Looking back: Oct. 17, 1973: Angry Arabs Turn Off Oil Spigot

 

1973: The Arab oil-producing states impose an embargo against nations supporting Israel in the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, also known as the October War, Ramadan War or Yom Kippur War.

The effect upon petroleum-consuming countries was immediate, profound and long-lasting. The oil embargo, and the cut in production that accompanied it, doubled the price of crude and reduced overall supply. That forced gasoline prices to skyrocket at the pump and led to rationing and the imposition of price controls in the United States and Western Europe. Long gas station lines and frustrated motorists became iconic images of the early 1970s.

It also awakened the West to just how dependent it was on Middle Eastern oil, and how fragile that lifeline really was.

The decision to use oil as a weapon was made prior to the opening of hostilities. Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal met a month-and-a-half before Egypt and Syria attacked Israel. They agreed to play their trump card � in many ways, their only card � when the expected support for Israel materialized, which it quickly did.

The Yom Kippur War, which began with a surprise attack Oct. 6 (timed to coincide with the Jewish Day of Atonement), went badly for the Arabs. After initial gains, the Syrians were driven from the Golan Heights, and an entire Egyptian army was cut off in the Sinai Peninsula. The offensive fell apart, the United Nations and United States brokered separate ceasefires, and it was all over by Oct. 26.

READ MORE HERE:  https://www.wired.com/2011/10/1017opec-arab-oil-embargo/

 

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