The Diminishing Wealth of Arab Oil Exporters
The question of U.S. dependency on Middle East oil must also be considered in the light of the rapidly diminishing wealth of the oil producers. After hitting a high of $147 a barrel in July 2008, world oil prices have crashed to their lowest level since 2004. Commenting on the impact of declining prices on oil-producing nations, Didier Houssin – a senior official of the International Energy Agency (which represents the interests of the Western oil consumers) – noted: "The brutality and speed of the price decline is a huge shock economically and politically for some of these countries."
[Ouch. They'll have to light their cigars with twenties instead of hundreds now.- Sarge]