News   /   Interviews

Fall in oil price to affect Saudi Arabia severely: Analyst

A picture taken on June 23, 2008 shows a flame from a Saudi Aramco oil installation known as "Pump 3" in the desert near the oil-rich area of Khouris, east of the Saudi capital Riyadh. (AFP photo)

Press TV has interviewed Saeed Shahabi, a political analyst and Middle East expert in London, about Fitch Ratings downgrading the credit rating of Saudi Arabia, citing the negative impact of tumbling oil prices on the economy of the biggest crude exporter in the world.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.


Press TV: Obviously the economic implications for Saudi Arabia just like many other oil producing countries does not look too good but in Saudi Arabia’s case there are extreme implications for what is going to go on inside the kingdom. We know that they have taken away subsidies, we know that lots of prices have been raised, how much of a danger would that be for population that 40 percent of it is young people who are dissatisfied with the regime, however they have kept it hush at this point?  

Shahabi: As we know Saudis are gaining support here and there and getting some defense support from countries like Sudan and others because of the money they have. Now if that money dwindles and becomes less, then there is no attraction, nobody will be attracted to the Saudis. They do not have anything to give the world except their money. This is true even with the relations with America, with the West. Of course they have oil money, abundance of it, a lot of it, this is why they are being supported by those Western countries.

Now if that money is dwindling as it is now because of the fall in oil prices and also the financial commitment to the war on Yemen and to [wipe] off loyalties from various countries, then of course that is going to  have severe implications as the rating agencies like Ficth, and like Standard and Poor’s, and like Moody’s, they have all given Saudis negative predictions which means that the financial worthiness of the Saudis is becoming less and less which means it becomes less attractive to those who have been supporting it for the past decades. So I am afraid the Saudis are dug in for a long time, a long period of financial hardship.

Press TV: It is interesting an article that was ran recently that said that the Saudis are going to or have taken a fresh interest in their Hajj, people who attend Hajj and of course they are supposed to be the custodians of the two holy places there. Is that even possible given the fact that we saw what happened with the most recent Hajj of which may thousands died particularly from Iran, do you think that Saudi Arabia even has a chance there?

Shahabi: The problem with the Saudis is that they are not good for anything; I mean the Saudi regime is not good for anything, for any practical implementation or anything. In running the Hajj, it is nothing but disaster...

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku