Mordechai Abir

Mordechai Abir is a Fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Professor (Emeritus) of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His books include Saudi Arabia: Society, Government and the Gulf Crises (1993) and Saudi Arabia in the Oil Era: Regime and Elites: Conflict and Collaboration (1988).

Publications by Mordechai Abir

The Erosion of Al-Qaeda’s Power in Saudi Arabia

Following major terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda against housing compounds inhabited by foreign and Arab oil experts in 2003, the Saudi regime launched a major onslaught against the al-Qaeda-led Saudi fundamentalists. Gradually the regime succeeded in eroding the ranks of the Afghanistan war veterans who comprised the operational leadership of the organization.  Read More »

Global Oil Supply Security and Al-Qaeda’s Abortive Attack on Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia

Had the February 22 attack on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil complex at Abqaiq been successful, oil prices would have likely broken all records and might have caused a worldwide economic crisis._  Read More »

Iran’s New Revolutionary Guards Regime: Anti-Americanism, Oil, and Rising International Tension

Since becoming Iran’s president in August, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who served in the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, has appointed fellow Revolutionary Guards members to the most key positions in his cabinet and administration, including his foreign and defense ministers.  Read More »

U.S.-Saudi Relations After Hurricane Katrina: Increased Oil Dependency and the Vulnerability of Saudi Oil Installations

America’s trade deficit with the Saudi kingdom (due largely to the purchase of crude) is likely to amount to over $30 billion in 2005, up sharply from about $16 billion in 2004.
The conservative Abdallah has managed to win the support of the majority of Saudis in his battle against the domestic militants inside the Saudi kingdom who have targeted the Saudi regime.  Read More »

The Succession of Saudi King Abdallah, the Oil Market, and Regional Politics

King Fahd de facto governed Saudi Arabia since the crowning of the sickly King Khalid in 1975 – until 1995 when Fahd himself suffered a debilitating stroke. Abdallah, Fahd’s successor, is a conservative ascetic who was never considered corrupt by the population, unlike other members of the al-Saud family.  Read More »

The Al-Qaeda threat to Saudi Arabia’s Oil Sector

In the attack on the American consulate in Jedda on December 6, for the first time, al-Qaeda mounted an assault on a "fortified" American facility rather than attacking soft targets. When it turned out that nearly all the victims were Muslims, many Saudis, who were at first pleased by the U.S. humiliation, strongly condemned al-Qaeda. Even the families of the four terrorists killed in the consulate’s courtyard were denounced by their kin.
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How Successful is Al-Qaeda’s Strategy of Depriving the West of Essential Oil?

Developments in Saudi Arabia and Iraq should cause oil prices to decline further and to reach $30-35 a barrel. Iraq’s southern oil terminal exports are back to 1.0 million b/d after the bombing of three pipelines by al-Qaeda terrorists led to the temporary stoppage of all Iraqi oil exports. The Shi’ite territories in southern Iraq are hostile to al-Qaeda’s Sunni Wahhabi militants.  Read More »

How Successful is Al-Qaeda’s Strategy of Depriving the West of Essential Oil?

Developments in Saudi Arabia and Iraq should cause oil prices to decline further and to reach $30-35 a barrel.  Read More »

U.S. Middle East Policy and Iran’s Politico-Economic Development

Iran has enjoyed a substantial windfall from oil prices, which has more than matched its additional budgetary expenses and has enabled it to establish a special “fund for future generations.” As far as the Pentagon is concerned, there is hardly any difference between the radical Iranian clergy who control Iran’s policy and President Muhammad Khatami’s “so-called reformist government.”  Read More »

Iraq – A Source of Oil or a Quagmire for the U.S.?

In an interview in Jordan on June 21, Iraq’s acting oil minister, Thamir al-Ghadhban, said, "Restoration of the [Iraqi] oil industry will take some time, at least a year and a half." Currently, Iraq is producing about 500,000 barrels per day (b/d) from the old northern fields (Kirkuk) and only 300,000 b/d from the enormously rich southern (largely Rumeila) fields.  Read More »

Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the War on Terrorism

The recuperation of Iraq’s oil industry could prove a major threat to the oil-dependent Saudi economy. Saudi per capita income has fallen from about $23,000 in the early 1980s to about $7,000 last year. Prince Abdallah has attempted to reform the Saudi economy and reduce expenditures on subsidies and perks, including the costly stipends paid to 7,000 royal princes.
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Saudi Arabia, Stability, and International Islamic Terror

The Persian Gulf is a region of outstanding anomalies and immense energy wealth. About two-thirds of the world’s proven energy reserves are located in the Gulf States, foremost in Saudi Arabia (25 percent). As long as the rest of the world requires this energy, its dependence on this region will continue.  Read More »

Saudi Arabia in the 1990s: Stability and Foreign Policy

The stability of Saudi Arabia (and the Persian Gulf as a whole) is crucially important to the world’s industrial countries. According to the Gulf Center of Strategic Studies, "oil is expected to account for 38 percent of all the world consumption of energy until 2015, compared to 39 percent in 1993.  Read More »