One of the many salutary effects of the fracking boom, besides how cheap it had made oil and natural gas, is how much it has hurt both OPEC and the Russian oligarchs. Most people of a certain age remember how the #Oil And Gas cartel imposed an embargo against the United States and other countries in the wake of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, resulting in gas shortages and long lines at service stations. A second oil shock took place in 1979 in the wake of the Iranian Islamic Revolution.

The Weekly Standard notes that the rise of the United States as an oil and gas exporting country thanks to the fracking boom has caused undeniable headaches for the Saudi kingdom.

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The Kingdom relies on oil money to keep a lot of restive young people who have never held jobs quiet with government handouts. If that money dries up, the grip of the royal family may become unsustainable.

Mind, it is a good thing that the Saudis no longer control the price of oil. In any case, the Middle East has changed since the 1970s. #Saudi Arabia has made a tacit alliance with Israel against its real enemy, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Israel, irony of ironies, is developing its own oil and gas industry thanks to an offshore play in the Mediterranean.

On the other hand, it would be bad news for the West if the Saudis were to outright fall from power, not because they don’t deserve to be chased off their place of power but because of what might follow. Either an Islamist terrorist regime in Riyadh on the model of ISIS or, perhaps worse an Iranian-dominated government would provide endless trouble for the Middle East and the world beyond.

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The Saudis have made the tentative steps of diversifying their economy, even going so far as to go big into renewable energy, the idea being that the Kingdom has as much sun as it does oil. The U.A.E. is even further ahead shifting from an oil economy to a knowledge-based one, investing in #High Tech.

Saudi Arabia could benefit from an economic alliance with Israel, which has started to nurture a kind of Silicon Valley in the Middle East. Israeli expertise and Saudi money could go a long way toward changing the economy as well as the political culture of the Middle East in ways that have hitherto been unimaginable.