It has survived for 54 years, but do tensions within the ranks of OPEC over a decision that’s led to a tailspin global oil prices threaten to split up one of the most famous – and despised — cartels in history?

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has flexed its economic muscle for decades. Its notorious oil embargo in the 1970s caused long lines for gasoline and contributed to the “stagflation” that plagued the American economy throughout the decade.

Made up of 12 nations, eight located in the Middle East, its members have become rich and powerful, but now there are signs that all is not well in OPEC Land.

Founded in 1960, OPEC has always experienced strains among its petro-states, but a decision on Nov. 27 not to cut back on oil production has left member countries in dire economic straits angry at the organization’s undisputed leader, Saudi Arabia.

“I’ve always called OPEC ‘Saudi Arabia and the 11 Dwarfs,’ ” energy journalist and author Robert Bryce told Watchdog.org. “The Saudis have always run the show.”

Click for more from Watchdog.org