Geopolitical & Conflict Updates
For August 2014, Iraq’s oil export revenues were down to $7.1 billion, from $7.8 billion in July. Exports for August were at 73.6 million barrels, and the selling price for Iraqi crude was at $97.4 per barrel, down from $102.8 per barrel in July. This reflects the cutoff of exports from the oilfields in northern Kirkuk since the beginning of March due to the Islamic State’s (IS) overrunning of the area and attack on a pipeline to Turkey, while production continues unimpeded in Iraq’s major-exporting southern fields.
This is just a sneak preview, though of the geopolitical quagmire in which we’re about to find ourselves buried. The US is bombing the IS ‘Caliph’ with Tomahawks, F-22s and drones bearing Hellfire missiles. They’ve destroyed checkpoints, a mansion in Raqqah that used to be mayor’s home but was turned into an IS headquarters and a handful of checkpoints along the stretch of Iraqi and Syrian territory controlled by IS. What they’re really doing is bombing Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad using Iraq as the justification that they couldn’t swing when we were only talking about Syria. The problem is that the Pentagon doesn’t really have a handle on who they’re bombing. They’re targeting the Khorasan group, for one, which is a special cell within al-Qaeda that includes figures from across the Middle East and into Pakistan (aka Taliban).…