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Geopolitics / Middle East

  • Islamic State To Target Saudi Arabia Next

    The meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has since styled itself the Islamic State in an affirmation of its broader aspirations of dominion over a self-declared caliphate beyond the territories where it exercises control, has aggravated the Middle East’s already treacherous geopolitical landscape. Having emerged out of conflict and instability in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has arguably matched or otherwise exceeded the capabilities of fellow extremist groups such as al-Qaeda, its regional affiliates and other violent Islamist organizations. Despite its recent setbacks—notably in Syria’s Kurdish-majority town of Kobane (a.k.a. Ayn al-Arab), located in…

  • ISIS Burn Iraqi Oil Fields To Hold Off Iraqi Offensive

    Thick black smoke billowing from oil wells northeast of the city of Tikrit is obstructing Shi'ite militiamen and Iraqi soldiers attempts to drive ISIS from the Sunni Muslim city after militants set them on fire. Reuters reports a witness and a military source said Islamic State fighters ignited the fire at the Ajil oil field to shield themselves from attack by Iraqi military helicopters. As we noted previously, the battle for Tikrit is key as it will determine whether and how fast the Iraqi forces can advance further north and attempt to win back Mosul, the biggest city under Islamic…

  • Jordanian King Warns Of Impending World War III

    When OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, imposed an oil embargo on the West for its support of Israel in the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the French came out with a series of public service announcements on how to save oil. The 30-second ads gave consumers advice on various ways to economize gas and oil consumption. And the announcements would end with a voice saying: “In France we don’t have oil, but we have ideas.” Today, much the same can be said about Jordan. The country is the only one in the region not producing oil. Its neighbors –…

  • Report Finds Gulf States Unstable Despite Resource Wealth

    Sectarian and ethnic tension, religious violence, and terrorism threats appear to be rising trends in the Gulf region according to a new study on the state of security in the Gulf by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The 200-plus page report released last week was prepared by veteran analyst Anthony H. Cordesman from CSIS, a highly respected Washington, DC, think tank. The report notes the alarming rise of politicized Islam in the Arab world. Even in Saudi Arabia, the so-called Islamic State has found many followers in spite of the fact that the self-proclaimed caliphate does not recognize…

  • Islamic State Looks To Mediterranean To Continue Oil Operations

    There is serious concern that the battle for control of Syria by the group calling itself the Islamic State may soon shift from the mountainous region where the fight for the border town of Kobani continues, as fresh troops from Iraqi Kurdistan known as Peshmergas, arrived via Turkey to assist their fellow Kurds in what is turning out to be one of the most vital battles of this war. The battle of Kobani, while still unresolved, has nevertheless had a desired effect of sorts: to keep units of the IS tied down in a battle of attrition. Which is perhaps…

  • How Safe Are Turkey’s Oil And Gas Pipelines?

    Bashar Assad is a man of his word. In 2011, when the civil war began in Syria, President Assad delivered a promise to the international community and a threat to his neighbors: the violence will spread.Today, Iraq is partially occupied by the Islamic State -- which can trace its beginning to the chaos of war-torn Syria -- Lebanon has been repeatedly hit by Syria-related violence, and border towns and villages along the Turkish-Syrian border have come under attack from various forces fighting in the country. Even Jordan is suffering under the weight of more than a million Syrian refugees who…

  • Kurds Are The Last Line Of Defense For The West In Kobani

    While still a predominant factor in the war being waged by the Islamic State, oil is taking a back seat as the full brunt of Middle East-style politics is unleashed on and around the small Syrian border town of Kobani. The oil extracted from this region in a large part helps the Sunni terror group finance its war. The battle for control of Kobani has indeed seen some of the heaviest fighting to date as fighters loyal to the Islamic State, or IS, have launched renewed attacks on Kurdish Peshmerga defenders, hitting them with mortars and car bombs, according to wire…

  • Kurds Are “Fighting For America” Against Islamic State

    The group known as the Islamic State, also often called by its former name, ISIS, (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), has established itself as the world’s largest, most ruthless and most successful terrorist organization. To achieve its goal, it has incorporated two of the Arab world’s most potent weapons: religion and oil.And both Islam and oil are proving to be powerful weapons, even when confronted by the best technology in weaponry that money can buy. Religion is buying them recruits, and oil is buying weapons and providing the funds needed to maintain their war effort.The group’s  construed form of…

  • Islamic State Battles Kurds Over Border Town To Maintain Oil Trade

    Islamic State militants have been fighting for the past week for control of a key town straddling the Syrian-Turkish border. A victory by IS in Kobani, better known in the Arab world as Ain al Arab, would be a setback for the U.S.-Saudi-led alliance fighting the world’s most dangerous and most powerful terrorist organization.More importantly, a victory for IS would give the group prestige among the dozens of groups lined up in the fight against Syrian President Bashar Assad. It would also secure the terror organization’s flow of oil to a lucrative market – its link to the outside world…

  • ‘Moderate Iran’ Still Only After One Thing

    Iranian Oil, Gas and International SanctionsThe Iranian petroleum industry was a very effective organization before the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) operated efficiently in all sectors of the industry, from upstream exploration to production, petrochemicals, and natural gas to downstream refining and domestic marketing. Further, before 1979, the NIOC was a very highly respected oil company with a well-functioning management in international sectors. In the early 1970s, the NIOC expanded impressively, investing heavily in refinery constructions in India, South Korea, South Africa, and Senegal under agreements to provide crude oil to these refineries.…