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The Shape of a Post-Oil Middle East
Within twenty to thirty years, between 2030/2040, possibly 2050, the sale of petrol vehicles in most of Asia, Europe and other parts of the world will have stopped. When this happens, two thirds of the global demand for oil will disappear and GCC oil exports wil drop down to a trickle
The Shape of a Post-Oil Middle East - The Economic Effect
As GCC oil revenues vanish, the transformation from economies dependent mainly on oil revenues to non-oil based existence will bring catastrophe. Gross domestic product will collapse to a fraction of the golden oil-export days. The great majority of the 15 million expatriate workers, representing half of the aggregate population in GCC cities and towns, would return to their countries of origin. They will leave behind over-built cities during the previous fifty boom years to accommodate as many, if not more, expatriate workers in cities like Riyadh and Dhahran than Saudi nationals and, in the likes of Doha, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi, UAE, 10 times as many foreign workers as Qatari or Emarati nationals. The departing workers will leave behind ghost towns, complete with over-capacity airports, harbors, telecommunication systems, road networks, schools, hospitals, and water and public utility facilities, etc. Suffering from lack of funds and technicians for proper maintenance in the blazing sun of the Arabian desert, the infrastructure would irreprably deteriorate. Millions of empty dwellings mean massive losses in real estate values. Desertification would ultimately restore to the desert its pre-oil millennia-old condition.

The Shape of a Post-Oil Middle East - The Political Effect

The political transformation would be even more serious. Without the oil weapon, Washington would abandon the Arabian Peninsula. Without US protection, the oil royals will be left on their own to face hostile and far more powerful neighbours, especially Iran and Turkey. With their far bigger populations, greater diversified economies, and stronger militaries, the US and its allies would befriend Iran and Turkey and ignore the Arabian Peninsula.
There would be four powers vying for influence in a post-oil Middle East: Sunni Turkey, a block of Sunni Arab states, Jewish Israel, and a block of Shi’ites in Iran plus certain Arab states and communities. There can be as many alliance scenarios as the mind can conjure. With help from its Western protectors, Israel’s security will determine the politics and shape of the post-oil map. Sunnis and Shi’ites would remain in an almost constant state of war. Arab Sunni states would support co-religionist Sunni Turkey against the block of Shi’ite Persians and Arabs. Alliances could also be struck along ethnic lines. Arabs and Persians have had a long history of wars before and after Islam. Turks and Persians fought each other when both were Sunnis as well as after Persia was converted to Shi’ism by Shah Ismail (1501-1524). These wars would eventually cost GCC states the monetary reserves of the golden years.
The shape of a post-oil Middle East deserves a dedicated book.
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