Why the Left is Saudi Arabia’s greatest ally

Saudi Arabia has an atrocious human rights record, in practically every respect. But the Saudis and Western Left-liberals have an issue in common that make these two groups unlikely allies -- both despise energy independence

Oppresion: women in Saudi Arabia
Aisha Vance
On 15 March 2015 19:33

Leftist environmental groups in the US and Canada have confirmed what was long suspected by admitting that the Saudi’s were their ally in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline.

Given UK environmental groups' erroneous arguments against hydraulic fracturing, could the same coalition exist here?

Saudi Arabia has an atrocious human rights record. Women and minorities have few rights and public capital punishment occurs frequently, one might assume this would make Leftist groups and the Saudis automatic enemies. But the Saudis and Western liberals have an issue in common that make these two groups unlikely allies -- both despise energy independence.

Environmentalists want to see us move to green energy and OPEC countries would welcome this because it means shutting off domestic taps.When "sustainable energy" inevitably fails to meet demand, we will have to rely on OPEC.

Green groups are winning the fight with scaremongering rhetoric and by frightening local communities with misinformation. Gas companies are not even able to explore for the possibility of shale without being slammed. Green groups are often able to stop exploration by taking advantage of red tape and halting progression through weeks or even months of demonstrations carried out by professional protestors.

It’s the same story across Europe. Germany, once touted as the “flagship for green energy”, was one of the first European countries to ban fracking and embrace wind and solar, but not without major cost to their economy.

Whether Green groups realize it or not, they are helping the Saudis re-gain their oil and gas monopoly. The European shift from shale, nuclear and coal-powered energy to renewables has now made Germany reliant on over 45 percent of their energy from OPEC and Russia. That's the net result of their Green Revolution.

The campaign against fracking has impacted on public opinion, and The Environmental Audit Committee has called for a moratorium. Their report said that extracting shale gas was incompatible with UK carbon targets and could pose environmental health risks.

Labour MP and committee chair, Joan Walley said, “fracking cannot be compatible with long-term commitments to cut climate change emissions.” In fact, the opposite is true: fracking has been credited with reducing American carbon emissions.

Environmental groups and politicians are all ignoring the US as an example of how to reduce carbon, without harming the economy. Unfortunately, they would rather see the UK take up Germany’s failed energy policy (higher energy prices; the import of more foreign oil and gas), making the Britain a perfect strategic ally for Saudi Arabia.

To make matters worse, Labour forced Shadow Ministers to agree 12 new restrictions on shale drilling, which will stifle an industry already heavily regulated from pushing forward.

The fact is that without a sound domestic energy supply, Europe will continue relying on Saudi Arabia and other unplatable regimes for oil and gas. While the Right pushes for energy-smart policy decisions to re-balance the relationship, the Left is ensuring these regimes retain their strong political influence over Europe. 

As fracking is set to be banned in over 40 percent of England’s shale gas reserves, it’s clear to see why the goals of the Left are also in the interests of the House of Saud. 

Aisha Vance is director of energy and security at the Parliament Street think tank @aisha_vance

blog comments powered by Disqus