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Syria

Australia and Canada join US-led military action against ISIS

Australia and Canada are the latest additions to the countries providing military support to the American led war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Australia has deployed its warplanes for air strikes in Iraq and will also send its special forces operatives on the ground. The Australian called the efforts ‘an essentially humanitarian mission’. Australia has been providing material to the effort even before it committed to military assistance.

Canada also announced the dispatch of its warplanes for conducting air strikes and surveillance missions in the region. It already has 26 troops in Iraq serving in a non-combative capacity

Participation of other countries

The US, France and UK have already been carrying out air strikes and other military operations in the Iraq-Syria region. Germany has sent arms and paratroopers to reinforce the fighters in the Kurdish region of Iraq. The Netherlands has sent its F-16 airplanes to supplement the other planes engaged in air strikes. Other European countries like Denmark, Czech Republic, Belgium etc are shipping arms and equipment to the region.

The countries which have promised to provide support or are expected to assist in the near future are Spain, Italy and New Zealand.

Bashar al-Assad sworn-in as Syria President for third term

After a being declared winner in the recently held and much criticized presidential polls, Bashar al-Assad has been sworn in for a third 7-year term as president of Syria.

Mr Assad pledged to fight “terrorism” until security was reinstated to all over the country, but also vowed to offer “national reconciliation” to opponents.

He has refused the demands of resignation since an uprising began in March 2011. The conflict that flared up after the authorities launched a brutal suppression on protests has left at least 170,000 people dead and displaced more than nine million others.

Iraq crisis could impact oil prices in India

OilIndian government is keeping a close watch on the ongoing crisis in Iraq where terrorist groups led by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) are attacking and capturing regions in the country. Though the crisis hasn’t yet caused any disruption in the country’s crude oil supplies to India, it has the potential to push up global crude prices. In FY14, India imported around 13% of its crude oil from Iraq, the most after Saudi Arabia, which provided for about 20% of the country’s oil imports of 190 million tonnes in the year. India’s dependence on Iraq crude oil surged since FY12 after US sanctions on Iran.

The average price of Indian crude oil basket that was at $106.94/ barrel during April-May has now increased to $110.31/barrel. The surge in the price has been witnessed since the intensification of fighting between militants belonging to the Sunni minority and Iraq security forces.

As per experts, the oil prices may soar if militants — now fighting Iraq’s security forces mostly in northern regions — advance into southern Iraq, which accounts for around three-quarters of the country’s crude production.

Normally, Indian refiners have stock of crude oil ranging from 15 days to nearly a month. Any deficiency in supplies from Iraq could be replenished from other suppliers such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, but if disturbances prolong, it could impact Indian refiners.

Escalation of the price of crude oil directly impacts India’s fuel subsidy and could hurt government finances. Due to gradual price increase by the government the losses on diesel have now reduced to Rs 1.62 per litre and the government aims to make the fuel’s price fully market-determined. For instance, if there is an increase in international crude oil price by a dollar, price of diesel in India could rise by roughly 40 paise/ litre.

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