Washington keeps the Middle East in suspense.
Oil in global markets almost returned to price levels before the attack on the Saudi refineries, in which the Americans hastened to blame Iran. A new price leap may occur amid yet another aggravation of US-Iranian relations.
Twitter and CNN are World Politics Tools.
Last week, oil prices jumped by almost 20% (at some point, almost to $ 72 per barrel) after the news that the attack on two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia deprived the world economy of almost 5% of global oil production. Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy, said the country would fully restore its previous level of production by the end of September.
At the same time, even after the adjustment, prices fixed at around $ 65 per barrel (this is about 8% more expensive than it was before the tragic events in Saudi Arabia). It is clear that high prices will continue to maintain tension in the Middle East.
Immediately after the attack on the Arab oil refineries, for which the Americans hastened to blame Iran, Donald Trump said that he intends to send an additional contingent of US troops to Saudi Arabia. Trump also tweeted that he ordered the US Treasury to “substantially increase” economic sanctions against Iran. This time, the Iranian Central Bank and the National Wealth Fund fell under restrictions.
In turn, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, speaking on CNN, resolutely rejected the possibility of negotiations with the United States until Washington relaxed anti-Iranian sanctions. And Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has unequivocally stated that if sanctions against the Iranian oil industry are not lifted, Tehran will stop international transport through the Strait of Hormuz in ways that are available to him. It is not surprising that a series of attacks on oil tankers following the Persian Gulf under foreign flags was connected precisely with Iran.
Americans specifically heat markets.
– Mikhail Yuryevich, do you think that not only the geopolitical, but also the economic interests of the regional powers, who want to boost oil prices, are behind the recent events in the Middle East?
- Of course, the conflict between the two major regional powers – Saudi Arabia and Iran – is by no means an ideological but also an economic one, – says Mikhail Roshchin, senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
– Control over waterways of oil delivery is extremely important for all oil-producing countries of the region, and in the Persian Gulf, Iran is the most militarily strong country, and in this regard, using the real presence factor, it is quite effective against the Americans, which has recently proved.
The current American administration with its bellicose statements also deliberately warms up the markets. Do not forget that it is headed by a businessman with great experience.
– If the oil markets react so sharply to the promises of war, then what will happen if it really starts?
– We have already discussed that the anti-Iranian coalition began to cobble together even before the attack on the Saudi refineries. However, in the context of the beginning of a new presidential campaign in the United States, it is unprofitable for Donald Trump to start any military operations against Iran, including even delivering targeted airstrikes.
EU countries prepare to accept new wave of refugees.
– And, nevertheless, it decides to send an additional contingent of American troops to the Middle East … Although, until recently, it was repeating about the complete withdrawal of troops.
– I think there are several different things. In the Persian Gulf, Trump is trying to help his main ally in the region – Saudi Arabia, and therefore announced the sending of additional forces to the Arabian Peninsula.
But in Syria, the American group is not growing, yet is not decreasing. The fact is that Trump and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan are in no way able to find a compromise on the Kurds, namely the “Kurdish map” remains the last serious argument of the United States on its participation in the post-war settlement in Syria.
– The Syrian Kurds, supported by the Americans, also control large oil fields, including Rmelan. What, in your opinion, are the prospects for Syrian Kurdistan?
- The Kurds hope to get autonomous status in post-war Syria. Militarily, today they are counting on the help of the Americans. They continue to negotiate with Damascus, do not refuse to mediate in this matter with Russia – the only country capable of softening the position of Turkey regarding the Kurds.
– By the way, about Turkey. Just as Trump is blackmailing Iran, Erdogan is now crushing the European Union: they say, Turkey will open the borders for Syrian refugees if the Europeans do not give Ankara money.
- I agree that the offensive of the Syrian army in the province of Idlib could lead to an increase in the number of refugees in Turkey and, possibly, in Europe. But it’s also clear that this will be the last wave! Today, the remains of a radical Syrian opposition have accumulated in Idlib, including not only militants, but also civilians, and without opening this “abscess” there will be no stable peace in Syria.