A local journalist argued some time after murdering of Jamal Khashoggi something like the following (approximately from the memory, I cannot find the source now):

I do not mind paying more for the oil if Western countries decide to impose sanctions upon Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

This answer provides several reasons that might trigger Western sanctions that are directly related to economical interests:

  • (..) sanctions can be based on moral concerns, without reference to interests.
  • (..) acting in support of morality even when it's not directly beneficial encourages others to do the same
  • (..) there is an argument to be made for having a general policy opposing killing journalists.

However Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest oil producers in the world (3rd place) and I expect that it has a big influence on oil price.

Question: Can Western countries impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia in a similar way to those imposed to Russia?

Economical context (i.e. big oil producer) suggests that such sanctions are very hard to implement, but I am wondering if there is a bigger context.

1 Answer 1


In the broad range of options available as sanctions, a total embargo on Saudi oil would be close to the nuclear option. Sanctions would be more likely to start with:

  • Stopping arms sales
  • Freezing some of the government officials assets abroad (in particular the royal family)
  • Discourage investments in the country

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