Saudi Arabia is unlikely to employ its so-called “oil weapon” in the diplomatic crisis over the disappearance of a journalist after visiting the country’s consulate in Istanbul.
Experience from the last time Saudi Arabia tried to use oil sales as a diplomatic instrument in 1973/74 shows such action does not work and the kingdom itself would be the biggest victim.
Despite some of the impassioned rhetoric in Saudi media, self-interest makes it improbable the government will retaliate by reducing oil sales or trying to drive up prices.
That has not stopped some veiled threats to weaponise oil production and prices, but they should be interpreted as an urgent plea for support and understanding rather than a serious threat. Read more