Iraqi President Saddam Hussein announced Monday that he is suspending oil exports for one month in response to the Israeli occupation in the West Bank. However, Hussein’s action is nothing more than a symbolic gesture of defiance. He has not succeeded in crippling the world’s oil supply, nor has he persuaded other nations to join his protest.
With Israel increasing its attacks and becoming more aggressive, Hussein charged that the country and its biggest ally – the United States – need to be punished. In Reuters, Hussein is quoted as saying, “The decision is basically taken against the Zionist entity and the American aggressive policy and not against anyone else.”
The United States has been increasing pressure on Iraq and threatening military action to oust Hussein since Sept. 11 as a plan to eliminate what President George W. Bush calls the axis of evil.
Hussein thinks his protest will harm the United States, but thus far no other nation in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has agreed to an embargo, though some nations are considering it. Furthermore, the embargo only halts about four percent of the world’s oil supply, which, relatively speaking, is nothing. If other members of OPEC do agree to the embargo, then the United States might truly begin to suffer. However, the overall situation is ridiculous because Israel is not bowing to pressures by any nation, including those of its biggest ally, the United States.
The embargo and the situation in the Middle East are more complicated than demanding Israel make a unilateral pullout from the Palestinian towns recently recaptured. Much needs to be done before the situation in the Middle East settles, but juvenile protests such as Hussein’s will only service to add to the growing tensions in the region, as well as the rest of the world, which may increasingly divide concerning the issue of what is fair in Israel.