Ahmed Zaki Yamani was born on the 30th of June 1930, and he studied law at Cairo University, then went to the most prestigious universities in the world, where he obtained a graduate degree in law from New York University, and then he studied law at Harvard University.
Yamani began his career as a legal advisor to the Saudi cabinet, and in 1960 he became a minister of state and a member of the cabinet, until he obtained the position of Minister of Petroleum between 1962 and 1986, to be the second oil minister in the country.
Yamani was known for his Western dress and calm tone, and he left his mark in history thanks to many unprecedented achievements, most notably that he was the first Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and founder and president of the Center for Global Energy Studies.
The man played a decisive role in the “OPEC” organization, as producers around the world began to try to dictate prices on the world market, which was previously dominated by the economic policies of Western countries.
Yamani led the 1973 oil embargo, which caused a major crisis for the West, and was a symbol of the rise of Arab oil power.
Author Daniel Yergin wrote in his influential book on the oil industry “The Prize”: “For the global oil industry, politicians, senior employees, journalists and the world at large, Yamani became a representative of the new oil era, but a symbol of it … and his face, with his big, gentle brown eyes, and the trimmed and curved Van Dyck beard … Little, familiar to planet Earth. “
Kidnapping by “fox”
During an OPEC meeting in Vienna in 1975, Yamani and 10 other oil ministers were kidnapped by Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as “Carlos the Fox”, who was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The kidnapping lasted for about 46 hours, and the ministers and the kidnappers were transferred to Algeria, where all the hostages were released, including the Algerian oil minister, but he refused to allow the release of the ministers of states and their representatives.
Then it headed to Libya, where the Libyan Oil Minister was released, and from there to Tunisia, where the officials refused to land the plane, only to return to land in Algeria.
There, they negotiated with the kidnappers and persuaded them to release all the hostages, in exchange for conditional aid.
Yamani went through a busy process for 24 years, during which he managed the oil affairs of the largest crude producer in the world, and because of that, he turned into a figure of international fame, until it ended with a sudden dismissal in 1986.
On Tuesday, the Saudi newspaper “Okaz” said that Yamani died in London at the age of 91, indicating that he would be buried in the city of Mecca.