venezuela is in chaos, と 95 per cent of its population living in ‘extreme poverty’, suffering from power cuts, shortages of food and medicine and with their economy mired in hyperinflation.

And there is no guarantee that Maduro could ramp up production swiftly enough.

The realpolitik of this situation is that to free ourselves from our dependence on Russian fossil fuels, we will have to turn a blind eye to other evils in other regimes.

We need – yet again – to make a pact with the devil.

Mark Almond is Director of the Crisis Research Institute, オックスフォード