• 4 hours PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 6 hours Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 8 hours Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 9 hours Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 10 hours Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 11 hours Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 12 hours Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 14 hours New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 15 hours Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 16 hours Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 23 hours Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 1 day British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 1 day Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 1 day Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 1 day Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 1 day OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 2 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 2 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 2 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 2 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 2 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 2 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 3 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 3 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 3 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 3 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 3 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 3 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 3 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 4 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 4 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 4 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 4 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 4 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 4 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 4 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 4 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 5 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 5 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 5 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
Alt Text

Kurdistan Accuses Baghdad Of Planning Oil Field Seizure

Kurdistan authorities have accused the…

Alt Text

Trump Just Made Iran A Wildcard

The impact of Trump’s decision…

Claude Salhani

Claude Salhani

Claude Salhani is the senior editor with Trend News Agency and is a journalist, author and political analyst based in Baku, specializing in the Middle…

More Info

Islamic State Battles Kurds Over Border Town To Maintain Oil Trade

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 via Turkey, as I reported last week.

Proof that this conflict is far from being a religious war, as IS would have the world believe, is the current battle to the finish between the Sunni militant group and the Kurds in Kobani. The Kurds are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, yet IS is going after them with a vengeance. It’s a revealing detail about who’s in power in IS: former members of the regime led by Saddam Hussein, who, it should be recalled, used chemical weapons against the Kurds, gassing entire villages.

Related: How Islamic State Uses Oil To Fund Its Onslaught

Today that battle continues in Kobani. IS has surrounded the Kurds on almost every side with tanks and shelled the city with heavy weapons. Kurdish fighters are resisting as much as they can with the few weapons they have.

In moving the front line to another region entirely, IS has once again shown that it is as agile on the battlefield as it is in its business operations.

The group shifts troops and materiel from one theatre of operations to another, easily adapting to the changing political and economic outlines of the conflict. At the end of the day, their fight is not for control of the mosques, but oil fields.

Why Kobani? Why the Turkish border? Why now? Three reasons.

First: IS has devoted so much energy and fighters to winning control of this otherwise non-descriptive town mostly because of its close proximity to the Turkish border. Much of the IS’s clandestine trade -- selling oil it has illicitly acquired from Syrian and Iraqi oil fields -- transits through Turkey.

Second: It gives IS a chance to further weaken the Kurds. Although they are from the same branch of Islam, IS sees the Kurds as an obstacle on their road to total domination of the caliphate declared by their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Third: Kobani represents an opportunity for IS to expand its influence in the region.    

Turkey -- a regional “superpower” -- is the only country with enough troops and armor and air support to inflict serous damage on IS. Yet the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems extremely reluctant to intervene, despite a government pledge to do whatever it takes to prevent Kobani from falling.

Related: Azerbaijan’s Geopolitical Importance Goes Beyond Oil and Gas

That’s the equivalent of Ankara playing with fire where relations with its own Kurdish population are concerned. Turkish Kurds are furious that Ankara is holding back from intervening in Kobani until the U.S.-led coalition meets certain demands, like establishing a no-fly zone and a buffer zone in northern Syria. Turkey also wants a clearer understanding about how, or whether, Washington is going to help drive Assad from power.

Meanwhile, Kurds have watched helplessly from across the border as the battle rages and Turkish ambulances race to bring the wounded to hospitals near the frontier.

Turkey is playing a dangerous game by using the Kurds as currency in this situation. It should remember that playing with fire so close to oil can be explosive.

By Claude Salhani of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News