The dark clouds of war gathered over the Middle East region—ever since US President Donald Trump imposed stringent sanctions on Iranian oil business—are constantly refusing to scatter. While witnessing a string of significant ups and downs occurring and recurring in the Gulf, the global community has kept its fingers crossed. In another grim addition to that string, the global spotlight once again got trained on the region when the world’s largest oil company— Aramco’s two oil facilities based in Saudi Arabia- was hit by an out-of-the-blue drone attack. The unfortunate incident resulted in the immediate sky-rocketing of international oil prices that almost, for once, created chaos in the global economy.
Understandably, the international oil prices have clocked up, to tantamount to the prices of 1991 oil price increase. India, as the second-largest importer of oil in the world, can considerably feel the heat emanating from the drastic price increase of crude oil. Claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebel groups, the attack has injected further uncertainty in the already fragile world economy, reeling through the unnecessary trade war between the two economic giants of the world— America, and China.
On the other side, Saudi Arabia was quick to allege that Iran was the prima facie sponsor of the drone attacks. Testifying to the fact, the US even released the satellite images, purporting that the attacker drones came from the direction of Iran or Iraq, and not from that of Yemen’s. Though Iran outrightly rejected the allegations but, if their earlier acts and statements are anything to go by, it would be too early to give Iran a clean chit. On several occasions, Iran’s acts have not matched their words. Their credibility gap is huge. This year only, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenie hosted Houthi spokesperson and renewed his support to Yemen’s rebels group.
A direct war may not have, and thankfully so, begun yet, but a war of words has already broken out between Donald Trump and Iranian top leaders. Taking another extreme step and further complicating the situation, Trump has dispatched additional military reinforcements to the Gulf region and inflicted Iran with new and piercing sanctions. In an immediate response to Trump’s move, Iran went on to say that “any country that attacks Iran will be turned into the main battlefield.” In the fog of uncertainty, one thing is, significantly, conspicuous that though boasting of a full-fledged war, none of the two rivals can afford to be in a direct war. Nevertheless, letting the war-like tensions loom large through blustering for the sake of vested interests is equally unfortunate.
Every now and then, such unfortunate incidents in the Gulf region bring pressure to bear upon energy-hungry countries like India. In the course of ongoing muscle-stretching for domination in the Middle East, India’s energy demands have taken an inevitable hit, shooting the oil prices in the domestic market to 2 years high. Although, and thankfully so, Saudi Arabia has assured India of its commitment to meet India’s oil needs. The Gulf giant has stated to bring back the attacked oil facilities to normalcy after renovation in two-three days. But, understandably enough, experts are of the view that the renovation work may take up to a month and that further looks set to hold about half of the Saudi oil production meanwhile.
By and large, the daunting chaos that stares at the Gulf region has swayed the whole of the global community. Taking into account the US’s moves aftermath to the Saudi turmoil and following strict response from Iran, the ongoing saber-rattling appears far from a peaceful resolution. Hence, the hovering danger over the oil-rich region of the world seems refusing to fizzle out.
As economists around the world have predicted a fast-approaching economic slowdown that the world is going to witness soon, global leaders must not become stubborn and render the world to an inescapable situation in these critical times for the sake of their vested interests. Oil is a source of energy that no country can flourish without. Here, both the US and Iran must show some leniency and take a step back. A peaceful discussion on the table can resolve every issue. The major global players like the European Union, China, and even India must come forward to play a role in bringing rival parties to the table of discussion. Else, the world will bear the brunt of the ultimate fallout of the current egregious circumstances, prevailing with each passing day in the Middle East.