For two weeks, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad have been battling for control of the Shaar gas field, one of Syria’s largest, near the landmark city of Palmyra. On July 19, it was reported that the Sunni militant group had killed 270 regime fighters, taking control of the field in what was reportedly one of the conflict’s deadliest 48-hour periods to date.
As ISIS steams further into Syria, analysts say a significant portion of its financial resources come from the crude oil it sells on the black market; accordingly, oil fields have become prime targets in the fight. So do gas fields like Shaar, where disruption of lines lead to electricity shortages and power cuts in regime-controlled areas as far as Damascus. Continue reading
Analysts and diplomats assert that the Saudi royal family has been
frustrated by the U.S. hesitation to stop Iran. They cited the refusal by
the administration of President Barack Obama to sign tough sanctions
legislation that targeted Iran’s energy sector.
“The Gulf states are definitely taking a stronger stance against Iran
and are using their considerable influence to try to convince others of
their Iranian fears,” Theodore Karasik, an analyst at the Institute for Near
East and Gulf Military Analysis in the United Arab Emirates, said.
Currently, the GCC, led by the Saudis, were engaged in a massive
military buildup. Riyad has ordered about $30 billion worth of fighter-jets
and munitions from the United States while the UAE was expected to purchase
another $20 billion from Washington.
Continue reading article: Saudis seek new security allies, sign nuclear agreement with China (World Tribune)