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Global Energy Advisory November 18, 2016

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

• The U.S. seems to be close to exhausting its options in Syria and Iraq. While the battle for Mosul, IS’ stronghold in Iraq, goes on with Iraqi troops on the group and U.S. remote support, Washington is planning to take on Raqqa, the HQ of the terrorist group in Syria. The problem is that as the so-called moderate opposition forces in the war-torn country are showing themselves to be not all that moderate, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces seem to be the only option to lead the attack on the ground. It’s fairly certain the U.S. won’t send in its own troops to liberate Raqqa from IS and besides the Kurdish forces, its allies in Syria have been revealed as uncomfortably radical. The problem with the SDF is geopolitical: the Kurds have been treated as a pain in the neck by Turkey for decades because of their push for independence. Allying with them more closely won’t do any favors for Turkish-U.S. relations. On the other hand, with what seems like a complete transformation of U.S. politics in the making after the November 8 elections, nothing can be taken for granted or certain.

• Meanwhile, the battle for Mosul continues, with the prospects of an Iraqi success in driving IS out growing. However, according to observers, this will not result in peace returning to Iraq. Quite the contrary: the geopolitical divides in the country and the power play in the Middle East will only become…

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