US assassination of Qassem Soleimani adds considerable uncertainty to an already unstable region, says GlobalData

Following the news (3 January 2020) that a US drone strike on Baghdad airport had killed General Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force;

Richard Thompson, Editorial Director at GlobalData, offers his view on the implications of this escalating conflict:

2017 04 20 114457"Suleimani’s killing increases fears of war in the region and of major disruption to regional oil supplies through military or cyber-attacks against oil facilities.

"Unlike the short-term spike in oil prices that we saw after the attacks against Saudi oil facilities in 2019, this is likely to add a security-risk premium to oil prices for the foreseeable future.”    

“Fears that Iranian reprisals will further destabilise the region and disrupt Middle East oil supplies saw oil prices jump about 4% following the news of Suleimani’s assassination. 

“The assassination of Qassem Suleimani by the US is a major escalation in the conflict between the US and Iran in the Gulf and it adds considerable new uncertainty to an already unstable region.

“It is certain that Iran will strike back against US interests in the region and those of its allies. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has described the killing as a criminal act and has promised retaliation. The question now is what will that retaliation look like and what will be the further consequences of that.

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