One day after President Bush turned up the rhetoric on Saddam Hussein comes an oil shocker from Iraq as the world's 9th biggest oil producer said it would stop oil shipments to the U.S. for 30 days.
The news sent oil prices soaring in world markets and the administration scrambling to access the damage.
"Oil is a commodity and the Iraqis need revenue as well," said National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice. "I think we ought to remind them that they're going to have a hard time eating their oil."
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham noted that "higher gasoline prices are a great concern to this administration because they strain the budgets of America's working families they raise the cost of good and services and they ultimately put a drag on the economy."
The three oil shocks over the last 30 years — 1973, 1979 and 1990 — were each triggered by conflicts in the Middle East followed by painful recessions here at home.
No one is predicting that yet, but oil prices have been on a roll: up 60 percent since hitting a low of $17 a barrel last November.
Experts say Iraq's embargo won't have legs unless Saudi Arabia and Kuwait jump on board and that appears unlikely right now: Saddam seems to be paying the oil card more for defense than offense.
"Saddam Hussein is using this oil card so he doesn't get attacked by George W. Bush," said Phil Flynn of Alaron Trading. "What he is doing right now he is trying to play to the Arab streets… he is trying to protect his own behind."