National Security Eyes Only.
Subject: The Oil Crisis.
Dear Mr. President,
As you are aware, the recent upheaval in the Middle East and Arab world has caused us serious concern with regard to Saudi Arabia and our oil supply. It is not hyperbole to suggest that the uninterrupted continuation of Saudi oil, until we in the West decide to free ourselves of this addiction and get serious about renewable energy, is vital not just to the United States but to the global economy itself. An interruption in the supply will have a serious, possibly catastrophic effect on the fledgling economic recovery.
It is my contention, Mr. President, that the protection of the supply is not just in the interests of the United States but is deemed a vital global interest, and the United States and her allies must be prepared, by military means if necessary, to secure that supply. Obviously, we would hope that such action is not necessary, but we must recognise that nevertheless, if a Libyan/Tunisian/Egyptian situation were to develop in Saudi Arabia, which holds 19.8% of global oil reserves, we may be forced to act.
In recognition of this situation, I have drafted this short memo, in consultation with State, Defence, the NSA and here in Langley to begin to put shape on what may be required:
1. The Timing question. When? We must be ready to act early. If the wells are seized by militants they could be destroyed or damaged in such a way as to interrupt the supply for months or even longer. This cannot be allowed to happen. We must be ready to deploy forces to secure key facilities within 36 hours. This is all predicated, obviously, on a fatal collapse of the House of Saud.
2. The Military question. Who does the heavy lifting? US Forces will have to provide most of the actual forces necessary. However, given the delicate political nature of the operation, I would suggest that as broad a coalition as possible be recruited to make even nominal contributions to the force. Given that China is as much reliant on this source of oil I would suggest that the PRC be given a joint leadership role with us. This will aid us in terms of getting a UN mandate for the operation, and also, given that a long-term presence in the region will be required to keep the wells secure, the PRC can be expected to share some of the military burden. Although Russia is not as reliant, our sources in Moscow suggest that the Russians would be willing to provide support in the UN Security Council as long as Russia is assured “her share”. NATO, Japan and other allies will also provide token forces.
3. The Islam question. Given the importance of Saudi Arabia, as the home of the Holy City of Mecca, it is vital that this issue be handled with the utmost of sensitivity. As part of the operation, Turkish forces will be deployed to secure the perimeter to the holy city, and Turkey shall issue a declaration demanding that the operation respect the sacred nature of the city, and do not deploy within a wide zone encapsulating the city. We shall accede to this request, whilst the Turkish forces shall ensure that the Mecca Exclusion Zone (MEZ) shall not be used to host forces hostile to the International Energy Stability Zone (INESZ).
4. The Political question. We cannot, of course, discount how controversial this operation shall be. Given the vital interest at stake, this is unavoidable. However, it is important that measures be taken to ensure political support across the Western democracies. In particular, the establishment of a United Nations Saudi Oilfield Commission (UNSOC).
This will be an independent body tasked with setting the price of the oil to be sold and collecting the income for distribution in the interests of the Saudi people. It will be very important that this body be seen to be credible, setting the price independently based on a pre-defined band, and that its spending be transparent and primarily centred around increasing the living standards of the Saudi population. However, we should be honest in stating, in crafting its founding charter, that a 2% premium will be added to oil sales to those states that have not contributed to the coalition, to fund the ongoing security operation. In addition, given the amount of political opposition there will be in western (Espc European) countries to the operation, I would suggest that we crystallise the options in the following way: That only nations that sign the INESZ charter can buy oil directly from UNSOC. This will have the effect of making the charter a Yes/No political issue in most countries, forcing them to choose between Saudi oil and political posturing, and we have every confidence that the great mainstream majority in most countries will support pro-charter parties in national elections given the alternative. This will give us a solid democratic mandate at home.
Finally, the membership of the UNSOC must be made up of individuals of international high standing. We’re suggesting persons such as Kofi Annan, President Lula da Silva, Mary Robinson, possibly even Bono. It will make relations with the UNSOC abrasive, but that, we suggest, would be a good thing from a politcal perception point of view. It is a prerequisite of the operation that coalition countries do not “profit” from the operation. The operation is to secure the supply, not steal it.
We appreciate the enormous implications of what we are suggesting here, Mr. President. It would obviously be a scenario that we would like to avoid. However, the secure supply of oil to the West is a integral component to global stability, and cannot be allowed be interrupted. Whatever the global political ramifications, the economic effect would be much worse. Whilst we must recognise that it is a principle of simple natural justice that the Saudi people own the oil, and must be the primary benefitting party to that ownership, we cannot permit it being used as an economic weapon against us.
Director, Central Intelligence.