President Donald Trump’s authorization for a military strike on Syria Thursday hit not just an air base, but caused a spike in oil prices.
After news of the missile attack spread, oil prices climbed from $1 per barrel to $52.70, according to a GasBuddy press release. Friday morning, prices sat around $50.
“Geopolitical tensions have surged tonight between some of the world’s largest oil producers, and the market, with concern abounding, will likely send oil prices higher,” GasBuddy Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan said in the release. “It is too early to know how severe or how long the impact to oil prices may be,”
DeHaan later stated that although there is not yet a major impact to gas prices in North America, they are monitoring it since it is possible to change rapidly.
President Trump acted in response to the chemical weapon attack carried out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier in the week. The targeted airfield was the launch site of Tuesday’s planes carrying the illegal weapons that led to over 80 civilian deaths.
“It is in this national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” Trump said at a press briefing the night of the strike.
The Pentagon announced Al Shayrat airfield in Homs province as the target for 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles launched to destroy Syrian fighter jets, radar, fuel pumps and operational aircraft equipment. The strike was meant to “deter the regime from using chemical weapons again.”
“There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council,” Trump said. “Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically.”
Syrian government called the attack an “aggression” that led to six deaths, as reported by the Syrian Army.
Assad released a statement Friday calling the strike the result of “a false propaganda campaign.” He went on to say the attack showed Trump’s “shortsightedness and political and military blindness to reality.”
“Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types,” Trump said.
President Trump did not mention additional strikes, but further action will likely require the consent of Congress.
The strikes represent the first direct military action the US has made under the leadership of Assad. Earlier airstrikes on Syria, carried out by former President Obama, were targeted against ISIS, not Assad’s forces.
In an off-camera briefing Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson blamed Russia, an ally of Assad, for not preventing Syria’s use of chemical weapons calling the country “complicit” or “incompetent.”
After a chemical strike carried out by Assad in 2013 killed over 1,400 people, Russia and the U.S. developed an agreement that Syria would allow international inspectors to destroy all of its chemical weapons by 2014. After this week’s strike, it became apparent the agreement was not held up.
Tillerson is set to visit Moscow next week where it is expected he will insist on further surveillance of Assad.
Russian government was not notified prior to the strike, but American military contacted Russian forces at the site to minimize risk of Russian casualties.
Spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin Dmitry S. Peskov said Friday that the strikes resemble a “significant blow” to the country’s already corroded ties with America. The Kremlin also asked for the United Nations Security Council to convene for an emergency meeting calling Trump’s attack “an aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law.”
Dmitry said the strikes were ordered in a “far-fetched pretext.” Russia has yet to hold Assad’s forces as responsible for Tuesday’s chemical weapon attack.
Photo by Emma Horath – Vidette Senior Photographer