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Hagel: The Easiest Man To Throw Overboard

November 25, 2014 Barack Obama faces a knot of simultaneous foreign-policy crises on a scale rarely confronted by recent presidents—a Middle East riven by civil war, nuclear ambition, and general upheaval; Russia at war with a neighbor and challenging the post-World War II institutional architecture; a confident China pushing against the US Navy. ...

What Iran Loses From the Failed Nuclear Talks

November 24, 2014 For Iran, the failure to reach a nuclear agreement in Vienna today has a dollar figure—about $1.6 billion a month in potential lost oil income. Each day, Iran will lose $56 million, according to its own figures. Last summer, Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Irancould boost its oil ...

This Is the Roadmap for Closing a Nuclear Deal With Iran

October 24, 2014 Hopeful officials in the Obama administration are circulating (paywall) a description of a potential nuclear deal with Iran, suggesting a chance of success after 11 years of talks in one form or another. To follow what happens next, it’s necessary to understand one basic fact—the calendar favors the Western side, ...

Where ISIS Is Taking a Big Hit

October 15, 2014 Among the petro-actors hurting right now is the Islamic State. As prices take another tumble today—oil hit new lows last seen in October 2010—ISIL is suffering not just lower income, but lost production. According to the International Energy Agency, US-led bombing runs have taken out most of the militant group’s ...

The 'It's About Oil' Theory in Iraq Is Still Inaccurate

August 11, 2014 Whenever the US takes military action in the Middle East, oil surfaces as the supposed primary rationale. So it is with president Barack Obama’s air war against ISIL, the Islamic militants who threaten Irbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. In the New Yorker, Steve Coll writes that the strikes are “effectively ...

Inside the U.S. Push to Keep Kurdish Oil Under Baghdad's Watch

July 24, 2014 The United Leadership, a tanker containing about one million barrels of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan, has been stuck at sea for two months. The ship has been mostly anchored off the Moroccan coast, the victim of legal threats against potential buyers. It is mired in a battle between Kurdistan, intent ...

Here’s How the U.S. Could Maximize Its Sanctions on Russia

July 23, 2014 Western officials hoping to alter the behavior of Russian president Vladimir Putin are examining a lot of targets for sanctions, but analysts say one entity seems to be off the table for now—Gazprom. The natural gas behemoth spearheads Moscow’s economic and foreign policy abroad, but Europe is so reliant on ...

When Pro-Russian 'Rebels' Become 'Terrorists'

July 18, 2014 This story has been updated with US intelligence report that a surface-to-air missile was fired at the airliner. The crash of a Malaysian Airlines jet over Ukraine—possibly shot down by a missile—threatens Russia at a time it is already tottering economically and diplomatically. At this stage, conclusions as to the ...

ISIL Is Taking Iraq's Black Gold to the Black Market

July 10, 2014 ISIL, the business-minded Islamic army threatening Baghdad, has established a new flow of revenue since seizing a large swath of Iraq—an estimated $1 million-a-day oil smuggling business. According to an investigation by Iraq Oil Report (paywall), ISIL rapidly captured one and possibly two oilfields south of Kirkuk soon after storming ...

Libya Is Working With Rebels to Protect Tripoli's Oil

July 7, 2014 Oil prices declined again today as Libya said it is poised to resume crude exports after a deal struck last week between a local rebels and Tripoli. The country has millions of barrels cooped up in storage awaiting shipment, but to prevent a freefall of prices, Libya will only let ...