I think congress finally passed the energy bill which includes drilling in Alaska(thank GOd!) It also appears that Bush has put in for Nuclear power to get an operating permit at the same time for plant approval. This will kick the no good enviro throw backs in their nuts. No longer will there be any risks associated with building a Nuke plant because the eviro-terrorist can't hold up a plant for licensing which kills an utilities bottom line.(over $2million/day)Nuclear power is the answer, but then agian, America is full of sheep who listen to CNN..Madness
I'm going to hate myself for getting into this argument but I think you're both partially right. A close friend lived in Saudi for 20 years working for the oil companies there and sends me articles and news from the "inside" on a regular basis.
The royal family, which includes about 10,000 princes and their families, is not promoting terrorism directly. Their only concern is staying in power and keeping the oil money flowing. They stay in power by paying protection money to all the mullahs (the Wahabi Sunni's, one of the most radical sects) who agree not to advocate overthrowing the royal family in return for all this money. And that money is then used to promote terrorist causes, which the royal family well knows. But if they stop paying the protection money they will lose their heads (actually, they have ALL got their bags packed and their Swiss bank accounts ready so they can run in case of revolution).
The US realizes this and hates it, but figure it's better than if the mullahs actually RAN the country and controlled the oil supplies directly. So we're constantly pressuring them to control the radicals but if they crack down too hard, they will revolt. The end effect of all this is that you really have to consider Saudi Arabia as a terrorist country because so many terrorists come from there and most of the money comes from there. Iran is small potatoes in comparison.
The Saudi monarchy is cracking down on terrorists as we speak. Read the newspapers over the last few months. Admittedly, they did allow the situation to get out of hand, probably because they are secular rulers and feared the threat of growing Islamic fundamentalism. As long as the terrorists did not attack them, they simply looked the other way. That has changed. IMO.
As far as manipulation is concerned, OPEC's control of the price of oil is not what it used to be. Saudi Arabia's capacity to pump more oil in the short term is non existent. They can no longer flood the market and bring the price down. I think the manipulation is primarily a momentum thing. One would have to analyze the trade in futures contracts to see if there has been a dramatic increase in activity.
By the way, you can call me naive, but stop the "old man" crap. That is juvenile.