Unintended consequences of Yggr's Barley

From: Glenn Morton (glenn.morton@btinternet.com)
Date: Sun Aug 25 2002 - 18:29:25 EDT

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    In Germanic mythology the Odin, also known as Yggr, had two ravens, Huginn
    and Muninn, who flew throughout the earth, observing both the dead and the
    living, and then flew back to tell Odin what was taking place in the world.
    Odin was the God of war, who determined victories and defeats and he fed his
    ravens and wolf on Yggr's Barley--the corpses of the dead. Norse peoples
    would hang the bodies of their slain enemies in trees for the ravens to eat.
    Every 9 years at Uppsala, Sweden, human sacrifices would be performed and
    the bodies hung on a tree near a temple.(1) Odin would send his ravens to
    eat Yggr's Barley, the bodies hanging upon the trees either those at Uppsala
    or on the field of battle. Thus, the raven gained a grusome reputation as a
    harbinger of evil times. Indeed, in olden times, the word ravenstone was
    often given to a place of execution. Why do I speak of these birds which
    were reputed to know everything that went on the earth and to whom was also
    given Yggr's Barley? Because the present events are showing many signs of
    iminant war, which will provide Yggr's Barley once more. It will also
    provide unintended consequences.

    Amid all our discussion of the relationship between the west and Islamic
    scientists, I am more concerned about our relationship with Middle East
    populations, and their relationship where it concerns oil. Everyone knows
    that there is a debate in the US concerning a possible invation of Iraq.
    This is old news. But what we are missing are subtle signs of the way this
    is affecting others in the region and possibly our energy security. First,
    everyone knows that the US stand on Israel irritates the Arabic world. And
    the brand of Islam taught and financed by the Saudi's irritates the West,
    especially the US post 9/11.(2) This fundamental difference of world view is
    driving a wedge between the two countries which will probably cause a
    complete split if the US attacks Iraq. And this has implications for the oil
    supply of the United States. Apparently, both Saudi's and the US are taking
    insurance steps to protect their respective interests in case of war, but
    paradoxically, these steps make war more likely and thus make a split
    between the Saudi's and the US more likely.

    Last Fall, after the World Trade Center attack, the government ordered that
    the Strategic Petroelum Reserve (SPR) be increased from 550 million barrels
    to 700 million barrels.(3) This action will protect US interests gives us a
    cushion of 57 days against a complete and total shutoff of all imports.(4)
    Of course that wouldn't happen even in a war. It is a little known fact
    among those outside of the oil industry, that OPEC didn't boycott the US in
    1973. Only the arabic producers boycotted the US. Since today we only
    import slightely less than 3 million barrels per day from the Middle East,
    the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would last 240 days in a total Middle
    Eastern boycott.

    Irwin Stelzer, believed that the interdependency of the Saudi and American
    economy would rule out any oil boycott of the US. He wrote:

    ìThe Saudis are as dependent on the American economy as the American economy
    is dependent on Opec oil. For one thing, they have huge investments in
    everything from US Treasury bonds to shares in Citicorp and AOL-Time Warner.
    A recession in America, induced by a cut-off in oil supplies, is definitely
    not in the kingdomís interest."
            ìNor is a disruption in the flow of revenues into the Saudi treasury.
    Thanks to the profligacy of the thousands of Saudi princes, and the generous
    handouts needed to keep the largely unemployed and unemployable Saudi young
    from heeding the revolutionary call of Osama Bin Laden and his sort, the
    regime needs moneyóand lots of it. Having failed to diversify their economy,
    the Saudi rulers have only one place to look for that moneyóthe 25% of world
    oil reserves that lie under their sands.î(5)

    But this reasoning is weakening in light of the above US filling of the SPR
    and recent reports of Saudi money movement. The Financial Times, a UK based
    paper, broke the story of Saudi's moving money out of the US. The article
    ìOne analyst said the total funds withdrawn by individual investors amount
    to $200bn. Other bankers put the figure nearer to $100bn.î(6)

    While there have been several denials that such large funds are moving, both
    in the US and in Saudi(8) it is clear that some money is moving. Saudi
    denials of this movement might be self-serving anyway. It is not in their
    interest to acknowledge such movement because the stock prices might drop.

    Several things are making the Saudi's move money:
            ìAccusations that Saudi Arabiaís austere brand of Islam
    breeds terrorism
    and its charities finance Osama bin Ladenís al-Qaeda network have been
    perceived in the kingdom as attacks on Saudi society and its religion.î (6)

            ìThe trend, he added, could be expected to accelerate with last weekís
    trillion-dollar lawsuit by relatives of the victims of September 11. The
    lawsuit accuses several Saudi institutions and charities and three members
    of the royal family, including the defence minister, of financing

    In an editorial the Financial Times notes another pressure on Saudi

            ìAnti-Saudi rhetoric is widely heard in conservative circles
    in Washington.
    Back in Riyadh they are convinced that the US administration is anti-Arab
    and anti-Islam, not merely opposed to the terrorists of Al-Qaeda. They are
    dismayed that Crown Prince Abdullahís peace plan for Israel has received
    scant attention. They are alarmed at the plans for US military intervention
    in neighbouring Iraq. Loose talk in Washington of Saudi Arabia as the real
    enemy merely encourages conspiracy theories in Riyadh that the USís real aim
    is to seize its oilfields.î (7)

    This last worry is based upon some historical reality. In January 1974,
    James Schlesinger threatened the use of force against countries enforcing an
    oil embargo against the US.(8) Indeed, some scenarios could lead to a
    self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Today's news brings further strain as it is reported today on FoxNews and on
    the Drudgereport that the Saudi's paid hundreds of millions of dollars to
    Al-Qaeda so that they wouldn't attack inside of Saudi Arabia. Thus, it
    appears that the Saudi's did indeed fund Osama. Of course, this will be
    viewed as anti-islamic bias by many in the Middle East. Further evidence of
    a deteriorating Saudi-US relationship are found in the drop of trade between
    the two countries. The BBC reports:

            "US exports to Saudi Arabia have plunged to a 12-year low. "
            "Figures for the first half of this year show a drop of 30%.
    Saudi exports
    to the US during the same period dropped by 24%. "
            "On the face of it, relations between these two old allies are becoming
    sourer by the day with reports of economic fall-out from the political
            "Saudi businessmen and newspaper columnists are urging their
    fellow-countrymen to withdraw their money from American banks."(9)

    The article further states that Saudi's are boycotting American products.
    Further indications of the strained relationship include a potential lawsuit
    by Saudi citizens against the US government for harassment after 9/11.(10)

    Given the strain in relationship, it appears that Osama is succeeding in his
    goal of moving the world towards a war between the West and the Islamic
    world. The moves by the US and by the Saudi's make each of us less
    dependent upon each other and that increases the likelihood of serious
    brinkmanship which might involve an oil embargo again. Twelve years ago,
    could one even conceive of the possibility that the Saudi's would be
    supporting Iraq given Iraq's perceived threat to Saudi? I never could have
    envisioned it, but Osama's attack and the impact of the facts which have
    come to light over Saudi support for Al-Qaeda have made Bush's words more
    important--'You are either for us or against us.' It appears that the Saud's
    are slowly answering that question.

    As I have noted earlier, the House of Saud is shakey (11). If we attack
    Iraq, there is a possibility that there could be political ramifications for
    the Sauds. There is a tremendous anti-americanism in Saudi and an attack on
    Iraq could force the kingdom's hand to turn more hardline against us, or
    cause the militants to take over the Saudi government.(11) Some might argue
    that with the Saud's financing Osama, we couldn't do worse than them. We
    could. But without a doubt, Saddam must go. But in taking him out, we might
    find the untintended consequences of Yggr's barley are more serious than we
    imagine. Should a prolonged embargo occur, the US very well might take
    direct action to secure the oil fields, but it would be costly and bloody.
    However, the Middle East could cut off all oil to the US and by merely
    altering the delivery destination of oil around the world, the embargo might
    not make a difference. The Sauds could sell their oil to everyone else. Oil
    that everyone else used to buy from outside the Middle East could be
    redirected to the US. In this way, much of the effect of the embargo would
    be lost. Indeed this is what happened in 1973. What would be worse, would be
    the replacement of the House of Saud with a group of people who don't care
    about selling oil and prefer instead to seek religious purity instead. That
    would cause much disruption to the West, the US in particular.

    1. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15207a.htm
    2. David Leigh and Richard Norton-Taylor, "House of Saud looks close to
    Collapse", Guardian, 11/21/01, p.17
    3. "US Congress restores oil, gas R&D funding, approves drilling bans" Oil
    and Gas Journal, Nov. 12, 2001
    4. BP statistical review of world energy 2002 states that the US uses about
    20 million barrels per day. The US imports 12 million bbl/day, only 2.9
    million from the Middle east. http://www.bp.com/centres/energy2002 download
    the excel spreadsheet.
    5. Irwin Stelzer, ìSaudis Need Us More than We Need Their Oil,î The Sunday
    Times, March 17, 2002, Business, p. 6. Roula Khalaf, ìSaudi Investors Pull
    Out Billions of Dollars From US,î Financial Times, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2002,
    p. 1
    7. ìHandling the House of Saud,î Financial Times, Aug. 21, 2002, p. 12
    8. Fiona Venn, The Oil Crisis, (London: Pearson Education, 2002, p. 20-21
    9. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/middle_east/2213250.stm
    11. http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/saud.htm


    see http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/dmd.htm
    for lots of creation/evolution information
    personal stories of struggle

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