OPEC Expert Cites Oil as Cause of Crisis

While acknowledging that several historical factors shaped the current crisis in the Middle East, a visiting scholar and OPEC expert yesterday cited the region's longstanding oil rivalry as a primary cause of today's tensions.

Abbas Alnawrawi, a professor of economics at the University of Vermont, said at a forum sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies that Iraq's August 2 invasion of Kuwait resulted largely from OPEC's failure to compel member nations to adhere to its oil production quotas.

"OPEC lacked the power to enforce its decisions, so countries were free to produce as much as they wished," Alnawrawi said.

He said the cartel's recent failure to control Kuwait's oil production led to lower oil prices and reduced the profits reaped by Iraq and other nations which followed OPEC guidelines.


"From the Iraqi point of view, the overproduction of Kuwait was part of a larger plot to undermine Iraq's economy," Alnawrawi said.

In addition, two major developments of the 1970s--the 1973 OPEC embargo and the 1978 Camp David accord--paved the way for the recent crisis by shifting the bulk of power in the region away from Egypt to less developed states in the Persian Gulf region, Alnawrawi said.

"The removal of Egypt as the leading economic, political, and cultural power in the Arab world as a result of the Camp David accord created a political vacuum which allowed Saddam Hussein to come to power," Alnawrawi said.

Harvard Students Gain Free MFA Admission

No longer will Harvard students have to race to the Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday mornings to dodge the admission fee.

Harvard has enrolled in the MFA's University Membership Program, which provides free museum admission to full-time students with valid identification.

"We were concerned that our students have the same access to the MFA that other colleges and universities in the area have," said Deanna Dalrymple, the administrator of the Fine Arts Department.

Harvard joins MIT, Boston University, Tufts, Brandeis and other area schools by buying student membership through this 15-year-old program.

"There is no real significance that we got it now," said Robert A. Rotner, the administrative dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "One professor in the Fine Arts Department pointed out that Harvard is not a member and it would be nice for students if the university were."

The new affiliation not only entitles undergraduate and graduate students to enter free, but also to a 10 percent discount on films, lectures, classes, concerts and purchases at the museum store.