MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti) – Crude prices rose Friday on the Asian market after US President Barack Obama gave the green light for airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) insurgents in war-torn Iraq, a Lebanese news agency Naharnet reported.
“US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery rose 71 cents to $98.05, while Brent for September gained 96 cents to $106.40 in afternoon trade,” the news agency reported.
Obama’s announcement alarmed oil dealers in the region who were bracing for potential disruptions in crude deliveries from the oil-rich nation. Iraq is the second-largest oil producer in the OPEC cartel and holds some 11 percent of its oil reserves.
Sunni IS fighters are now in control of large swaths of land in western and northern Iraq. In the north, they are encroaching on the territories belonging to the Yazidi, a Kurdish ethnic and religious minority in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.
The US president said late Thursday the US offensive would seek to lift the IS siege of the Kurdish capital Arbil to prevent the “genocide” of the Yazidi population.
Over the weekend, the city of Zumar in north Iraq and its nearby oil field and refinery came under attack by insurgents.
The capture of oil fields will provide Islamist militants with additional funding as they seek to control Muslim-inhabited regions around the world to establish a caliphate.