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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 Economic Effect
As GCC states' oil revenues vanish, their transformation from economies dependent primarily on oil income to a non-oil based existence will bring catastrophe. Millions of expatriate workers, possibly 15 million out of an estimated 30 million in aggregate national and foreign GCC population, would return to their countries of origin. They will leave behind scores of  large cities, over-built during the previous fifty boom years to accommodate millions of people more than the post-oil reality requires. These urban centres serve today in Saudi cities as many, or more, expatriate workers than citizens and, in the likes of Doha, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi, UAE, 5-6 times as many foreign workers as citizens. The departing workers will leave behind ghost towns, complete with over-capacity airports, harbors, telecommunication systems, road networks, school, hospitals, and water and public utility facilities. Suffering from lack of funds and technicians for proper maintenance in the blazing sun of the Arabian desert, this infrastructure would rapidly deteriorate. Millions of empty dwellings would force massive loss of real estate values. 

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. With Iran’s far bigger population and stronger economy, the US would engage in warm relations with Iran.
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. Undoubtedly, Israel’s security is the one scenario that will determine the others. Israel will do its utmost to keep Sunnis and Shi’ites in a constant state of war. For example, Arab Sunni states would support co-religionist Sunni Turkey against the block of Shi’ite Persians and Arabs. Alliances could also be formed along ethnic lines, even in defiance of religious affiliations. 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).
Indeed, the shape of a post-oil Middle East deserves a dedicated book.
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