Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Zeinab Abul-Magd

Committee Member(s)

Renee Christine Roman, Chair


Oil Embargo, 1973, United States, Saudi Arabia, Oil, Arms, Petrodollars, Cold War, Imperialism


This thesis examines the impact of the 1973 oil embargo on US-Saudi relations. It asks how and why the US and Saudi Arabia remained long-term allies after a five-month period of economic warfare. Most prior research focuses on the factors that influenced the embargo's implementation, failing to fully explain its resolution. This thesis explores the latter issue by appealing to US government memos, OAPEC meeting transcripts, and US-Saudi telegrams. It argues that, after five months of rhetorical and material distance, the US and KSA realigned over symbiotic trade dynamics-- “arms for oil"--and mutual opposition to communism. This subject remains important today insofar as it contextualizes an ongoing relationship with one of the United States’ most important allies in the Middle East, the region's largest oil exporter and arms importer.

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