In a rather remarkable article in the New York Times on December 22nd "Bickering Saudis Struggle for an Answer to Iran's Rising Influence in the Middle East" the following was reported, and I quote:
"A member of the Saudi royal family with knowledge of the discussions between Mr. Cheney and King Abdullah said the king had presented Mr. Cheney with a plan to raise oil production to force down the price, in hopes of causing economic turmoil for Iran without becoming directly involved"
One can only imagine the tenor of the conversation but let me try:
King Abdullah: Dick, thank you for coming. I hope I didn't upset your weekend plans.
VP Cheney: No, not at all Your Highness. I am always happy to accommodate
King Abdullah: Dick, I am very worried about what's happening in Iraq and all this talk about your pulling out.
VP Cheney: We are very concerned as well about what is happening there and especially about the
mischief being caused by the Iranians.
King Abdullah: We have very grave concerns about the Iranians but we have a plan.
VP Cheney: How interesting Your Highness, and what would that be?
King Abdullah: Well you see the economy in Iran is in dire straits. The only thing keeping their economy functioning are their oil revenues. We have a plan to pump enough oil to force down the world price of oil and thereby cause economic turmoil for the Iranian government.
VP Cheney: Excuse me, you would do what?
King Abdullah: Hurt the Iranians by collapsing the price of oil.
VP Cheney: Hmm, Your Highness. You could do that? But I thought the price of oil was determined by
the invisible hand of the free market. I'm shocked!
King Abdullah: Well, I know that's what we try to tell everyone and we have been so very pleasantly
surprised how well our message has been received.
VP Cheney: Your Highness, I respectfully ask that you consider such a step very carefully. It will not only be the Iranians who would suffer.You see President George comes from Texas and I from a state called Wyoming, that's just south of Canada. We have a lot of friends and supporters in our home states in the oil biz and when all is said and done they are our first allegiance, after all they helped us get where we are. We have a saying back home "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours". -You get it Your Highness, well that's great!- . A lot of our folks would be very upset with us if they learned we were party to anything that brought down the price of oil.
So far they've been really happy.
King Abdullah: Oh, I didn't think of that. Let me reflect on it. Meanwhile what about this I hear of your taking your troops out of Iraq?
VP Cheney:Your Highness, Let me put your mind at rest. We are seriously contemplating a surge.
King Abdullah: "Surge"? What does that mean?
VP Cheney: You know, that's a good question. I'm not sure I really know but when I get back to Washington
I'll fill you in, Your Highness.
King Abdullah: Thank you, Dick.