Date with history: How the oil crisis changed the world

After Opec cut oil production on October 17, 1973, millions were displaced from Afghanistan and Syria, transforming global politics, argues Randall Hansen.

The World Today
3 minute READ

Randall Hansen

Canada Research Chair in Global Migration, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Fifty years ago, the biggest oil producers in the Middle East asserted their power with a momentous embargo. The ensuing oil crisis had many consequences, one of which was ultimately to displace  tens of millions of people in the region, changing geopolitics up to this day.

In October 1973, Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), led by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, announced an embargo on oil sales to America, Britain, Canada, Japan and the Netherlands in retaliation for their support of Israel in the Yom Kippur war that was briefly fought that month.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.