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Longtime Saudi Oil Minister Ahmed Aki Aki Yamani dies at 90

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Ahmed Aki Aki Yamani, Saudi Arabia’s longtime oil minister who ruled the kingdom through the 1973 oil crisis and nationalized his state-owned energy company, was once held hostage to the assassin Carlos Shaqal. , died Tuesday in London. He was 90 years old.

Saudi state television reported his death without giving a reason. It said he would be buried in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

Known for his Western-style business suits, to put it mildly, in measured shades, Yaman helped Saudi Arabia dominate the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries from the day he was born. The kingdom continues to weigh heavily on the group to this day, with its decisions spreading to the oil industry, influencing barrel to gas station prices.

“For the world oil industry, politicians, high-ranking government officials, journalists, the world in general, Yaman has become the symbol of the new oil age, իր truly a symbol,” wrote author Daniel Yergin in his book The Oil Industry Award. “His portrait, with his big, dull, seemingly blinking brown eyes and a slightly curved Van Dijk beard, made the planet known all over the world.”

Yamani became oil minister in 1962 and headed the ministry until 1986. He played a key role in the emerging OPEC oil cartel as producers around the world began to try to impose prices on world markets that had previously dominated the economic policies of Western countries.

Yamani was the first representative of Saudi Arabia to the OPEC Board of Governors in 1961. He became famous not for the hysteria that accompanied the years of turmoil throughout the Middle East, but for the ever-calm style of negotiations that the Saudi ministers after him were trying to try. to imitate

But this style of the famous oil king will be tested by the honorable “sheikh” according to the times, which included turmoil in the world energy market. This was especially true in the Middle East in 1973, when Egypt, Syria, and its allies launched a surprise offensive against Israel on the day of the Jewish saint Yom Kippur.

When the United States moved to support Israel under President Richard Nixon, OPEC Arab producers agreed to cut their supplies by 5% a month. As Nixon continued to support him, the decision sparked what would become known as the “oil weapon” – a complete embargo on the United States and other countries.

In the US, prices would rise by 40%, which would lead to shortages of gasoline and long queues at the gas station. World oil prices would quadruple, leading to the wealth now seen in the Gulf Arab states.

In 1975, Yama twice appeared in the highlights of history. He was standing just outside the room when King Faisal’s nephew killed the monarch in March.

In December, Yamani was among those taken hostage at OPEC headquarters in Vienna, where an attack killed three people and seized 11 OPEC ministers and dozens more.

Yaman then described Venezuelan Carlos, whose real name is Ilyich Ramirez Sanchez, as “a ruthless terrorist who operates with cold-hearted, surgical precision.” From then on, Yaman traveled around the bodyguards wherever he went.

Anis Nachache, a former pro-Palestinian militant who took part in the 1975 OPEC offensive, died in Syria on Monday at the age of 69 after battling a coronavirus.

Yamani also controlled what would become the full nationalization of the Arab American Oil Company after the 1973 oil crisis. Today it is better known as the Saudi Arabian Oil Company or Aramco, the Kingdom’s largest employer, its main source of income.

In 1986, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia fired Yamani in a scathing statement from the Saudi state news agency. At the time, Yaman was thought to disagree with the king, arguing that OPEC was developing a permanent system of production quotas that would give the kingdom a share of the total. Eventually, Saudi Arabia reached another interim agreement.

Yamani was born in Mecca in 1930 while camels were still roaming the streets of the holy city. His father and grandfather were religious teachers and Islamic lawyers. He eventually attended Harvard University in New York. Married twice, he left many children and grandchildren.

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Follow Gam on Gambrelli on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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