Is one dictatorship being swapped for another?

A view from Deera Square, casually known as Chop Chop Square in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Photo: by Shutterstock)

Is the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, set to become one of the most sought-after places in the world for supplying oil? One would think so, after the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, visited both countries over the last few days to encourage them to increase oil supply. Although the budgets in these countries are often based on high oil prices, of between US $80 and $100 per barrel, that price hasn't always been sustained. But will more supply mean lower prices? And how much are these countries prepared to compromise "high prices" for supplying more oil?

Just before Johnson's arrival in Saudi Arabia, 81 people had been executed by the Saudi authorities, the first mass execution in recent years. This execution included seven Yemenis, one Syrian and 37 Saudi nationals. The country, which regulates its citizens with a strict interpretation of Shariah law, carried out the executions reportedly because they were loyal to foreign terrorist organisations and for holding deviant beliefs. Although the Saudi authorities have not said how the executions were carried out, beheading has been the typical way of doing so, usually in Deera Square- a public square in Riyadh, dubbed "Chop Chop Square". While Johnson was in the country, a further three people were reportedly killed.

Sanctions have been put on Russia- the main oil supplier to Europe. As such, the whole world suffers from escalating fuel prices.

But Johnson's diplomacy may have backfired. He has been accused of swapping one dictator for another- the Russian one for a Saudi Arabian one. Is he hypocritical or is it just pragmatism at play?

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Sunday, 25 September 2022