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Regional Turmoil and Realignment: Middle East Conflicts and the New Geopolitics of Oil

UCD-ITS-RP-15-32

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Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)

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Suggested Citation:
Jaffe, Amy Myers and Jareer Elass (2015) Regional Turmoil and Realignment: Middle East Conflicts and the New Geopolitics of Oil. 2015 Global Energy Forum, 40 - 71

Th is paper examines how regional confl icts in the Middle East, including the Syrian civil war and the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), are shifting the geopolitics of oil and raising serious new risks that regional oil facilities will be considered both strategic assets and spoils of war not only in the greater battle for Syria and Iraq and the struggle against ISIS but also potentially in the wider superpower “Cold War” context. Current diplomacy to resolve the confl ict in Syria faces serious challenges but is increasingly imperative not only on humanitarian grounds but also as a key to preventing a continued destruction of major regional oil and gas infrastructure that could represent a major challenge to global energy security in the three to fi ve year time frame. Energy dimensions must be considered carefully to ensure Russia does not gain increased leverage over the energy supplies of the industrialized West.