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Global Energy Advisory 19th February 2016

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

As the Syrian conflict rolls in earnest up to the Turkish border, and Turkey pledges to take on the Syrian Kurds who are fighting the Islamic State (ISIS), the oil industry is looking only for that silver war-time lining that could be the only thing to push oil prices up. They may get what they want. A major bomb attack earlier this week in the Turkish capital is being taken as a call to war, and the Turks are blaming Syrian Kurds (YPD) for the attack, which killed 28 people and wounded 45 others at last count. The Syrian Kurds had moved in to fill a vacuum left by retreating Syrian rebels in a northern town in the Aleppo province. The rebels were retreating in the face of Russian air strikes and a push by Syrian regime forces. The Syrian Kurds took the chance here to take over territory in their retreat—but also to keep ISIS from moving in. It’s a messy conflict at best in terms of alliances, with Russian and Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias helping the Syrian regime to defeat rebels on one hand and ISIS on t
he other; the U.S. hoping to hold back both the regime and ISIS, and supporting the Syrian Kurds in that process (but not, ahem, those Syrian Kurds who have taken territory near the Turkish border, apparently); and Turkey threatening all-out war against the Syrian Kurds and the PKK, straining already abysmal relations with Russia and increasingly Iran, as well as quietly hoping that the Islamic State is…

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